Post # 1
So FH and I are in the process of finding a venue for our wedding (yay!). Whilst we have a fairly decent budget for our area we really do not want to overspend on this. Did you manage to negotiate on price with your venue? How? Is it even worth it? Please tell me your experiences!
Post # 2
newgreenbee : our venue didn’t have much wiggle room (they actually ended up jacking the price way up the year after our wedding since they were barely charging enough to cover their operating costs), but I negotiated like crazy with the catering company that handled all the food, booze, rentals, and flowers. My venue allowed BYOB so I was able to get the caterer to beat the wholesaler price which saved a lot of money on liquor. From their perspective they were losing the profit either way, but since they were also day-of-coordinators it was easier for them to not have to deal with another vendor.
Post # 3
I did. I told them I loved their venue and it was my top choice, but the price was higher than my other options by quite a bit. I asked if there was anything they could do to help me out. They thought about it and came back and offered 4% off the original ask along with tossing in a couple of freebies… like the use of their margarita machine that normally costs 50 dollars and a few other things that didn’t cost them anything to offer but saved me money.
What helped me to succeed: it was an all inclusive venue. The more the cost of a venue is driven by in-house services that they’ve already paid for, the more profit margins they should have to dip into to offer you a reduction. It was also privately owned by a family, so they had control over pricing and there was no corporate entity to answer to. I was polite and expressed my sincere love of their property. I also had done my research… I knew what comparable venues cost and I had price compared. I knew in my head what number I wanted to see before I accepted it if I would walk if I didn’t get it.
Do your research… know if their pricing is bloated, how often they are booked up or if they frequently have openings, know what the comps look like, and think creatively. If they can’t reduce pricing, can they give you extra hours for free? Etc. Then just ask nicely but confidently. Can’t hurt as long as you aren’t mean.
Post # 4
They decided to discount when they wanted. They didn’t do us favours, just made out like they did.
Example: I didn’t want pea lights / fairy lights as I loath them (I used to work in events so they annoy me as they’re a pain in the ass to put up). The venue charged £300 to use them but it became clear very quickly that they were up permanently and would charge if they could get away with it and “throw them in” if people couldn’t afford them. I think I was the first person to actually hate them. The manager got really uncomfortable at the idea of taking them down and did everything he could to persuade me. It was Darling Husband in the end that made me decide it wasn’t a hill worth dying on and he liked them and didn’t understand my loathing. Anyway… wedding coordinator made this big song and dance about how they were doing this HUGE favour for us. When actually we all knew that I was the one doing them the favour. Eye roll.
FWIW I still hate them and all the photos of our first dance look less than ideal as a result. All I can see is ugly lights. Shit happens.
Post # 5
The only negotiation we were successful with for our venue was getting them to match options we received from a comparable venue.
We were deciding between two hotels. The first hotel offered the largest suite beginning at 8am for the girls to get ready in and for the couple to stay in that night for free. It also included two free “parent” rooms the night of the wedding, and another suite for the guys to get ready in from 8am to 5pm. The second hotel did not include parent rooms, so asked for those to be thrown in.
We were also able to customize the proposal which brought the price down very minimally. We decided to have two late night snacks instead of the offered four, under the idea that after heavy passed apps and a three course meal, two snacks would be enough.
Our venue had already booked the other 3 saturdays for our month and we were booking 20 months in advance. They knew they could find another couple to take the slot we had reserved, so we were happy with the concessions we received.
Post # 6
It’s a question of supply and demand, I think. If this is an in-demand site with limited availability and you’re making a Saturday booking they’re not going to be very interested in bargaining. If you’re marrying off-season or on another day of the week, or if they have quite a lot of availability in their calendar and have trouble filling it, they’re more likely to negotiate.
Post # 7
To be quite honest, our venue was a PITA and we were not able to negotiate or even get timely or accurate service/billing throughout the process. Our wedding was fabulous, we ended up hiring outside planners who helped make sure our day went smoothly, if left to the venue it would have been a nightmare. In the end, due to how extensive the errors that we were able to provide we negotiated 8k off of our final payment. That was a win in my book!
Post # 8
We negotiated a bit on the bar because we are inviting SO MANY PEOPLE. I think the venue will be making money anyway becuse of the amount of people we are inviting, and they agreed that the size of the party was too big to let go. They gave us $100 off the bar total price, which was nice 🙂
I think they partly did it because we are a military couple as well, and they did say they are more lenient for military couples. But it was still nice to have a successful negotiation.
Post # 9
We did, kinda. We are getting married in late March, but convinced them to give us winter/off season pricing on the room rental. They also added in all of the 2019 ammenities (table cloths, napkins, etc) into our 2018 contract with 2018 pricing, so that worked out!
We also negotiated with our caterer. Since we will be providing our own plates, we got them to take some of the cost out of the quote and since they didn’t have much else to cater in that time, they came down $1-$2pp on the food (for 300 people, that adds up!)
Everyone else we pretty much paid asking price, but had some things thrown in. Our photographer will upgrade our album from an 8×8 to a 12×12 for free, our band is learning an extra song for free and playing an extra hour for a very reduced price.
Post # 10
No. Would not have been possible. It was a highly sought after venue for a fall wedding on a Saturday. My minimum spend on food and drinks before taxes and gratuitywas $25,000.
Post # 11
Thank you all so much for your advice and experiences. I’m definitely not somebody who is used to haggling for sure. We sre somewhat limited as the venues we are looking at are ‘all inclusive’ ie in house catering so if we can negotiate anything it will make a big difference!
Post # 13
newgreenbee : I negotiate contracts for a living so it’s normal for me, but that doesn’t mean it feels comfortable to ask for things for something personal like a wedding. It will always feel awkward! But, you will never have more bargaining power than you do before you book with them. So ask nicely for what you want, get it documented in writing if they give you concessions. But mostly remember they aren’t doing you a favor. You are hiring them for a service. They can only charge what people are willing to pay. They will be profiting off of you so they should want you satisfied and giving positive reviews.
I also looked at it like a litmus test. If the venue was polite and willing to work with me before they have my business, then it’s a good indication of the future relationship.
Post # 14
You can absolutely negotiate, you just normally have to give up something in order to get a discount.
Stations instead of passed appetizers for cocktail hour
Reduce bar options, or don’t serve top shelf liquor
Serve chicken instead of steak
Close the bar during dinner
I could go on but you get the point.
Post # 15
I was able to negotiate a 3% discount by paying by cash instead of credit…but that’s very typical in most cases as it will save them the money.