It wasn’t that long ago that we were both searching for our ideal wedding venue. How things have changed since the summer of 2019! One thing has not changed though. For many wedding couples out there, us included, the budget was near the top of our list of considerations when choosing a venue. Through our fun/exhaustive search, we uncovered a number of ways that those “cheap wedding venue rental fees”, turned out to be not so cheap 🙄. While always striving to be upfront, transparent and brutally honest with our guests, we’d like to help a few of you prospective wedding couples steer clear of a few of those hidden fees that can sink your preferred wedding budget.
You may want to sit down for this one. It’s important to to find out from the beginning what your venue’s situation is with tables and chairs. While certain styles or options may be complimentary, the fancy stuff 💁♀️ may be an added charge. In addition to the types of tables & chairs, quantity could be a big factor too. If holding your ceremony on site, you may need double the chairs, or the venue may charge a fee to lug them from one site to another.
Two birds with one stone! Right? It’s becoming evermore popular to hold your ceremony on site of the reception, but that could equate to an extra line on that invoice at the end of the day. This was always an interesting one for us, because a ceremony does not seem to increase costs for the venue 🤔. If you’re planning on keeping things simple, avoiding messy logistics and hold the ceremony on-site, check with your venue on an additional fee.
Now this is a fee that took us some time to ‘uncover’ 😉. Our initial venue (before The Brook fortuitously came along and changed our lives forever) required a large tent in order to take the capacity from 100 to 200. If you’re anything like us, you weren’t willing to take a chance on leaving half of our guests uncovered for the reception. What initially seemed like a reasonable venue fee, quickly grew with the additional of the necessary tent. Also, nobody tells you what all goes into tents (permit, fans, poles, cinder block anchors, a ton of money, blah blah blah). A tent can be an excellent feature for your reception, but double check the cost before signing on the dotted line!
Death and (vendor) taxes. Two things that are inevitable in life. The second one doesn’t have to be if you ask the right questions. Some venues form strong partnerships with vendors that they trust and support. These relationships can be beneficial in keeping down costs; we’re not saying this a negative whatsoever. For those of you with certain vendors in mind though, you will want to double check that an additional fee isn’t required. If you’re not picky, sticking with a preferred/required vendor usually means cheaper rates and a quality product or service!👌
No we aren’t talking about bottle service in a Las Vegas club here 🍸. This one is especially important for those couples out there looking to host a smaller sized wedding. Venues that provide alcohol and/or food to wedding couples, often have a minimum associated with the final cost. This helps ensure they reach their bottom line, but it can sometime force you to expand that wedding venue budget slightly. Now we totally support amazing wedding food leftovers, but clarify upfront if utilizing the venues bar packages or catering services.
It’s not that we don’t trust you! We all know the groom has that one buddy from college that is going to get his money’s worth at the open bar, and act accordingly. Accidents happen, and a little bit of insurance goes a long way to put the couple and the venue at ease. Event insurance is becoming the norm today, but that also means it’s more accessible than ever. Wedsafe is an awesome option, and typically only runs a few hundred bucks. Insurance doesn’t need to break your wedding venue budget.
Time isn’t always on our side⏳. It’s important for you to nail down a schedule of events for your big day, and then to work in some additional time, because you’ll always need it! Whether it’s more time to set up and decorate, get everyone through the buffet line or clean up the beautiful mess you’ve made at the end of the night, extra time can be your best friend. Extra time does usually come at a cost though! Confirm exact time frames with your venue, and ask about additional time if you need it!
When you gotta go, you gotta go! I think we can all agree, this is a necessity, at a wedding. All venues are not created equally though. Back yard weddings (think Meet the Parents), remote outdoor weddings and renovated rustic barn weddings are a few spaces we toured that did not come equipped with restrooms. The Brook actually did NOT have restrooms for our wedding at the time, but that’s a story for another day! Port-o-Pottys are a great option here, but can get pricey with newer fancy models and number needed🚽.
While not venue specific, sometimes you can’t get around this one. A common trend today is to house guests at a central hotel, and ship everyone to and from the various sites of the big day. Trolleys and buses 🚎 are a fun way to keep your crew together, and eliminate some of those messy logistics, especially with a cocktail or two involved. While great for your guests, it can come at a cost to the bride and groom! Duration, distance and occupancy are all important factors to that can bust your wedding venue budget.
BYOB – Bring your own Budget! 🍾 BYOB is great for those couples that don’t want to sacrifice their budget for the bubbly. We personally loved the BYOB option as it allowed us to get creative with the brands, types and amount of alcohol available to our guests. This can be especially important when talking open bar. Your venue may totally support you bringing your own booze, but with a corkage fee. This isn’t as common today, but worth checking out.
I mean, is it really a wedding without dancing?💃 🕺🏻 You would think such a focal part of the night would be standard, but many venues do not have a formal dance floor. You have some options here to ensure you’re guests can properly (and safely) boogie down. If you’re venue doesn’t have their own dance floor, your caterer is a great place to start looking! Prices may vary, but if a solid foundation for your guests to let loose is important, ask up front!
Love shouldn’t need a permit, but when you’re dealing with the state it sometime does. When we looked at various parks and state run venue, the number of permits required started to stack up. Common permits could include the distribution of alcohol on site, or a permit to set your tent up. Yes, you may need to pay for a tent AND a permit. While permits aren’t required at most venues, it’s worth considering in your wedding venue budget.
Raise your hand if you want to tear down decorations and clean up your space at the end of your wedding night…anyone? 😶… That’s what we thought! These are two of the most overlooked areas of a wedding, and for good reason. They’re not fun! Check with your venue to confirm their set up & tear down policy. This may be part of your contract with them. Great! They may tack on extra fees or you may need to organize with your caterer. Trust us, no one wants to clean up after a day of festivities and breaking it down on your awesome dance floor (that you definitely checked the pricing on first)!
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