Author Topic: Wedding Negotiation  (Read 1573 times)


  • Bristles
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Wedding Negotiation
« on: February 04, 2019, 10:46:33 AM »
Does anyone have tips on how to negotiate wedding costs?  Where are venues willing to compromise?

We are choosing a location that includes all rentals, silverware, staff, clean up and tear down, food, alcohol, etc. and I would like to know what I should try and ask for.

Things they charge for: food(all with 22% service charge), alcohol, extra hours ($500/extra hour), $2500 site fee.

All of the food has a 22% service charge but from my understanding that is really hard to get them to change and every venue includes this charge.

I was thinking we could set a food and beverage minimum and get them to wave the site fee?  Or reduce it?  Any thoughts would be appreciated. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2019, 12:25:32 PM »
Wedding venues are really, really good at charging you the absolute maximum possible as they know this is the one of the areas where people go nuts in terms of spending. Some tips from my experience:

1- The 22% service charge is the least likely thing to change; depending on your location, this is fairly standard

2- Alcohol: if it is a hotel/restaurant, etc, it is unlikely that you can do much to change this. However, if it is a venue that is just rented out for events, some will let you buy the alcohol yourself and then just charge you for serving it. This could cut down cost significantly especially if you choose a few types of beer, wine, and alcohol as opposed to a complete bar with every choice imaginable. Costco is great for this. If you really want to bring the cost down, do beer and wine only and then one boozy drink like rum punch or a "signature cocktail." If the venue won't let you buy your own booze, ask to limit it to just beer, wine, and your signature drink and avoid the cost of a full open bar.

3- Extra hours: I've never heard of getting this reduced or waived.

4- Site fee: the best way to reduce this is to do the event on a Friday (weekdays are usually cheaper). The other option is (if date hasn't been set yet) to do the wedding during your venue's "low season" if there is one. Most venues will negotiate a lower price for using an off-peak and non holiday weekend.

Hope this helps!


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 12:31:22 PM »
Have the wedding at a national or state park. Great pictures and inexpensive venues.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 12:43:09 PM »
Most of the few weddings I've been involved in have been cheap or thrifty in some way. In those cases, I think the organizing family/families avoided "standard" wedding costs by arranging things themselves.

For example, instead of an essentially catered reception, one family rented a back room in a restaurant and ordered a pre-set group meal off the menu;as I understand it, it wasn't a "wedding" rate, just a "group" rate. Maybe there was still a 22% charge somehow though. In another case, they rented a small pretty building for the reception, bought alcohol from grocery store, and I think bought meats and treats from a grocery deli, with family members picking up the goods from the store and serving them at the reception. I guess it depends on the number of guests, and the depth/willingness of family support re the wedding arrangements.

In other words, the negotiation was done "away from the table" - not getting Vendor A to give on price of Service A, but instead finding Method B that was cheaper.


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 05:06:40 PM »
Is it too late to tell them that you are throwing a birthday party, retirement party, etc?

I have a friend who got married 7 years ago or so.  She was working FT, so fiance did much of the planning.  They were looking at caterers, found one they liked, but we trying to get quotes from a few.  Cost for the preferred caterer?  $100/plate.

Since fiance had done all the legwork, my friend called up later and asked for a catering quote for a "party".  Half price.

So...they got the party rate.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!