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By Dee Gaubert, No Worries Consulting

Choosing a wedding venue is likely the most important part of the wedding planning process, involving so many variables. If you and your partner are looking for an inclusive experience – where food, beverage, and other elements are included with venue rental – country clubs offer turnkey services just like hotels. Which one is for you?

A Country Club Wedding Venue May Feel More Personalized and Unique

While all country clubs are generally run by a corporate entity, they are frequently built to complement their surroundings. For example, a country club near the beach in California may have Spanish tile roofing reminiscent of coastal historic mission buildings. Or, a club in the plains of the Midwest may have a more clean-lined, flat-roofed architecture. Hotels sometimes have this feel, too, but many are built to suit a large amount of hotel rooms, not offer a unique aesthetic experience.

Bride and Groom in front of Rustic Chuppah at Bel Air Bay Club
The Bel Air Bay Club, pictured here, offers an upscale Country Club like setting, and actually houses a few overnight rooms, too. Photo by Courtney Lindberg Photography.

Food Quality May be More Consistent at Hotels

While hotels might have less variation to their buildings and decor, for the same reason, their food may be more consistent. Hotel chains often have a playbook of sorts to follow to keep the food production streamlined, and also live and die by guest reviews, so there is a high focus on food quality. Before choosing any venue, be sure to have a tasting to verify if the cuisine is to your liking.

Hotels Offer Convenience of Room Blocks – but Country Clubs Partner with Nearby Hotels, Too

Staying in the very same place as your wedding and guests is so easy, minimizing guest transportation and parking costs. That said, many country clubs partner with nearby hotels for simplifying guest lodging and shuttling back and forth. This greatly reduces the inconvenience of having guests stay apart from the wedding venue.

Members May Have Priority Over Certain Spaces at Country Clubs

Country Clubs primarily serve their members. We’ve had situations where members had access to a space where bridal party were waiting to walk down or setting up their cocktail hour. Still, we couldn’t get them to move because as part of their membership they were due access to that area till a certain time. Sounds weird, but when you think about it, they pay good money for this access. Once, a bride kindly asked a couple gentlemen to move and of course they couldn’t say no to her! So this isn’t a huge obstacle, but remember you are sharing space with members – versus a hotel, where guests and clients (like you) are the primary customers.

Cost of a Country Club Wedding Venue May be the Same as the Cost of a Hotel Wedding Venue – Depending on a Few Variables

I’ve found the costs of country clubs compared to hotels are very similar – all other things being equal, like location and size. For example, a hotel and country club both near the beach are going to be pricier than venues inland. Make sure to set proposals side by side to look for any variances and find out why there may be any major differences in cost with spaces similar in location and size.