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Venue Costs You May Not Know About


March 28, 2022
Words by Be Inspired PR
Photos courtesy of David Weibel

Before you sign on that dotted line, you should know that your venue may have some unexpected costs you didn’t plan for in your budget! We’ve teamed up with the industry pros that work with Be Inspired PR to gather up some of the most common costs that might be associated with your dream venue so that you can ask all the right questions when you find that perfect place to say “I do!”

  • Venue site fee. “This may come as a surprise, but not all services and equipment are covered in the venue site fee (also known as the rental fee or facility fee). So don’t get lured in by a low site fee, thinking that it will cover everything! A site fee typically covers rental of the space for a certain number of hours. And it can be misleading to see an enticingly-low rental fee compared to the true cost of renting a space! Site fees vary from venue to venue, can be in addition to “per person” fees, and can even fluctuate throughout the year—so it’s important to understand what’s included in the site fee for each venue you’re considering. It’s possible to get nickeled and dimed for all the extras: tables, chairs, linens, dance floor, cake cutting, valet service, and so forth. You can also end up paying more than you expected for security and cleanup. These additional charges can really add up, so save yourself a big headache by understanding exactly what’s included in the rental fee—and what’s not—before you sign any contract.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
  • Parking. “Whether a venue has a valet service available or not, there may be fees associated with parking on their site, and this is something you’ll need to consider – the alternative might mean hiring alternate transportation, like a shuttle bus, to help your guests get to and from your venue!” – Maya Holihan, CEO & Founder, EWedded
  • Outside catering fees. “Many venues have strict requirements when it comes to caterers, including exclusive lists of caterers that you have to choose from or fees for a caterer to use their on-site kitchen if you choose to forego in-house catering. First things first, find out what their catering policy is in general. If they offer catering services as well, do you have to use their team and their team only? If they don’t offer catering services (or even if they do) but allow outside caterers, is there a specific list you have to choose from? Are there fees associated with using their kitchen and equipment? Ultimately, these types of costs and restrictions are ones you likely won’t be able to avoid if they’re standard for your venue, so having these conversations ahead of time can help you to better plan your budget and vision as a whole.” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
  • Insurance coverage. “Nothing spells a forgotten cost like…insurance! Many venues will ask couples (and any event client today) to purchase a day-of insurance policy for their event. Both you and your venue will enjoy your big night more knowing that if a guest mistakenly backs into a fence or your crazy uncle knocks over some expensive decor, you will have a policy to help protect your downside. And in no way does requiring day-of insurance mean the venue is uninsured otherwise; these policies are meant to help cover you and your guests! In fact, we might say it’s a good sign of a venues’ experience and professionalism to require it because they know it can help prevent unexpected costs for clients.”- Sam McElhinney, CEO, Weven
  • Additional overnight expenses. “More clients are choosing venues with onsite accommodations! We love this and so do guests, so we are onboard! Just don’t forget to determine what the associated costs of the overnights might be – additional meals and lodging taxes? Are there cleaning fees? Linens?  It can seem small but if you forget to ask upfront, you save yourself from a surprise expense the month before your wedding or having quoted guests the wrong price for an overnight!” – Jen Cormier, Director of Sales and Success, Weven
  • Unplanned expenses. “You know what they said about the best laid plans…sometimes even if you schedule everything out and have an awesome team of professionals, things happen and there can be delays in your timeline that can affect things later down the line. Although no one plans to be late and miss a deadline, it’s important to ask your venue (and all of your vendors, to be honest!) upfront what kind of fees might be associated with things like late pickup or needing early drop-off to store items ahead of time. It’s better to know ahead of time what the costs might be if a change in plans needs to happen than to have something come up and suddenly be caught off guard by extra expenses.” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
  • On-site rentals. “Even if you’ve decided you’d like to bring in specialty rentals, there may be a few in-house items at your venue that you’d like to use on the wedding day, such as chairs, tables, or linens. Make it a point to ask what your venue has in their inventory, determine which items (if any!) you’d like to use for your own wedding day, and then make sure to ask if there are costs associated with using those items so that you can keep track of your overall rentals budget!” – Maya Holihan, CEO & Founder, EWedded
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