How to compare wedding venue prices
Did you start looking for a wedding venue as soon as you got engaged?
Or did you take a while to get going on your venue search?
Whether you were straight out the blocks or took a more relaxed view of finding your venue, you probably started your search online, maybe you started googling some keywords around location or ‘wedding barn’, or ‘outdoor wedding’ or maybe you went onto some of the big wedding venue search directories like Rock My Wedding Love Lust List or Coco Wedding Venues or Hitched?
And you were feeling excited! You’re on your way to finding your dream venue so you can get started on properly planning your wedding. Right?
And then you realised how many hundreds (and hundreds) of wedding venues there are out there. Thousands. Where do you start?
So you took a deep breath and figured out whether a wedding venue search directory or your own google searching was right for you (did you see our blog post about how to search for your venue online?) and you’ve got together a list of venues you’re interested in. You’ve downloaded their brochure, you’ve seen all the photos online, they’ve made it to the shortlist.
Then you start trying to compare the different venues. They’re all so different – how can you compare? They all price so differently, it’s like comparing apples with oranges – argh!
It’s a tough one because it’s true, there’s no standard way of pricing a venue. Some venues have accommodation, some don’t. Some do ‘dry hire’ which is where you get the venue but you have to hire everything in yourself. Some do what should be called ‘damp hire’ where you get the venue and maybe some tables and chairs but you have to bring in everything else. Other venues do a full service where you just turn up with your outfits and your rings and everything else is laid on, photographer, florist, cake, DJ. Some do in between, they provide a lot and you get to make your wedding your own.
That’s partly why comparisons are so difficult. The venues are genuinely completely different.
So sadly you probably need a spreadsheet or a big piece of paper – no actually you really do need the spreadsheet. List in the left hand column all the benefits provided by the venue. We have a list on our FAQ page of all the things we include in our venue hire so you can start with that list. Along the top row of your spreadsheet write the name of each venue. If it’s a full hire venue there won’t be a breakdown of costs so just put the total cost at the bottom of the venue column and put a tick in each box for the things provided. When you’ve input all your data, you’ll be able to see easily what’s included and compare the prices at the bottom.
And when you come to compare the prices bear these things in mind:
- hiring wedding venues is a bit like buying a car, you can’t ask the Rolls Royce dealer why his cars are more expensive than the Fords down the road. Yes, they’re both cars but you get what you pay for. You can have the best wedding in the local village hall but the same number of guests in Babington House will cost more money. Yes they’re both weddings but when you pay less, you generally get less
- does the venue have ‘their way’ of doing weddings? They might insist that all weddings have to be the same wedding. Cookie cutter weddings are easier (and therefore cheaper) for a venue to put on. You can read the first two questions on our FAQ page to find out what our couples value and what makes us your people
- how much help and support will you get along the way? Will you have someone you can email with unlimited questions? Or once you’re booked, is that the last you’ll hear from them until you turn up for your wedding?
- don’t forget the dreaded VAT, some venue prices include VAT and some don’t
- corkage on drinks. If a venue has high corkage charges (£15 to £20 a bottle is not unusual) their venue hire charge might look low, it’s back to those apples and oranges again
You can read more tips about the process of finding a wedding venue here on the blog:
If you’ve got questions, the answer is probably on our FAQ page. If it’s not there or you want to ask about availability or book an appointment to view the venue, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t downloaded our brochure yet, you can get the download link to your inbox here.