- 3 years ago
- Wedding: July 2014
We were thisclose to signing a contract with a venue. The place was great: outdoor ceremony area, optional chapel available for rainouts, a beautiful porch to eat on, and a large indoor space for dancing or eating if it rained. It stretched our budget, but we figured it was probably worth it. The event time was only 5 hours, but you can purchase extra hours.
The company had never given us a line item invoice, so I finally asked for one right before we signed. Big surprise: it came back with a 20% service fee on the venue, which is pretty surprising, since 1) the catering company doesn’t own the venue and 2) I have received a number of other invoices from similar companies in my area, and this had never happened before.
Unfortunately, this changes our situation quite a bit. We were thinking that the venue would be $3500 for 5 hours, plus $500 for an extra hour, plus $600 in case of rain-out. $4000 no rain, $4600 rain. Pricey, but we love the place. Now we’re looking at $4800 no rain, $5520 rain, PLUS tax on top of that, which is just kind of obscene. I also really don’t appreciate the way that this fee was not disclosed to us until the last minute. The company we’re working with is large and well-established, not a mom and pop organization. I can’t help but feel like they hadn’t presented us with an invoice until now for the sole purpose of hiding this fee. I’m sure they have the same billing software as everyone else.
On one hand, I don’t want to start over at square one over $920. On the other hand, I just don’t feel like I’m getting a good value at this point. In the process of looking at how they do their billing, I also realized that they are charging service on labor and equipment, which is also not done by the other companies. Basically, their fee structure is set up to give them an extra $920 from the venue, plus 20% on $4000 worth of labor and equipment, so we’d be paying $1720 more than if they were set up in the way that other companies are. I can’t help but feel like I’m being bent over a barrel.
Ugh. I don’t want to back out (and I’ve told people we have a date and showed them the location), but this was already our priciest choice. I can’t help but think I could take the $4000 difference between this venue and my next favorite and make it really count somewhere else in the wedding.