While your wedding day is indeed a joyous occasion that you’re surely looking forward to, paying for your wedding is no fun at all. The average couple pays over $30,000 for their wedding, nearly half of which goes into the venue and catering. Naturally you may be wondering if venue prices are a fixed expense or one that can be adjusted? I spent some time researching to find out all that is involved here.
So, can you negotiate your wedding venue prices? It is normally possible to negotiate the price you pay for your wedding venue; either on price or what comes included. While you may not feel comfortable haggling, it’s actually advised to at least question your wedding venue price to ensure you are getting the best deal they can provide.
When booking the venue, paying a negotiated rate, offers you a great opportunity to save on your wedding.
You’re going to need it!
The cost of a wedding is surely worrying; it also takes great planning skills to stay within your budget without sacrificing all those things you want to make it a truly memorable day.
Your wedding venue, for instance, will eat up a huge portion of your budget. So any saving you make will not be insignificant. Besides, its important to get the best deal for your money.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of booking a wedding venue, and how much you should pay to make the most of your special day.
Can You Negotiate With Your Wedding Venue?
Most wedding venues will be open to negotiation, whether this be the total price you pay or what is included in that price.
Although it must be said that some venues will be more open and willing than others.
Besides, some venues may not need your business – being so popular and in demand that negotiating doesn’t make much sense to them.
Ultimately; there is no harm in trying.
You’ll likely be surprised at how understanding venues can be on this.
Weddings are expensive and venues are fully aware of this.
Nevertheless, while they will try and accommodate your needs, they are a business whom have to cover their own expenses and overheads.
When looking at venues, it is advised to look over their set prices, as well as any discounted offers they have available. Typically these are available for off-peak days, during quieter seasons, or just as a general promotional period.
While negotiating may not come naturally to you, consider that any saving can be invested into other areas of your wedding.
Also, consider that your venue will likely expect this conversation; so do not worry and stress about it too much.
Depending on your budget, location, and additional services, you will usually be able to reduce the price of your wedding venue.
Especially if you go into the conversation with a few simple negotiation tactics.
This best selling book from Amazon for example, really helped me throughout this process.
How Much Should You Spend On A Wedding Venue?
How much you should spend on a wedding venue depends on your preferences and what you can realistically afford. There is no specific price for everyone on what they are willing and able to pay.
That being said, there is a rang of prices you will be expected to pay. These vary depending on the type of venue, catering, timing, fees charged, as well as how many guests you are inviting.
The average price range is anywhere between $30 to $500 per guest.
We’ll walk you through some elements that can affect how much your wedding venue will cost.
Type of Venue
Many couples choose to get married at banquet halls, hotels, event centers, country clubs, historic buildings, farms, or gardens.
Couples often choose wedding venues based on their interests, history, as well as how big their party is.
Depending on how big and fancy the wedding venue is, they can charge you up to $6,000 in venue fees, parking, and additional reception services alone.
Most banquet halls, hotels, or resorts have all-inclusive wedding packages that you can consider, whereas if you choose a farm or historic building, you will need to arrange a lot of the services yourself (or through a planner), which will cost you more than just the venue booking.
Some venues will require you to use their catering service, which will also affect the total cost.
Catering services in most hotels and resorts are often quite expensive.
Other smaller venues do not have kitchens or catering capacities, so you will need to hire your own caterer, and you have the option to pick a less expensive caterer if you wish.
When you compare the pros and cons of different venues, you should take these factors into account to get the final cost for each wedding venue.
Date, Time And Season
If you want to save on your wedding venue, you may also want to consider getting married during an off-peak day or season.
If the wedding venue is unlikely to book any other celebration during that time, they will more likely to give you a discount.
Getting married during hotter or colder months, or choosing a Thursday instead of a Saturday, will usually save you up to 60% of the cost compared to booking a venue during the peak season.
Additional Venue Fees
The wedding venue fee, which includes the venue’s insurance, security, parking, and administrative costs, can also be significant.
Venues like hotels and resorts won’t charge you an additional venue fee, but instead, divide this expense evenly across other items on the bill and will require you to pay for catering.
On the other hand, other venues like farms or botanic gardens may charge you a venue fee, which will cover the overhead costs as well as tables, chairs, and linens.
However, you’ll be able to save money on catering since you will most likely be able to hire your own caterer.
While the first option may seem more attractive, you should take a look at how much the total cost is for each venue, including the total cost of hiring the venue, catering, and additional fees.
Before visiting different venues and considering the costs, you should have a discussion with your fiance and discuss your budget.
Having a realistic budget that takes into consideration your financial status and other commitments will allow you to make a wise decision for your wedding venue.
Because this is a huge financial decision, likely the biggest check that you’ll sign as you plan your wedding, you should make sure that both of you are on the same page about the maximum amount that you can afford to spend and the quality of service that you’ll gain from that amount of money.
