Let me start off by saying I love this idea. I think getting married in a non-traditional venue such as an estate is ideal…it’s like you have a super rich Uncle that has an amazing house and he’s like, “Come! Get married here! It would be my pleasure!” Except, in this situation that imaginary Uncle is super cheap and is making you pay for it. But whatever. The bottom line is: renting an estate is expensive, but it’s not crazy out of reach if you have a $30k budget or more.
I stumbled across the website Estate Weddings and Events the other week in my search for unique venues across the U.S. I think their website does a great job of giving you the information you need…it’s easy to navigate, shows great images, and gives you a lot of stats. You can browse by location, event type, capacity, and price. And on a side note, they were extremely responsive when I dealt with them. A big plus.
I’ve never had an event at one of their estates, but I do think there’s a need for a service like this. When I was scouting venues in Miami for my wedding, I had to go through a caterer to find available spaces. This is way more convenient, and it gives you a choice when it comes to selecting vendors.
The company lists available estates throughout the country, and prices vary. The houses are individually-owned, and are put through a pre-qualifying process before they are listed. You can opt for a full-service package which includes catering, or you can bring in your own caterer for a $1,000 fee. On average, it looks like 50 guests with the outside caterer fee will run you around $3,500 for the site rental only. For 100 guests you’re looking at around $6,000, and it goes all the way up to $10,000 and more depending on the estate. Events are given a 5-hour time limit, with time for vendors to start coming in as early as that morning to set up. You also have to pay a $500 cleanup fee. Some locations allow for overnight accommodations. One estate with 6 bedrooms was listed at $700/night total.
Below is one of the estates I received information on, which gives you a good range of how much a smaller one would cost:
The Emma Estate
Location: Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego
Size: Up to 300 seated, 400 cocktail-style
Standard Rental Fee (includes $1,000 outside caterer fee):
- Up to 50 guests -$3,500
- 51-100 guests- $5,000
- 101-150 guests- $6,500
- 151+ guests- $8,000
Average Price : $24,000
(price includes tax and service charges. Does not include additional decor)
How it breaks down:
Site Rental: $4,000 ($1,000 was deducted from the standard fee for using their caterer)
- 100 person guest list
- Access to estate from 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Event service from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.. Events must end at 10 p.m. due to noise ordinances.
- Seated dinner (3 tray passed hors d’oeuvres, choice of one salad and 2 entree selections)
- Equipment rentals (Chiavari chairs, linens, 5 cocktail tables, china, dance flor, round or banquet tables, 2 display tables, water and champagne stemware)
- Top shelf bar for 5 hours
- Service Fee @ 20%
- Sales Tax @ 7.75%
- Cleaning fee: $500
- Valet: $900
- Day of coordination: $500
For this particular estate, there are three bathrooms, so you don’t have to worry about lines being too long. For a guest count over 150, they will supply additional “luxury” bathrooms, which I’m only assuming are gold-plated Port-O-Potties? I can dare to dream!