You may be able to negotiate the price of your wedding venue, but it depends on a few factors. Trying to get a discount? Read on!
First, do your research.
If you’re looking to negotiate, it’s a good idea to research what venues are charging before you go in. Ask your friends who have recently gotten married how much they spent on their venue, check out websites like Wedding Spot or The Knot and contact wedding planners to find out the average price per person. Once you’ve done that, call the venue directly and ask for a quote. It’s pretty common practice for venues to offer discounts or package deals at certain times of the year (think Friday or Sunday nights) or during slower seasons such as November through March.
Second, ask for upgrades.
You can always ask for upgrades. This is particularly true if you’re booking a venue that has multiple rental packages. If the venue has time slots peak times and off-peak times, then you can see if they’ll give you an upgrade on your lower tier package at the price of their higher one. You may not save money this way, but it’s a quick way to get more value out of your rental!
While many people are shocked by how much it costs to book a wedding venue, you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate once you’ve found the perfect spot for your big day and what their rates are. The good news is that this is more common than it seems: Wedding venues expect that couples will try and negotiate with them on price.
Third, ask about filling empty dates.
It’s never a bad idea to ask the venue if they have any empty dates that need to be filled. If they do, it gives you the chance to negotiate directly with them. If not, try negotiating with another venue to fill their spot. It’s not always possible, but it’s a good way of getting a solid discount on your dream venue.
You can also try to negotiate venue prices by offering referrals or booking for the off season
Negotiating is also an important part of the wedding venue process. While you’re shopping around, let a coordinator know that you are finalizing your choices and want to walk away with the best deal possible. They may be able to find ways to discount the price: if you book on a night in which they don’t have another event, or if you can refer them clients—that’s two big ones, right there!
Remember: even if it’s not during prime season, weekends are still the most popular time for weddings. If your venue offers discounts for booking on weekdays, consider taking them up on it. Just make sure you’re clear about their refund policy before signing any contracts. I’ve had friends who’ve lost thousands of dollars because they got cold feet about their venue and couldn’t get their money back after cancelling; though many venues are flexible with cancellations made 30 days (or more!) in advance of the event date, some of them aren’t—so check ahead!
If you can’t afford some of the amenities offered by the vendor, you can always ask if those are included in the price
Use the venue’s website to research all the amenities that are included in the price of your venue. If you’re surprised by a lack of some amenity that seems like a given, ask if it’s included or if there’s an additional fee for it.
Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate directly with the venue manager regardless of what their policies may say
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. While it’s true that many venues don’t offer flexible pricing and are unwilling to budge on costs, you should never assume this is the case without asking first. You will never be able to negotiate with a venue if you don’t ask them for a better price.
- Take advantage of services you don’t want or need. While some brides and grooms require every part of their wedding package, others are willing to forego what they don’t plan on using in order to get a lower venue cost. Be sure you’re ready to walk away from the table if the venue doesn’t give in (at least a little) on their asking price. Make sure your counter offer is close enough that it’s reasonable, but not so low that it insults the venue manager or makes your wedding budget unrealistic for the desired celebration of your dreams.
It’s important to remember that while negotiating a wedding contract may not be comfortable, it’s just business and nothing personal
One thing to keep in mind is that your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and a venue can be pivotal to making it the best day possible. However, it’s also important to remember that there are countless other couples who feel the same way about their wedding, and many more who will work with this business in the future. Your vendor may try to make you feel special, but at the end of the day they’re likely juggling several clients at once. If they seem aloof or short on time, don’t take it personally—they’re probably just trying to do their job and balance all their responsibilities.
If you remember this throughout your negotiations, you’ll be much less likely to get emotional or take things too personally. If a vendor shoots down one of your requests without getting into specifics of why not, try asking for clarity about what’s possible and what isn’t. This generally helps vendors decide where they stand with customers like you (and vice versa). Remember that if an agreement doesn’t work for both parties involved, then no deal is better than a bad deal!