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Food and Cakes

Negotiating - per person cost

Just was curious to see how many people were able to negotiate the listed per person price for their venue/food/alcohol and by how much? I wanted to see what was realistic when going to meet with venues. Thanks for the help!

Re: Negotiating - per person cost

  • In my experience the per person cost is pretty much set in stone, but you can usually work your way into add-on's for free (free champagne toast, additional appetizer, steeply discounted price for kids, a bottle or two of your favorite high-end liquor for no extra charge for guests etc).
  • A lot depends on the following:

    - how popular the venue is: if they don't have to worry about finding another couple to book at full price, they may be set in stone
    - Time of year: venues are much more willing to negotiate during slower wedding times, like Nov-March, because fewer people book weddings then.
    - having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday means they will be more flexible.

    I do think it is possible to negotiate the "per person" price, but you have to give up something. For example, if the per person price includes appetizers, but that's not really important to you, they may drop the price by $3-$4 per person, since that's what some places charge for apps to be ADDED.

    Also, if the set price per person includes 2 entree selections, say a beef and chicken choice, ask how much they'd reduce the price for just one entree.

    They won't negotiate because you can't afford them..........they may make adjustments but you'll be giving something up. I have also found in every area of my life, simply give them the bottom line per person cost you can afford. Say it's $45 per person, understanding they will tack on fees like gratuities, taxes, etc, and simply ask "What can you do for that price?".
  • I actually was able to tell my venue how much I wanted to spend total, and per person, and what I wanted to be included. They worked within that budget (waiving the room rental fee, doing house liquor instead of premium liquor) and we came within a few dollars of my prefered price per head. But the manager was also the head chef, and the venue does 1 event per day on the weekends, so he had the ability to be really flexible. Something like a major hotel chain where you're only speaking with an event coordinator who works for the venue probably won't have as much room to negotiate. My venue had a minimum for Saturdays, but we were married on a Sunday, so it didn't apply.
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  • I've had SO many vendors tell me, "we can work with you on price" when I've told them I am firm in my pricepoint, and then chase after me with offers of eliminating the venue fee or throwing in top shelf for the price of standard.

    I'm firm in price point and ready to walk away; I haven't had to haggle because they come after me. Just tell them you're not paying beyond X and if they can accomodate that, awesome; if not, thank you anyway :-)
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  • I was able to get my venue down about 4.50 a head. I didn't have to eliminate anything and actually got them to swap out chair covers and sashes and give me chiviari chairs for reception and since I'm doing a beach front ceremony, my per person also includes ceremony chairs and set up. It doesn't hurt to ask. Ask for everything you want, then go from there. Good luck.
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