Got engaged over the festive season? Here’s how not to get ripped off when choosing your wedding venue

IT’S the moment you’ve always dreamed of, the love of your life has dropped down on to one knee and popped the question, so what now?

If romance took the lead this festive season and he put on a ring on it, it’s time to start thinking about your big day.

Top of every bride-to-be’s agenda is to secure the perfect venue for the momentous occasion and that can be harder than it sounds.

With such a huge range of options out there and so many opportunities to be ripped off it’s important that you get it right.

Here’s how to pick your wedding venue without getting fleeced…

Be wary of all-inclusive packages

It can seem like a great idea to simplify the co-ordination process and opt for a predetermined package with a set price including room hire, food, drinks and service.

But be careful signing on the dotted line and always make sure what is included for your money is completely clear.

There are often additional costs which are unaccounted for in the original contract that can push the budget up.

Be aware that some venues can be very inflexible so if you are planning on requesting changes to their plan, agree them before you commit, you have no bargaining chips afterwards!

Always fully read the contract and ask the simple question “Are there any additional charges that I haven’t been made aware of?”

Make sure that your venue has given you a carefully laid out cost sheet with details of each thing you will be charged for.

But don’t take this for granted, make it clear to them that you don’t intend to pay for a single thing which isn’t listed on that sheet so if there will be any extra charged they need to say so in advance.

And what’s more, put that in an email so you have a copy in writing.

Shop around and take advantage of deals

It’s January and it’s not just Debenhams that has a sale on.

Plenty of venues are enticing you in with great deals to boost bookings in the new year – it’s a particularly good time for hire-fee free bookings and cheap booze deals.

Don’t say it’s a wedding

Some venues will automatically increase you minimum spend requirement or hire charges if you let them know that you are making a reservation for a wedding – so keep schtum.

There’s no need to lie about the structure of the day or what you will require from them but don’t volunteer the information that a marriage will be taking place – just in case they see dollar signs in their eyes.

Ask for a discount

This is a hard thing to do but you should always ask for money off.

Once you have your quote sit down with your partner and work out a counter offer that you both agree on.

Send off your proposal and they may well meet your demands or offer to meet you in the middle.

The absolute worst that can happen is that they’ll say no, and who cares? You’re not here to make friends, you’ve got a wedding to plan.



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Ask about corkage

A huge chunk of your bill will go on booze for the day so look out for deals and wholesale prices to reduce the alcohol bill.

It may be worth your while to agree a corkage price with the venue and then buy it in yourself.

You MUST negotiate this before signing the contract otherwise you’ll never get a good price, aim for free corkage – this is the absolute dream – but bear in mind that you will probably have to shell out something in order to deprive them of their precious bar revenue.

Be savvy if you use approved suppliers they take a commission

A lot of venues have a list of pre-approved suppliers (photographers, caterers, florists etc.), for some places these are recommendations and in others, these are the only companies the venue allow.

Make sure you know the difference before you sign the contract.

The recommended suppliers may be very good but they are unlikely to have been selected because of their great value for money.

In addition many venues take a commission of 10-20% for recommendations that come through them.

The suppliers themselves are likely to handle that cost by increasing your bill rather than taking the hit themselves so always exercise caution when opting for these companies.

Extending the drinking licence

One of the biggest mark-ups from venues comes if you apply to extend their standard licensing hours for drinks, food or music.

In order to do this you need to apply for a Temporary Events Notice through the council and each venue has a limited number a year.

Most places will charge between £200 and £300 in order to apply for this on your behalf when in actuality you can do it yourself on the Government website for a standard cost of £21.

Get insurance

So technically this will cost you money but the amount it will save you if something goer wrong is phenomenal.

Make sure you are fully covered so you can always get your money back if something goes wrong with the venue or any of your suppliers.

Consider booking a venue at an off peak time

To cut down on hire costs, you may consider holding your wedding during off peak months (January – April) or on a weekday Monday – Thursday.

As these days are less popular and less likely to get booked up you are more likely to get a better deal.

A little way off from tying the knot? Here are some tips on how to find Mr Right courtesy of a top wedding planner.

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