Do you have questions about wedding costs, venue prices and event budgets? I bet you do because it is a lot to wrap your head around! We have the answers to the venue cost questions you have now and to questions you haven’t even thought of yet. We’ll start basic and get more and more specific by the end. Here goes!
How much does a wedding cost?
According to The Knot 2022 Real Wedding Report, the national average total wedding cost is $30,000 with an average per guest of $256. In Kentucky, the average total wedding cost is $20,000. Wedding costs vary widely though based on guest count, event location and the number of vendors hired. Your venue is only one of your wedding expenses so your venue budget is a smaller number than your total wedding budget.
Who pays for a wedding?
Zola’s 2023 report suggests that in most cases, couples and their parents are paying for the wedding. 16.6% of couples paid for their entire wedding on their own while 33.6% paid for at least part of their wedding. 9.4% of weddings were paid for entirely by the parents/ in laws while 32.5% were partially paid for by parents/ in laws. In some cases, friends and other relatives also contribute financially to a wedding.
How much does a wedding venue cost?
Booking a venues for your wedding can cost anything from $0 to a gagillion dollars. I know that answer isn’t helpful, so let me elaborate. The cost of a venue is determined by its size, location and inclusions. Additionally, the price of some venues varies based on your guest count while others are a flat rate. Couples typically spend 20-40% of their total wedding budget on their venue. Here are a few general rules of thumb to keep in mind:
- Larger venues with larger guest capacity generally cost more than smaller venues of the same caliber.
- Venues in large metropolitan areas are usually more expensive. For example, a venue in Chicago will cost more than a comparable venue in Danville, Kentucky.
- A venue that offers and includes more products and services typically costs more. For example, a venue that includes tables & chairs will probably cost more than a comparable venue that doesn’t include tables & chairs. Any event essentials (restrooms, parking lot, electricity, dumpster, shelter, etc.) not provided by the venue will need to be purchased another way.
To learn more about our pricing at Warrenwood Manor, please submit an inquiry form >>HERE<<.
When are wedding venues cheapest?
Venue costs can fluctuate based on the day of the week and month of the year, but not all venues have variable prices. Weekday weddings are typically cheaper than weekend weddings. Holiday dates may be the most expensive. Depending on your location and the type of venue, certain months may also be cheaper than others. For example, in Kentucky prime wedding months include May, June, September and October due to the mild weather for outdoor events. Wedding dates during these months may cost you a premium. Choosing an off season date could save you money. Indoor venues that are less influenced by the weather may not have as much seasonal variability in demand and price.
Do wedding venues offer discounts?
Some venues offer discounts and some don’t. The amount of discount may also vary. There isn’t an industry standard. Here are a few types of discounts venues may offer:
Military & First-Responder discounts
Short term or Seasonal booking incentives
Discount for full payment upfront
How much is a wedding venue deposit?
A venue deposit is either a set dollar amount (ex. $1,000) or a percentage of your total (ex. 25% of total). The amount is usually 20-50% of the total. Venues often require a signed contract and deposit to officially book your event.
Are wedding venue deposits refundable?
It depends on the venue’s contract. Your venue’s cancellation policy should explain if, when and how you could receive a deposit refund. There are no industry standards. In general, a venue’s policy on deposit refunds is based on when you cancel your event and their ability to book another event in its place. For example, you are likely to receive a refund if you cancel eight months before your event and your venue is able to book another event (of equal or greater value). Whereas, you are less likely to receive a refund if you cancel 30 days before your event and the venue is unable to book another event.
Note that a venue may also charge a rebooking fee to cover the cost of the time the venue spent on you (tour, booking process, property visits, etc.) and any extra effort they make to rebook your date. Additionally, a venue may also collect a damage deposit that is refunded only after the venue confirms that their property wasn’t damaged during your event. The contract determines when and how the damage deposit is returned.
Are wedding venue costs negotiable?
I never say never, but venue prices are NOT typically negotiable. Venues want to treat all clients equally and that includes charging a consistent rate. Package and pricing changes may also require changes to contracts, payment plans and staffing that the venue just doesn’t want to deal with.
Do wedding venues have payment plans?
Yes, venues typically offer payment plans that divide your total balance into two to five installments spaced out over the time between booking and the actual event. Different venues offer different options. Some venues may even offer monthly payments. It is common for all payments to be due 30-90 days before the event.
Do wedding venues charge tax?
In Kentucky, venues are required to charge 6% sales tax. That means that your total payment to your venue will be the venue price plus 6% sales tax.
Do wedding venues take credit cards?
Some wedding venues take credit cards and some don’t. If a venue does take credit cards, keep in mind that you may be responsible for paying the credit card processing fee (around 2-3%). Some venues cover that cost while others pass the fee on to you, the client. In some states it is illegal for businesses to do this, but it is allowed in Kentucky. Venues may also accept cash, checks and/or electronic bank transfers.
Can wedding venues increase prices?
Yes and no. Wedding venues can change their prices at any time for new bookings, but those changes rarely apply to clients that have already signed a contract. A venue contract should outline the cost as well as when, how and why they may charge you more than that initial fee. This cost structure is legally binding for both you and your venue. Your venue cost may increase if…
- Your total venue price is based on selections you haven’t made yet (ex. catering and bar selections at venues that offer these services, etc.) or a guest count that it’s set yet.
- You make changes to the products or services you’re asking the venue to provide. (ex. extend rental period, add a coordinator, add rental items, etc.)
- Your event causes damages to the property
- You, your guests or your vendors violate the venue’s rules
- The venue has a clause in their contract that allows them to adjust pricing if the cost to provide the service drastically increases as a result of government regulations (ex. COVID).
Can wedding venues require you to make other purchases?
Yes, but only if the requirement is in the contract.
For example, it is very common for wedding venues to require their clients to purchase special event liability insurance. You purchase the insurance policy from a provider and send proof of your purchase to your venue. The cost is around $100-300.
A venue can also place restrictions on what products and services must be provided by professionals and what vendors can and cannot be hired to do the job. This may sound controlling, but it is done in the best interest of the client or in accordance with the law. For example, a venue may require that you hire a licensed and insured bartender to serve alcohol for legal and safety reasons.
Venue costs shouldn’t feel like a complicated puzzle or a game of Whac-a-mole. Now that you understand venue pricing and common policies, you can confidently choose a venue that fits you, your event and your budget. Remember to read your venue contract completely and ask questions when you have them. The details really do matter. You got this!
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Feature image by Paige Michelle Photography.