Just Said Yes June 2021

Administrative Fees, Minimum Guest Requirements, & More!

Victoria, on October 15, 2019 at 6:13 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 12
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I'm only 2 months into the planning process for my summer 2021 wedding and I was hoping for some wedding wisdom!

I've looked at ~200 wedding venues at this point all across the upstate NY area and I noticed a fair about of venues (particularly those trendy barns and decked-out tents) have outrageous site fees- from $5k to over $10k!! I eliminated those locations right off the bat as I'm trying to keep my budget in check, and I can't blow 25-50% of my budget just to be on the property!! Right?!

For those with my reasonable site fees (mostly just for the ceremony), I then uncovered the 20% administrative fee, which defiantly takes a bit bite out of my small budget. Not to mention 8% taxes. I was considering trying to shave my guest list down, but the real kicker, is most of these places have a 100 minimum! And I was looking to have 80 people MAX!

Where do I go from here? Is anyone experiencing the same thing?? Please send help!! Smiley cry


  • W-K
    Super October 2019
    W-K ·
    • Flag
    I ran into the same things. Try non traditional places like restaurants, Rec centers, and parks. Some you may need to bring in catering but you’d have more flexibility in your budget.
    • Reply
  • Cristy
    Rockstar May 2020
    Cristy ·
    • Flag

    Public parks, beaches, VFW Halls, community centers are all places that should cost less overall. They come with their own challenges though. Example: public park only costs $200 for the day, but you have to rent EVERYTHING that you'll need for a ceremony and reception (tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, flatware, linens, etc.) so it might not be as cost effective as a venue that comes with all that.

    There are also non-traditional places where people get married, like museums, libraries, art galleries, restaurants. Often times, when you search for "wedding venues" all you get is the most expensive "traditional" places. Try searching more broadly, for "event venues." Sometimes eliminating the word "wedding" is all you need to get better pricing.

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  • Jocelyn
    Devoted December 2019
    Jocelyn ·
    • Flag

    Are these location offering a food package? My venue (im in florida) charged us 20% for the service fee and 7% for taxes and we are doing the ceremony plus reception there. Thank fully they had a food and beverage package for 75 and under for us to choose since we have only 50 people. Most venues that have all inclusive packages have a required guest count. If they are offering food, cake, ceremony, reception, and ect it might not be a bad price when broken down by individual vendors. Just look to see what you are getting with the venue. Maybe look into evening halls, community banquet rooms or restaurants with banquet rooms. Good luck, maybe look into parks that have areas to rent and bring in your own vendors.

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  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    Ugh yea it's all awful. At that point I would get full quotes from everyone and compared to see how much the costs are fully loaded and with minimums
    • Reply
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    • Flag

    Yes, this is the norm, especially for Saturday weddings or weddings during peak season. You could look at Friday or Sunday (or week day) or non-peak dates as a way to save money too. However, the "guest" minimum is usually actually a "money" minimum.

    • Reply
  • Andrea
    Expert May 2020
    Andrea ·
    • Flag
    The venues that I found to be the best deal (Chicago suburbs) were the ones that were all inclusive. Our venue package included our food, alcohol, cake, all decoration, linens, chivari chairs and ceremony space. We do have a minimum of $7,750 but with the upgrades we added we will hit that less than 75 people. Everywhere had a service charge of 20-22% and a 7.5% tax as well so I think that’s pretty standard.
    Having to bring catering, bar etc etc in wouldve cost us a lot more. Most budget breakdowns say your venue/food/drink should be about 40-50% of your budget. I’d definitely try to find an all I clu dove place. Saves a lot of stress and hassle too of interviewing multiple extra vendors!
    • Reply
  • Danielle
    Savvy August 2021
    Danielle ·
    • Flag
    Hi..I'm getting married at bear mountain inn 2021 it was the best bang for our buck..everything is included even the me we noticed alot of the same things you were place charged an hourly rate for the bar.
    • Reply
  • Future Mrs. Danger
    Expert November 2019
    Future Mrs. Danger ·
    • Flag
    Have you considered a destination wedding?
    • Reply
  • Megan
    Super November 2020
    Megan ·
    • Flag
    If you’re willing to go with these typical vendors that have minimums, you can always go with them and then upgrade certain things or have food or drink stations to make up the monetary difference for only having 80 people.
    • Reply
  • Jasmita
    Savvy July 2020
    Jasmita ·
    • Flag
    Im about 2 months into planning my summer 2020 wedding. I had some words of advice from my soon to be sister-in-law that I found very helpful. She had her wedding at her house as they have a large property. After marquee rental costs, chairs, deco, dance floors etc. They ended up paying more that what most of the venues are charging now and she had hers 5 years ago. Additinaly my soon to be mither- in- law also noted the amt of work that went in to the planning and task completion ( like wrapping hundreds of silverware sets etc). For these reasons adjusted my budget and decided to spend more. This way I hope to relax on my wedding day and not be exhausted ( and stressed) along with my guests and new family. (Although I will be working a whole bunch now to pay for the increase in costs Smiley smile )
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    I agree with pps about looking at restaurants/inns/hotels, especially if you can be flexible about the date, and potentially the day of the week. Niece had a beautiful wedding at a historic inn in the Fingerlakes region, on a Friday night, with 50 guests. I'm sure it wasn't inexpensive, but it was mostly all-inclusive for both the ceremony & reception, so at least most of her costs were clearly bundled and she knew exactly what they were going to be, and there was virtually no "work" for her in terms of set-up or take-down. Good luck!

    Also, her flowers were all from Wegman's, and they were GORGEOUS! (And, according to her, much less expensive that any of the quotes she got from traditional florists....)

    • Reply
  • Victoria
    Just Said Yes June 2021
    Victoria ·
    • Flag

    Wow! Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses and wonderful ideas! I'll be definitely expanding my scope into restaurants and other event venues! I agree that I will need to double-check that adding food, tables, chairs, etc. for venues that don't include these don't add up to be the same (or more haha)

    @Danielle, I will look at Bear Mountain Inn, that's in my target area!

    @MOB So Cal I LOVE Wegman's thank you for the tip!

    I'm very grateful for all of your time Smiley heart

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