Having this understanding will allow you to go into the negotiation with more leverage, and you’ll know what to ask for when it’s time to negotiate on the price.
How Much Is Too Much For A Wedding Venue?
If you’re spending more than 50% of your budget on the wedding venue, you are likely spending too much.
This is because there are other costs you need to consider, and you do not want too much of your budget to be taken up in the venue expense alone.
Otherwise, it will likely mean that you will have to cut back or compromise on other must-haves at your wedding, like decorations, flowers, or a wedding DJ.
Of course, it does depend on your preferences, but around 50% expenditure on the venue is a good general rule to follow.
Its important to make sure that you’ll be happy with everything and how it all comes together on your wedding day.
The average couple spends about 40-50% of their wedding budget on the wedding venue, which translates to about $12,000 to $15,000. This number includes the venue cost, venue fee, catering, as well as any overhead.
In addition, most venues will also charge you up to 30% in service fees and taxes, so don’t forget to budget for this additional amount when you work on your budget.
Tips For Negotiating Wedding Venue Prices
There are many ways that you can negotiate wedding venue prices, but it can be a bit awkward to ask for a discount upfront.
Negotiating on a price or anything money-related is also considered taboo, so it’s no wonder that many couples feel ashamed when approaching this task.
If you don’t know how to negotiate the price for your dream wedding venue, here are a few simple tips.
Research Other Venues
When you have a wedding venue in mind, you should also take a look at all of the wedding venues that have the same offers or are in the same area.
Finding out what they offer and how much they charge will arm you with useful information to negotiate, especially if these prices are lower than what your chosen venue is offering.
This step will also make it seem that you have other options, so the wedding venue will need to negotiate to make their offer a bit more competitive.
Off-Peak Day Or Season
You’ll also have an advantage if you pick an off-peak day or season. As mentioned previously, getting married on a weekday or during a hotter or colder month will be much cheaper, since the venue will be more willing to negotiate because they are unlikely to have any other customers.
Know What’s Included
If you’ve received a quotation from your venue, make sure to ask for an itemized list of what’s included, as well as an extra fee and hidden cost that you will need to pay, including the aforementioned service fee and taxes.
It’s important that you understand what you are paying for, as well as account for other costs so that you can budget properly, as well as compare the price with other venues.
Oftentimes, adding taxes and fees will significantly increase the cost of your venue, so this step is super important so that you’re not surprised by any added fees after signing the contract.
As with any negotiations, you will need to go back and forth a few times before reaching a number that both you and the venue can agree on.
Don’t be discouraged if your first offer is turned down, but instead, ask if they can come back with a more reasonable price that fits within your budget.
You can start by asking for a 20 percent discount, and negotiate from there.
The wedding venue likely won’t accept this offer, but it is a decent starting point to help you negotiate for a better price, instead of paying for the asking price.
However, some wedding venues are very strict about giving discounts and are not willing to negotiate on the total price.
This is when the itemized list comes in handy.
You can go through the list and consider any services that you won’t need. Perhaps finding a less expensive caterer can help you reduce the total amount you are paying the venue.
Alternatively, if you can afford the total asking price, you can ask if the venue can give you free upgrades.
Most venues are happy to provide you with a couple of bottles of champagne or decorations, which will help you cut costs on other items on your wedding to-do list.
Venues that are stricter with discounts will prefer this option.
Explore Other Options
If you have tried all of these tactics without succeeding, don’t be afraid to walk away and start a new search for the perfect wedding venue.
Many wedding venues don’t want to compromise on the quality of their service, and you definitely don’t want to hold your wedding somewhere that cannot give you the excellent service that you and your guests deserve.
There are always other options available on the market if you are willing to look, and you shouldn’t let one venue undermine your search.
Booking a wedding venue is a big financial decision, and the service will need to be excellent to create your dream wedding.
So, unless you and the venue are both happy with the terms of your negotiation, you should continue looking until your dream wedding is achievable within your budget.
Like any negotiation; there is certainly give and take.
While it may not be natural for everyone, it is something to certainly consider. Especially if you have factors in your favor; such as it being a quiet time of year, knowing the venue has availability etc.
While you may not be able to negotiate much on your dream venue, you may equally be surprised on what they can offer. Sometimes, it gives you new ideas altogether.
Remember, nothing ventured nothing gained.
Read my other wedding venue guides:
- What To Wear To A Wedding Venue Tour [The Right Outfit Is..]
- How Long Do Wedding Venue Tours Take [And What to Expect]
- How Far In Advance To Book Wedding Venue [What To Consider]
- Who Decorates The Wedding Venue? [And Provides The Decor?]
- How Much To Tip Wedding Venue Coordinator [The Expectation]
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!