Advice | How Hidden Wedding Venue Fees Affect Your Budget

Most brides inquire with a wedding venue & request pricing.  Many forget that there are often hidden wedding venue fees and these can be costly if you don’t allot for them in your budgeting.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Aside from the more obvious- taxes and up to 20% gratuity tacked on, here are 10 fees that savvy brides know to inquire about before they sign a contract.

hidden venue fees

1)      Alcohol / Bar:  Do you have to buy alcohol from the venue?  If so, you could be paying heavy mark-ups.  If you can bring in your own alcohol, you’ll be able to determine your own budget.  Some venues have minimums that must be met (like wineries or hotels), corking fees or security officer requirements if alcohol is served.

 

2)      Vendor Requirements:  Are outside vendors welcomed or is there a list that you are required to choose from to provide services?  Often, a list or in-house service leaves you little room for negotiation or opportunity to shop for the best pricing.  Even worse, there are often kick-backs or referral fees from the list of vendors paid back to the venue, which may or may not be disclosed to you.

 

3)      Furniture:  Are chairs and tables included?  Rentals can be expensive ($2-5 per chair and $10-15 per table).  And, you’ll need two sets of chairs if ceremony and reception are in the same location.

 

4)      Ceremony:  Is the ceremony included?  Often, there’s a separate fee for hosting a ceremony.

 

5)      Length of Venue Rental:  Do you have full use of the venue all day?  It’s not uncommon for venues to offer 4 or 6-hour rentals and each additional hour is at a premium.  Your vendors will also need to charge additional labor in order to set up and breakdown in a timely manner if there’s a time restriction.  Sometimes, the dressing suites are only offered for a limited time, meaning you’ll need a plan B for storing your personal affects.

 

6)      Pricing Variation:  Is your rental based on guest count?  Anyone who’s organized a large event will tell you that the guest count will change along the planning journey.  Are there seasonal rates?  Choosing a certain time of year might cost you more in the long run.  Holiday rates?  Hosting a wedding on a long weekend might be more than you thought with the mark up.

 

7)      Payment Plans:  Are there fees associated with paying by credit card?  It’s not uncommon for venues to tack on 3-5% of your total cost for paying with credit.  Make sure you look closely at the bottom line if you plan to earn those credit card points.

 

8)      Paperwork:  Do you have to submit permits or insurance?  Some venues require alcohol permits for the bar, health permits for a caterer / bakery to provide food, or special event general liability insurance and permits.  Often, venues ask the client to provide insurance coverage for the bar, or in the case of cancellation, event insurance.

 

9)      Clean up & Breakdown:  Is this included in your cost?  Sometimes, venues have an additional fee for the clean-up services or cleaning crew that must come in after your event.  Or worse, the clean up of the facility is on you, the client.  After your wedding, do you want to be cleaning?  Probably not what you had in mind, is it?

 

10)    Damage or Maintenance Deposit: How much is it and when is it due?  It’s standard practice at venues to hold a deposit for the case of excess damages; it’s rare, but it happens.  If the deposit is due upfront at contract signing, you’re out those funds the entire engagement until an assessment can be performed after your event.  Sometimes, the deposit for damages can be up to $1000.

 

Why THE SPRINGS is Different:

We are upfront about our pricing- We’ll email you our four flat rates, depending only upon day of the week.  You can inquire here.

We offer full-day rentals for 15 hours, so you can enjoy your wedding day, stress-free.  No additional rates or a base rental time of 4-hours or 6-hours, where you have to pay extra for each additional hour.  Just a full day.  It’s yours.

We never have pricing based upon guest count.

We do not have taxes or gratuities on top of these rates either.

We allow personalized payment schedules with zero fees and up to 18 payments.

Our damage deposit is not a fee, and instead a promissory authorization on the same account chosen for scheduled payments (up to $250 should damages occur).   In other words, those monies aren’t held or paid as a deposit – you are only charged if there is damage.

We do not require permits, insurance, or approval for your vendors, all are welcomed.  We do ask you to choose from a list of bartenders, only so that the liquor liability insurance is covered through these companies, saving you additional headache to acquire the insurance and find a certified bar service.

You can bring in your own alcohol and food, no questions asked.

If alcohol will be served, each location has a security service at a nominal rate (which is our only additional cost, but we are upfront about the very reasonable charges you can expect before you sign a contract).  We do not act as the “middle man”, charging you one rate for security at a mark up… no way!  The exact rate the security officers require for their service is the exact amount, end of story.

All furniture is included- no renting tables / chairs, etc.  Nonsense.

All set up of your furniture is included for the ceremony & reception to your specifications – use our online seating planner (an included amenity!)

All clean up and breakdown services are included, just leave at the end of the night & live happily ever after.

Happy Wedding!

Wedding Venue

 

Written by Audrey Nelson

Audrey Nelson

Audrey is Marketing & Social Media Manager for THE SPRINGS. She was formerly the venue manager at THE SPRINGS in New Braunfels and has hosted hundreds of weddings.