So… you fell in love with a Venue… As you are probably coming to learn, the cost for a wedding can be extraordinary! One of the first steps in planning is selecting a venue and caterer. This is usually when couples get sticker shock at how expensive the day can be. Well, don’t panic yet! There are ways to cut venue and catering costs!
Advice from a Former Catering Sales Manager
- If your wedding date is flexible, venues tend to offer discounted booking rate or a lowered minimum expenditure for off season months such as Jan-Mar, July & August, and late November. You could also think about a Friday or Sunday wedding! (Friday can be a fun choice, because you get the whole weekend to spend with family and friends! To really get the full effect, you could throw a small party the next day, plan some fun activities for your guests and plan a departure brunch!)
- Ask about discounted rates if you are military or police! Some venues offer approximately 10% off the package prices.
- If alcohol is included in the per person price, you can ask to remove this and select a cash bar (usually little or no cost to you) OR opt for a “Host Tab / Consumption Tab”. This basically means that you can select a dollar amount that you will cover and once that amount is reached either the bar closes completely or switches to a cash bar, your choice!
- Typically about two-three displayed hors d’oeuvres and one-three passed hors d’oeuvres are included. If you REALLY want to cut costs, then you could ask to remove some of these cocktail hour appetizers.
- The lower the guest count, the less expensive the ENTIRE wedding will be. The more guests, the more food/alcohol/tables=linen & centerpieces/invitations you will need to order. A smaller, more intimate wedding could mean that you can really treat your guests to a great experience by being able to afford higher end linens and invitations, upgraded menu selections and florals.
Ways to Cut Venue and Catering Costs – Minimum Expenditures
Obviously a venue has to stay in business, so no matter how much they love you, there are only so many discounts they can offer. Venues typically require a minimum expenditure that you much hit based on your contracted approximate guest count. For one venue I used to work at, that dollar amount was $12K for a Saturday wedding. (Each package included food and alcohol, linens, china/glassware, set up and breakdown, full staff, venue planning and coordination.)
If, a month prior to the wedding date, the guest count was lower than expected, we would allow couples to upgrade their package in order to reach that required dollar amount. Keep this in mind closer to your big day! Your venue may be happy to offer the same to you!
I hope some of these tips were helpful and you are now able to afford the wedding venue of your dreams! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help planning your day!
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Ways to Cut Venue and Catering Costs