I recently provided some pointers to Credit Karma, for an article about unexpected costs at weddings that was posted on their website. Here are the points that I made:
- Many event venues require General Liability insurance coverage from the Client (bride and groom). The amount of coverage typically required is at least $1,000,000 (sometimes $2 or 3 million) per occurrence. The Insurer (bride and groom) must produce a Certificate of Insurance (COI), naming the venue as an additional insured. The COI typically costs $150-$200.
- “To be determined” clauses in contracts can often lead to additional costs. If a contract has been signed with “TBD,” you are stuck with any prices that are subsequently “determined,” and you have no ability to negotiate that pricing, since the contract has already been signed. Negotiate all pricing before a contract is signed to avoid unexpected costs.
- Many catering proposals are written with a basic level of staffing that is insufficient for a “fine dining” experience. If excellent service is important to you, you may want one wait staff person per table of eight and one bartender per 75 guests. Be prepared for extra labor charges to obtain this high level of service.
- Some venues do not permit guests to drive to the venue, so group transportation by chartered coaches must be arranged.
- If you are at an outdoor venue there may or may not be electrical power for caterer, band/DJ, lighting, etc. You may have to bring in a generator.
- If you are at an outdoor venue there may or may not be restrooms. If not, portable restrooms are required.
- Many venues rent a site for a set amount of hours. If a couple wants a 7 hour wedding to include ceremony, cocktails, dinner and dancing and the venue is available for only 9 hours, this may not be the appropriate venue. In addition to the time for the wedding itself, you typically want 4 hours for set-up (especially if you are bringing in lighting and special décor), and 1.5 to 2 hours for strike (tear-down). In order for a couple to have their wedding at some sites, they may need to buy additional time from the venue – if the site will sell the extra time. Be prepared for extra costs for securing more time.
- Setting up a wedding takes labor and costs money, but it is something that can get overlooked in initial pricing that the couple receives. That’s because it is not always clear who is responsible for set-up – sometimes it’s the venue, sometimes it’s the caterer, and sometimes it’s the rental company. Whoever the responsible party may be, it should be clearly written into their contract. And in any case, the couple is paying for someone to set up and tear down.