California-Los Angeles

Venue Contract Negotiations - Please help!

Hi Ladies,

This is my first time posting here - although since I have started planning (just a month ago) I have perused through the message boards and have to say, you all offer AWESOME advice...

With that said, here's my dilemma:
FI and I were all set to book our reception and ceremony at Strawberry Farms in Irvine for next summer (2012). We have the contract in our hands and everything, however, when reading through it, there was one part that raised a red flag for us: "All food and beverage menu pricing changes each calendar year. Therefore in determining your final budget, please reference the actual year's pricing in which your event is scheduled to take place."

The venue does not have their 2012 pricing yet. When I asked the lady whom we have been working with about this, her response was: "The prices for next year may or may not change. If they did they did increase it may be around 10%. Unfortunately I do not know if they will be changing or not. "   (sorry, I don't know how to make the font/text size smaller after copying and pasting it)

Is this normal for other venues as well? I understand we're booking far in advance but how are we supposed to appropriately budget (we're paying for this ourselves) if the proposal and per person costs may be actually 10% more than what initially told us? I plan to call her and talk to her about it but I'd love to know ahead of time if this is standard practice or not.

Thank you in advance!!

Re: Venue Contract Negotiations - Please help!

  • edited December 2011
    With many venues, actually, locking in this year's prices are a good reason to, well, book early. However, I think they might have that clause because with inflation and gas prices, it's very possible food costs could rise a lot by next summer.
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  • nikojammnikojamm member
    edited December 2011

    I agree with Mery.  I do think it is common for places to increase each year, but it sucks they aren't letting you lock in this year's prices.  I would see if there is anything you can do, even if it is some kind of discount after increase.

  • jwdeldottojwdeldotto member
    100 Comments Second Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    You should be able to lock in this year's price because you are signing now.  I only know that these kinds of clauses are common in florist's contract....not Venue.
  • edited December 2011
    This clause is fairly common - I read about it in my budget wedding book when I was planning our wedding. That said, the advice in the book was to ask the catering manager to remove that clause. Personally the clause makes me nervous - the manager may say the prices may increase 10% but what if they increase 25%? Your choice at that point is to go over budget or forfeit the deposit - a lose-lose situation for you but a win-win for the venue.

    How popular is the venue? I would politely but firmly ask them to remove the clause. If there's a particular item the vendor is worried may increase I would talk to them about possible substituting. For example, if your menu consists of a fish only found in a small part of the world then I can see how that price might fluctuate greatly and possibly increase by 100%. You can consider a clause allowing substitutions as long as you have the final approval. If it's chicken or steak chances are the increase is slight and imo the vendor should account for that in this year's prices.

    The vendors have your deposit a year or more in advance. They can use it for their cash flow or let it sit in their savings account earning money. They should be able to determine prices that won't change imho.

    (Sorry for the long post.)

  • delila3451delila3451 member
    edited December 2011
    Thank you for all of your comments!! I'm meeting with the manager today so hopefully it goes well... Wish me luck!

    Happy {almost} Friday!
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