Post # 1
I wrote a while ago how our venue increased their prices by 500% and how happy I was that we had our prices locked in. Well, long story short, we planned for 250 guests, but we’re ending up with well under 200. Our contract is for up to 250 guests at a certain price. Lower number of people = lower site fee. Our final payment is due soon so I contacted our venue’s owner (it’s their personal property) to let her know that we were expected less than 200 and to change our fee as well as the rentals.
She wrote back and said “The reason we have the contract is so we know how much to charge you and what we’ve all agreed upon. Later if anyone wants to add on items, such as lodging I will add on what is stated in the contract, $1,000 per night for the main house, etc… and if it’s an extra chair, etc. it will go at the rate we agreed upon – what is listed, or if nothing is listed then the current rate applies. Now at the time of your contract the rate of up to 250 was $5,000. Since you are still up to 250 with no additional fee I think we should keep it at that. I now have increased our rates due to many factors, (one alone is how much more it costs to clean-up ahead and after and have these large parties- it costs more for everything!!!!…) so for 200 it’s now $20,000. I think we better just keep it the way it is! then if anyone over the 200 mark come you won’t have to worry…”
Well, Thanks for saving me $15000! NOT. i’m not happy, i’m actually fuming. I took some time to read over our contract and while there is nothing explicitly saying that we can change to a lesser fee, i have a few emails from her asking about changing the numbers around closer to the date and her replying that it wasn’t a problem.
I left her a message because I wanted to get this figured out ASAP and I know it’s easier to say no over email than over the phone. Any advice for when she calls back? My stomach is churning just thinking about it. I get too emotional, so I’m trying to stay calm, but some more help is much appreciated!
Post # 3
I think thats a hard point though but since it doesn’t state the the price will decrease if the numbers get smaller. I think from the sounds of it that you just have the option to have a lesser amount of guests. Sorry that may not be what you wanted to hear, but from a business perspective, I am not sure if you have a lot of ground.
Post # 4
WOW that’s a CRAZY increase of pricing!! I’m not sure legally what you can do. Since the contract is worderd you can go UP TO 250, you might be stuck. Maybe you can invite a few more people you didn’t think you’d be able to invite before??
Post # 5
the thing is, each 50 person increment is an additional (or less) $100. when we signed the contract, we picked the 250 option because we invited close to 300! i was being honest where as now it seems like if we had more than 200, she would have easily changed it to 250 without blinking an eye.
i know i might have to suck it up, but i need to give it one last go beforehand.
Post # 6
EEEk It’s a good idea to talk it over the phone, you’re right! I would bring up the exact times that she said that the numbers could be adjusted and if the contract states no minimum then I think you have a convincing argument! Good luck! Sorry I couldn’t be more help!
Post # 7
if you need help reading the contract i’d be happy to assist
i’m not a lawyer (i’m an accountant) but i read legal documents all the time and combat the IRS, so i have pretty good/basic knowledge of legal related arguements since i work with lawyers all the time.
Post # 8
You might be SOL but in her email, it is odd that she writes, “I think we should…” versus… “the contract states” or “the rules are…”, you know? Her own verbage makes it sound flexible. In my own experiences with being fuming and trying to get an issue resolved in my favor, the nicer and calmer you are, the better.
Post # 9
I know of some venues that charge a larger amount if you don’t meet a minimum requirement – this doesn’t sound like the case because as you mentioned it’s a private property so it’s not an all inclusive type package where food and liquor are included. I think it’s worth nicely asking what your options are, but I would plan on having to pay the $5000. The other problem you don’t want to run into is the additional fees at the increased price because at least with the way you have it currently you are covered for the maximum amount of people you will have. If for some reason you’ve underestimated and will have to add on, at 5 times the original cost you might end up racking up a bigger bill than the $5000.
And remember – you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar 😉
Post # 10
It sounded like this lady was being friendly and helpful in her response actually. Even if your contract states that you can lower your number of guests later, it could be that your total charge will get recalculated based on the rates at the time you do the recalculating, if that makes sense.
Make sure to me calm and professional over the phone. She’ll be more willing to work with you then.
Post # 11
I think you can’t really expect the site fee to be lowered at this point- but any fees for rentals that you aren’t using (like if it’s $5 per chair or something) you should only pay for the number you actually need rather than the full 250. Maybe you could put it to her that way? I mean, a room is a room, so I can understand saying to costs the same no matter how many people are in it. But I don’t see why they should charge you for 250 of some item if you only receive 200.
Post # 12
thanks for all the helpful hints. there was expectation of dialing in the final numbers later, so that’s why i was so frustrated with her response. there was no mention in the contract of prices being changed to the current rate, that was just her email.
but your advice helped me stay calm and collected. i spoke clearly and aired my frustrations. it’s a family-run place and that’s a huge reason we booked it! we both heard each other out and in the end, she made the exception for me. i think because i went in NOT expecting the change and rather using the conversation as a time to just be honest with her and hear her as well, she was really receptive to us.
i am so happy it ended this way, not only for the money, but because i really fell in love with the couple that owns the place as well and i’m glad that she cared to hear me out too.
Thanks for the help bees!
Post # 13
This is kind of a bummer, but my venue is the exact same way. We are priced out for 80, but I will only have really around 60 guests but I still have to pay for minimums as though there were 80.
Post # 14
oh, my wedding is also 2 1/2 weeks away, so there is definitely no danger of having more people! i wanted to dial in the final amount because we owe the balance this week. i’m more afraid we’re going to pay for food for guests that don’t show because our venue is at least an hour drive for all of our guests, some up to 3 hours drive, as well as the true Out of Town guests from out of state.
Post # 15
I’m actually with Jenbrandner on this one. Your price is based on the figures you gave them for last year. I would think that unless there is a contracted “per person” rate locked in from last year, then you will either have to pay the contracted total price from last year’s locked in rates or change to the current rate.
Companies change and grow, and pricing changes from year to year. Especially smaller companies that are just starting out, they have to change their prices based on what their overhead actually is.
It’s not unusual for a venue to have a head count minimum. My venue is 175. So even if we invite 200, if less than 175 show, we still have to pay for those empty seats.
I think that it already sounds like you got a pretty good deal on the venue if you got it for $5,000 and they are now charging $20,000 for the same thing. I know it stinks that you might not be able to save some money because you have less guests now, but that money has already been budgeted for.
It never hurts to ask though. And I second the honey over vinegar note, too. You have to think like your venue though too. It sounds like maybe more than one party before you got a little out of hand and now she’s learned she has to account for that and charge accordingly.
[edit = Totally typing this while you were responding. Glad to hear it sounds like things are on the up and up!]
Post # 16
I’m so happy things worked out! I was really afraid that you’d have to pay for it all. Three cheers!!!