Congratulations you’ve just got engaged! Now for the fun part…wedding planning! Once you have settled on a rough budget and style of wedding you are after, the first thing on the list is to choose a wedding venue. Venues are one of the biggest costs to the wedding, especially if it includes catering. This topic is something that I really wanted to share with new brides. I feel it is an important topic because as a planner I come across many brides and grooms that flinch at the costs of venue packages.
Photo Credit: One Marylebone
More so if you are getting married in London! Now, yes….weddings are expensive, but I think it is important for you to know exactly where your budget is going. Most venue spaces in London are actually listed buildings, they are pieces of history and architecture that have been standing for centuries, this is what makes them so unique. But there is a price tag attached! As with hotels, they all have their reasons for being priced that way.
In London most venue packages for a wedding will roughly start at £100 + VAT per head, this is for the very basic package. Most 5* venues will start at a minimum of £140 + VAT. If you are having from 200 people upwards, venues and catering can become very costly. Most venue and catering costs alone will amount to £19,000 and above. The average London wedding for 2015 -2016 is roughly £30,000 and above for parties with 100 guests or more.
Photo Credit: The Dorchester Hotel
Photo Credit: The Mayfair Hotel
So what is it that you are really paying for when you book your venue and catering?
At first look at the package and what is included, you will see a room, food and drink. However, the costs involved are not just this.
- Fresh produce: Hotels and venues pride themselves on their catering skills and abilities. They want to make sure that you should always have the very best quality of produce around, this means purchasing everything for your wedding in bulk from the markets and tradesmen a few days before the wedding.
- Alcohol: If your chosen venue is a space only, the catering team that will be coming in tend to purchase all bottles of alcohol in bulk from their suppliers, they cost this on a per head bases.
- dependent on the number of guests you are having both during the day and in the evening.
- Costs of running high powered kitchen equipment: No matter if you choose outside catering or in-house catering, when you are cooking for a large number of guests, the kitchen equipment needs to be the very best, this means electrical costs need to be paid to run them.
- Staffing: Now this is a very important point of why venues charge the way they do, they are a key ingredient into making your wedding day work as smooth as possible. On your wedding day, you will have:
– Event/Wedding Manager – Operations Manager – Venue Manager – Head Chef – Secondary Chef – Kitchen team – Waiters/Waitresses – Host/Hostess to greet guests – Cloakroom Attendants – Security
In some cases such as hotels
– Toilet attendants – Night Manager
All these staff members are preparing for your wedding from 7am (sometimes from 5am) in the morning, although you may only have the venue until midnight or 1am, all staff may stay later to clear up and break down which can go until 3am. Essentially part of your cost is to be able to pay the staff for a 15 -18 hour day.
Photo Credit: Snapshot Staffing
- Cost of running the venue/hotel: Just like renting, the venue also has bills to pay; electricity, water, gas, broadband, etc. And the last thing in the costs is that mean and selfish word of profit.
At the end of the day, a venue is a business, if it does not make profit it would cease to exist. A venue must make some profit from every event it hosts in order to support its general staff i.e. HR, Accounts, Marketing, Legal, Events, etc.
When you get in your venue quotes we know that you need to consider your own budget, but do stop and think about absolutely everything you are getting within the price. So when you are the question ‘Why are venue packages so expensive?’ I hope you will think back to this article as to the reasons why.
Photo Credit: The Corinthia Hotel
Photo Credit: Claridge’s