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South Asian Weddings

Negotiating venue minimums

The venues we're looking at right now have minimums that are a bit higher than the number of guests we're expecting (we expect around 270 and the Princeton Westin & Hyatt require 300). Has anyone negotiated down minimums in other venues? Any tips for doing so (for example, offering to hold & pay for an additional event like a brunch the next day). Any advice or tips would be much appreciated!

Re: Negotiating venue minimums

  • Although I've never come across this issue, it seems worth trying.  But I'm not sure booking a separate brunch will actually be cheaper for you than just paying for an extra 30 people.  
    When you say you expect 270, I assume that means 270 are certainly (or as certainly as anyone can ever tell) attending, not invited.

    Most venues don't just charge a per-person price, but maybe a rental fee, server fees, etc.  You've already paid those for the reception, whereas if you book a second event, you will pay those again.  On the other hand, if you are planning to hold multiple large events anyway, your venue may negotiate on the per-person cost.
  • Definitely try negoitating. We negoitiated with our venue and unfortunately, did not negoitiate low enough. Go low as you think possible. Every bride thinks that most people will show up, but we had so many people back out at the end and our counts ended up being much lower than we expected. If you're planning on inviting 250/300, see if you can have the minimum be around 200. You can always pay for the extra people and the venue won't need the official number until much later in the process. 

    Good luck!
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  • Thanks for the suggestions.  We were able to negotiate one venue down to 250, so we're going with that one. I think it helped that we were getting some add-ons like extra time & additional events, so the hotel felt like it would be getting enough revenue even though our wedding was a bit smaller than what they usually seem to require.  We are planning to invite 300-350, but didn't want to commit to a minimum that high since you can never tell what the RSVPs will add up to.
  • Hi, I recently got married at a NJ venue and they told us the min for the ballroom was 300.  They would absolutely not negotiate the per person price or the min number initially, but we got a bunch of extras thrown in (i.e. chair covers, extra dessert platter, tea/coffee during the ceremony).  We invited close to 500 people and our final number was only 280.  If you plan on only inviting 300-350, I wouldn't count on more than approx 60% showing up (even though tons of people will insist that they won't miss it) plus some leeway for last minute cancellations.  We had signed the contract for 300 but when we realized that it would be closer to 280, we were able to pay just for the 280 if we agreed to do away with the extra dessert platter (which we were totally okay with since we already had wedding cake plus 2 other indian desserts as part of our package).  Good luck!
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