One of the things about special events and weddings that people find so surprising is how expensive the venue rental fee can be. Many people consider this to be money wasted, but it can often be inclusive of other items such as rental items (furniture, dishes, etc.) or staff (servers, attendants), but sometimes it is just a fee and all the other items are on top of the fee. Still, there are often ways to pay a lower fee or avoid paying a rental fee altogether.
The first thing you need to do is find out what is included (if anything) in the rental fee. For example, if the rental fee includes all of the tables, chairs, dishes, staff, and a/v that you’d need, paying a high rental fee might actually be a good deal as these items can add up. But if it only includes some of these things, or doesn’t include any tangible items (it’s just covering the space’s opportunity cost – aka allowing you exclusive use of the space at the loss of other business), it’s important to try and compare apples to apples when working on your budget.
Now, on to the suggestions:
Choose an off day
Many venues offer different pricing for different days based on demand – most people host events on Fridays and Saturdays (although this might be slightly different based on your market), thus events on Tuesdays might have a lower rental fee because there isn’t as much business. Ask the venue if they have slower days with a lower fee.
Choose an off season
Similiarly, some venues have seasonal pricing, particularly venues with outdoor components. For example, the botantical garden might be very expensive to rent in the spring and summer, but it might offer a substantial discount in the fall when it’s not blooming, but might still be very pretty.
Ask about cancellations
If you’re planning with a short lead time, ask if there have been any cancellations at the venue. If a venue has had a client cancel or postpone an event, they now have a hole in their schedule and might be willing to slightly discount the rental fee in order to fill it quickly.
Offer repeat business
If you have several events that you can place in the same venue, ask for a discount based on the volume of business you’re bringing if you can contract for all of the events at once. I’ve also had success with this tactic when it comes to getting a lower food and beverage minimum.
Offer more revenue
If you can show the venue that your event will bring signficant revenue to them in other ways than just the rental fee, they might be willing to discount it. For example, at hotels in particular, you can often have them waive the rental fee in exchange for a higher food and beverage commitment – the hotel is getting the same amount of money, but it’s all going toward something tangible, not just a fee. Note that in this case the caterer and the venue most likely need to be the same company.
Choose a venue that doesn’t charge a rental fee
Many hotels do not charge rental fees for the rooms if you commit to a certain amount of food and beverage, and the cost of giving you the space is wrapped up into the cost of the food (see above). This can sometimes make hotels the most affordable venues for events (although not always).
What are some other ways to save money on a venue? What other aspects of event planning would you like to see posts on?