How Some Wedding Venues Trick You into Their Venue

Morning friends! I’m so happy that it’s Friday and the weekend is here, I’ll be filming a wedding in Blacksburg with my daughter, Juliana, eekkk!!! So Stoked!

So today I wanted to talk to you about wedding venues and how some of them might seem like a great idea to get into them, but once you do you see the ‘real’ cost of why the venue is the way it is. What I mean by that is the price. While many offer great rates for locking you into their venue, some have this hidden agenda to force you to spend many times more than what you paid.

So today, I’m going to share with you that information and how best you can avoid overspending at these venues.

That Amazing Deal

Seems too good to be true, you’re going to spend a couple of thousand bucks for the venue. You’ve been looking everywhere, and it seems that the $3,000-$6,000 venues are out there all day long, but you want to save some money and so you look for a cheaper alternative.

Then, you FINALLY find it the perfect venue in SWVA. It has everything that you’re looking for, the amenities, the view, that perfect location and best of all, it’s cheaper than just about everywhere else!


So, you lock it in, and you are set! But wait a minute, why- why would that venue be so cheap to begin with, what’s the catch? Well yes, there is a catch.

What you’ve just fallen for is the old classic ‘add-on’ sales tactic and it’s designed to lock you in so you can spend for the real money maker. In the case of some wedding venues in our area as well as across the nation, catering.

See some catering businesses over the last 20 years have developed a model for making more money that you would have if you choose a more expensive venue and it has to do all within the catering pricing, well overcharging.

The Food is How Much?!?

Here’s how it works. You book the venue but when you do you MUST use their catering and there is not another alternative. But the catering prices per head are far more than many others charge in the area, sometimes two-four times as much.

Take a $4,500 wedding venue.

You’re looking at the venue and while it costs a bit of money, you have the ability to hire all the other vendors that you want. So you spend that $4,500 for the venue then hire a catering company with a price of $35 per head for the dinner service. Let’s say you have 100 people at your wedding, so that’s $3,500.

Between the venue and the catering your spending a respective $8,000.

That’s a good chunk of change.

But wait, you could have chosen the $1,900 wedding venue and it’s equally as capable for your needs. Great, you just saved $2,600!! Woot!

Oh, then comes the catering company that you have to use and they charge $80 per plate on that same number of people. Same dinner, same types of foods, same service. $8,000 for catering and $1,900 for the venue. $9,900 for the venue and the catering.

Venue & Catering

A $1,900 difference in equal venues, food, and services

Wait, why is it more expensive?

Well, it’s about control. If you control the venue, own it or have an exclusive agreement with the owners, then you can basically set your pricing and rake in the cash. Since the venue and the catering company are either owned by the same people or they have that exclusive agreement, it’s guaranteed work and it brings in the revenue.

The bottom line, you spend more for the same foods, same services and same elements had you gone with another company. And they know it too.

If a company can lure you into their business model and then make more on the back-end of things, then they have you.

And it’s not just catering companies that do this, in fact many others inside and outside the industry do this too. Wedding video for example, some vendors will get you into their business model to upsell you later things that you really don’t need, wedding photographers many times will do this too.

When you look outside of the wedding industry, it happens at other places too, like when you buy a car. Say that $24,000 car you want becomes $22,000 through negotiations. Sure, you might get a little cash off the price of the car, but you will be forced to use their financing companies and many times you pay a percentage point or two higher, making back that money and many times doubling or tripling it over the cost of the loan.

Most people look at the monthly payment and not the entire cost of the car, well the same applies in venues that lock in catering, they want you to focus on the ‘savings’ on the venue and not so much on the overcharging for catering.

Listen, it’s not a sneaky way to do business as long as you understand that up front. Those business models aren’t bad, but you should be aware that many times over, you’ll pay more for the same level of service.

In my own business model, I offer many options if you will for wedding films. The difference is that you’re not locked in to use the services I provide, and I don’t really have anything to offer afterwards to upsell either.

What I Recommend

As a wedding vendor that’s been around since the 1990’s, I can tell you there are many ways to shift funds around to allow you to have everything that you want, you just have to be good at negotiations and knowing how to play the game too.

Many vendors don’t want you to understand that your funding can be shifted about so you can squeeze in a wedding videographer for example, they want to make as much as they can from you, I mean their in business, I get it.

But there is a fine line between making a profit and making so much profit from you that it hurts your wedding.

If you find a venue too good to be true or that states that you must use their exclusive vendor, ask them why. See if they own it or have an exclusive relationship. If they do, ask about the pricing and if it seems higher than normal, ask why.

I recommend doing your homework before locking into a venue that seems like a great deal.

Just because something might be more expensive doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal, in fact it could be exactly what you’re looking for and it could also save you money in the long run too.

My advice is to shop around before you book to see what the two prices would be there and at two other venues that you like too.

Most wedding venues are wonderful places to conduct business and many have great relationships with other vendors too. But a few will take advantage of you in order to maximizes their pockets with your money, so just be careful. Many times, you can get just as good services or even better services and pay slightly less in total.