There will be many times where you will see this word throughout this blog, I’m sure, because it’s as important as anything else. But for now, I’d like to talk about venue negotiations. Please do not let anyone fool you into thinking that the prices you get at the initial meetings and walk throughs of a venue are the prices that you absolutely must pay. Wonderful industry secret: they start you off a little higher expecting you to bargain with them. Do not accept what you are not comfortable with, and know that they need you as much as you need them.
If you happen to fall in love with a venue like my fiancée and I did when doing the walk through, and you sit down to look at the options and pricing, know in your head that this is simply a starting point. For example, our venue only really has 1 option… Top shelf open bar, and a very extensive menu. We decided within minutes this was the perfect place for us. We had to have it, but I was definitely not willing to pay the 260+ per plate price tag that it came with…. and so I started acting as if this place was nice, but not the very best we had seen and I began saying things like “this is all beautiful, but that’s quite a lot considering that we had to pay extra for just about everything else.” And that’s where negotiations began.
All of a sudden the person sitting across the table from the two of us was as eager to have us as I was (on the inside of course) to have this place. When you can guarantee a certain amount of people, it comes with a certain amount of power. We have big families, and so I promised to have at least 150 people there and probably closer to 250. So, this person came back from speaking to the owner of the venue with a price of 206 per plate, complete up to 200 people. Anything over 200 people would be 150 complete. My response? “That’s pretty good, but I’m not sure we are able to do that, and still do all the extras.” And now I have my centerpieces (typically rented at 100 per table) included, my cake, my ceremony, martini bar, chocolate fountain, extended cocktail hour, a member of waitstaff for each table, and a honeymoon included in that price.
Yes, you read that right. My honeymoon. A week on an all inclusive beach resort in Europe- for free. We have to pay for our flights, but my dream honeymoon for only the price of the flight to get there seems great to me!
The point here is- nothing is set in stone. You want suckling pig? Negotiate it. You want those pretty centerpieces that your venue offers at a price you’re not willing to pay? Negotiate it. Extra time in your cocktail hour so that you can spend some time greeting your guests? Make it happen! It’s all in your hands, and all you have to do is walk into every place picky and knowing that they will want to meet you halfway to get you to have your wedding there.
And trust me, you won’t be the first bride they think is too picky, and you won’t be the last so go in there and get everything you want and don’t feel bad about it!
Much love and good luck ladies and gents,