Post # 1
We’re having our ceremony and receiption in the same place, and we loved it when we visited, quickly knew it was for us, etc.
However, when we finally got the contract it was a price two and a half times what we thought it was going to be. Not included in the initial fee is a fee for cleaning, for two staff members, a bodyguard, an extra deposit in case things go wrong (and we have to get event liability insurance), a separate price for a rehearsal (and we have to be out of there by 5:30) — all of these things we’re somewhat okay with. However, they’re also making us pay for two extra hours of the space for the caterer to come in and set up, the caterer is from a very short list of people they allow, AND the caterer themselves upfront say it’s 15% more to cater at this venue which I assume is a kickback to the venue. Is this standard behavior?
Post # 3
Not sure but I feel for you I would have liked all that disclosed beforehand!
Post # 4
Yeah, I’m not sure what to do.
I’m going to see if I can negotiate around some part of it, but end of the day we probably won’t switch venues. It’s just frustrating.
Post # 5
I didn’t have a list of extra fees like the ones you are mentioning – but my wedding was at an outdoor location and the venue didn’t shut down to other paying guests while we were there. I wasn’t even required to obtain wedding insurance though, so my list of “added fees” might be shorter than those a lot of other brides saw from their venues.
If you aren’t willing to change venues, then you have fewer options and less negotiation power; but if this is the place you want to get married – well, it’s where you want to get married…. It’s disheartening that a venue would misrepresent the overall costs of a wedding on their property.
If you haven’t yet, it might be a good idea to get a quote from a similar venue or two (similar services provided, same area, same type of venue – i.e. both hotels, both country clubs, both outdoor gardens, both historical buildings, restaurants or museums…) and compare those quotes. You don’t even have to love the other venue, but having at least one other quote to compare should help you see if the one you want to go with is really padding their fees. THAT information should help you in your negotiation.
If the venue you like is the only one that charges for access for the rehearsal or vendor set up you can negotiate based on their competitors not having a separate cost for those things. (But if the venue could be using the space to make money if you weren’t there, then you might be met with resistance.)
The caterer may charge the extra fee to work at this venue because they are “out of the way” or just a tad difficult to work at (or with). The mark up might really be covering their costs. Asking the caterer what the additional fee covers might open up room for negotiation on that front.
Post # 6
I’d take a hike, personally.
But I’m one of those independent folks who isn’t really even willing to consider a place that restricts you to their caterer. You’re going to get a LOT more bang for your buck if you go somewhere that allows you to bring in your own caterer and alcohol. Is it really so beautiful/convenient/etc that you couldn’t find someplace more reasonable to deal with? Did you already sign?
Post # 7
@EffieTrinket: See, I thought I was one of those people too. But the place was so great, and the price (seemed) so great, that I thought it was worth it to put up with the catering nonsense. Now I’m not so sure. But we haven’t signed yet.
Post # 8
I have NEVER heard of a venue chargin THAT many extra fees. Were they all listed on the orig. contract/ quote?
If not, I’d definately be very upset…..
Any venue I looked at (personally) disclosed ALL additional charges that would be incurred upon our initial consultation.
Post # 9
I wouldn’t book them. Our venue listed all of the fees up front and there was nothing extra once we signed. I appreciated that.
I don’t like being taken advantage of and that sounds like what they’re doing. Did you ask at the initial meeting what the price quote included?
If you really love it I would negotiate with them about the extra fees and see if they can lump it into one extra price that you can negotiate down. Make it clear that you’re ready to walk if they don’t work with you and that you didn’t appreciate them not disclosing the extra fees up front.
I was able to get the catering tax knocked off our bill just because I asked.
Post # 10
The venues I looked at all charged for those things as well. The only difference is that some of these costs were rolled into the rental fee. If the price you thought you would get seemed like a really good deal, this is probably why. Most venues will tell you that the time you pay for starts when the caterer gets there and ends when clean-up is finished, they make you hire security if there’s drinking (usually 2 guards, from what I’ve seen), they make you pay a security deposit, etc… The only thing that seems crappy and undue is the 15% upcharge for the caterer.
Post # 11
@Neetch: this sucks. i wouldn’t sign yet, i’d look around some more and get more quotes. this place isn’t so perfect if it’s 2.5x out of your budget.
pp have made some good points.
when we were looking, i did my due diligence. i asked them so many questions about hidden fees, staffing, rentals, etc, etc, etc. i had a thorough spreadsheet and everything. i was very pleased in the end. we ended up booking at a country club that was very nice and they didn’t have extraordinary fees attached to everything. i kept confirming the prices because they were very good and included so much. we figured that the club membership fees kept them financially healthy and weddings and other functions were just a bonus to them. they weren’t even so concerned about deposits and i had to request the final bill after the wedding.