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New Jersey

Venue Shock

FI and I had our first meeting with a venue and are a little shell shocked. The initial packet the venue gave us said nothing about minimum revenues, so we were caught off guard when in the meeting with the event coordinator, she mentioned a $20,000 Saturday night minimum! Is this common?! I've heard of pp minimums, but never a blanket minimum charge like this, especially when the information packet was priced out per person! We have other venue meetings lined up next week and are panicking....please tell me not all places are like that!

Re: Venue Shock

  • edited December 2011
    I've heard of it...that is why we had our wedding on a Sunday -- one place required us to have 150 for a Saturday night & another venue required we meet a certain amount of money. By having it on a Sunday our only requirement was to have a 100 guests -- the entire cost including ceremony was a little over 12k
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  • HobokensFuryHobokensFury member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Some venues do have a minimum charge per night but more often that none it goes by price per person.  When venues do a PP charge they give you the minimum amount of people you must pay for.  So in reality if you multiply the pp charge by the minimum amount of people that's the night's minimum.  So in reality it's the same thing.

    If you give up a price range you're looking to pay and the mumber of people you're planning of having we can help you find a venue that fits into your budget.
     
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  • uppereastgirluppereastgirl member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Most sites aren't like that, but a few are (Liberty House and Crystal Plaza come to mind -- was it one of those?).  Most have minimums of some sort (usually number of guests), particularly on a Saturday night, and charge a certain amount per head, so while they may not say that they require $20,000 in revenue, you may not be able to have a wedding there for less than that.     

    I'd just come up with your guest list and either overall reception budget or per person budget, and figure out places that fit those criteria.  We can help you if you need suggestions, if you share what you're looking for.


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  • edited December 2011
    Most venues have a minimum based on amount of people but I have heard of some that do it by the dollar amount.

    Like uppereast said, you should figure out what you can afford and your price per person and then look at venues based on what you come up with.
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  • NJhousewife22NJhousewife22 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I guess that's why we had the shock. We did come up with a per person price range we wanted to spend and did the research of places that fit in that. The initial material we were given (Chart House) had NO mention of this kind of revenue minimum, so we were totally caught off guard our first time out. Hopefully our other appointments go smoother...we definitely went home a little discouraged tonight. 
  • edited December 2011

    Yes our venue was like that. We did look at the Chart House, it was in our top 2 choices but in the end went with a different venue.

  • edited December 2011
    Most places have this, they just won't say it outright. They'll tell you the per person and the minimum guarantee. That's how much they need to guarantee in a night
  • edited December 2011
    I went to a few places that said this. I actually didnt think it was bad, cause basically what they told me is its either you are paying x per head or if you have less guests, you are paying more per head, but getting more stuff thrown it. What they told me was they didnt really care how many guests I had, just that we spent enough to reach that minimum. I didnt pick a place like that, but it seemed kinda fair to me- better than paying for people who arent even coming and not getting anything for the money.
  • sgdc2011sgdc2011 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    A few places told me that.  It's basically the same as having a min number of guests you are still garanteeing them a certain price with that too.
  • StefaniBelStefaniBel member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Most of the places we visited gave us a price per person and them a minimum of people necessary for the room (the bigger the room, the higher the minimum of guest number).  So its like it was said before.  It ends up basically the same.

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  • edited December 2011
    I saw 10 venues and I feel like the pricing structure was the same, it was more so how they presented it that was different. For instance, if you go to a place that says 150 min guarentee and it's $100 pp - that would be $15k. Another place may present that same package as a $15k revenue min. 

    I would figure out your estimated guest list and figure out your total budget for the reception - that way when you go to the other venues you will be armed with an approximate per person range and the total rev range and can work off of that. Also - don't be affraid to negotiate the price. We found that many places were willing to work with our budget. Good luck :)
  • edited December 2011
    I had a friend who got married a the Chart House this past Sept, and loved this.  Loved the fact that they knew how much the reception was costing them, no matter what.  And they had the option, that if they did not have enough people, to add things onto their menue and cocktail hour.
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  • edited December 2011
    It's all a sham......

    If you notice.....some places don't publish their rates, they basically draw everything out on a piece of paper for you.

    Well what they are doing is eyeing you up, trying to make what they can offer, fit into what your needs are.  They will ask you what kinds of things you want....sitdown, buffet,etc, ceremony on site,etc, and then ask how many people you have......

    Basically they charge as little as they can and as much as they can get away with......

    It's not rocket science, it's business.......they probably have a certain amount of profit % per plate in the grand sceheme of things, and to make the business profitable they have to sell XX plates per weekends.  Putting it as a dollar minimum is a crude way of dealing with it.....but basically they need a per plate fee with a minimum number of people.  Typically the  less plates you have the more per plate, and the more plates you have, they can charge you less. 

    So saying, we need to clear 20K  on a saturday night is just another way of looking at it.  Your job is to negotiate the most plates into that 20K as you can!
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  • edited December 2011
    Ive seen it done at the places Uppereast had mentioned, all the other places we checked out was just p/person
  • uppereastgirluppereastgirl member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    It *is* all a sham, as User notes.  I always think about the two Knottie brides who got married at the same venue around when I got married... one paid around $200 per person for a Saturday night in August, and one paid less than $100 per person for an early spring Sunday afternoon.  Same food, same service, same drinks, same extras -- but the price difference was $100 per person just because of the time of the wedding.  People can argue all they want about how wonderful the food is at that venue and how top of the line everything is and that's why they charge $200 per person, but really the venue is able to make a profit while charging people only $100 per person, so they're probably spending not very much at all on the ingredients that go into the huge cocktail hour, viennese and four course meal.  Which is probably true everywhere, but it is a little more transparent in venues with huge price ranges.

    And as User pointed out, you can really make a flat rate well worth it -- just invite every single person you know :)
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  • edited December 2011

    We looked at a lot of venues in the Hudson/Bergen county area.
    The Chart House was the only one that had a $ minimum.

    The W in Hoboken, The Westin in Jersey City, and Waterside all had a minimum guest number based on the night of the week but all of them came down on their minimums when we asked.

    As other posters have mentioned there is A LOT of room for negotiation when booking a venue. Come up with a budget and when you meet with different venues tell them I have $x.xx to spend on XX people and see what they come up with.

    You will be shocked by how much some of the places you see will come down in price.


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  • NJhousewife22NJhousewife22 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think our shock mostly came from feeling like we were initially mislead by the information sheet we were given that listed a per person price (that fit in with our budget and guest # that we had provided to them PRIOR to our meeting) that said one thing, and then got hit by a number double that amount at the in person meeting and we started to panic that our meetings with other venues were going to go the same way. We were also turned off by the fact that despite giving them our date TWICE before the in person meeting and having someone tell us it was available, when we arrived at the in person meeting we were told it WASN'T available. I think we just left this particular meeting disappointed and it lead us down the road of feeling bad about our process. 
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