10 wedding venue costs you may not know about

Hidden costs at a wedding venue

Most wedding venues charge couples on a per-head basis, a cost that sometimes includes other perks such as free room hire. However, there are also, often, hidden costs that venues don’t advertise quite so openly, so it is a good idea to ensure you’re aware of these and check that they are included in your wedding package before you sign on the dotted line.

Here are 10 examples of hidden costs you may encounter when hiring a wedding venue:

Decor charges

While wedding venues are, generally, very clear about what is and what isn’t included when it comes to styling and décor, everything you add – or change - above and beyond their basic set-up will, likely, cost you, so if you’re asking the venue to use their hurricane lamps rather than their standard votive holders or to swap their normal linen for speciality linen, be sure to ask up-front if you will be charged for such a change and, if so, how much.

Cloakroom facilities

If you’re holding a winter wedding, your guests may need somewhere safe and dry where they can store their coats while they party. Many venues have a dedicated cloakroom that will need to be manned by at least one attendant for the duration of your reception. Find out whether you or your guests will be expected to pay for this, and what that cost will be. That way, either you can cover it or ensure guests know very clearly that there will be a charge associated with them storing their coats and other miscellaneous tid bits.

Carpark facilities

Most of your guests will, likely, arrive by car, so when checking that your venue has enough parking spaces for all of them, you will also need to find out whether there is a cost associated with those spaces. Many venues won’t charge guests for parking, but some definitely do. And, don’t’ forget that some venues may also offer valet parking, which won’t be free. In this case make sure you know the costs of this and warn your guests in advance.

10 hidden costs of a wedding venue

Sound and lighting equipment

If you are hiring a band or DJ for your wedding reception, the quote they give you will include their time and a certain amount of equipment. However, depending on the size of your wedding venue, additional speakers, microphones or amplifiers may be necessary to achieve a better quality of sound. Your venue probably already has these available but they may charge you for the set up and use of them. The same applies to any special lighting you may require during your wedding reception.

Store room

It is always useful to have a secure store room at your wedding venue for wedding gifts, bridal party gifts, your bouquet, and your luggage if you are heading straight off for your honeymoon. Your venue may offer a storeroom as part of your wedding package, but make sure this is stated in your venue contract – and ask if it will cost you anything.



Most wedding venues won’t allow you to bring your own alcohol, however, for those that do, it’s likely they’ll charge corkage, which is a price many restaurants and venues charge – per bottle – for any alcohol brought on their premises by customers. If you can get a good deal on wine and champagne outside of your wedding venue, this corkage charge may be considerably cheaper than buying from the venue direct. However, you should check what the corkage charge will be on each bottle as, depending on the cost, it may actually be cheaper to just purchase the venue’s own beverages.

Wedding hire transport

If you are hiring furniture to use at your wedding venue such as a marquee, chairs and tables, you will probably be quoted a hire price for these items. Some venues even charge for a dance floor! It is worth checking whether these hire costs includes delivery to the venue as they can be considerable and vary depending on what day of the week your wedding is on. For example, a marquee hired to be set-up and taken down on a weekend will incur higher labour costs and, therefore, higher hire fees, than it would if the wedding were to take place on a weekend. If you are choosing to hire furniture instead of using what is provided by your venue, make sure that they aren’t going to charge you for storing their own furniture.

Hidden wedding venue costs - cake cutting

Cake-cutting costs

It may not sound like a particularly expensive task, but many venues will charge you for the labour involved in slicing up your cake, serving it to your guests and then washing up everything afterwards. They may also charge you to hire a cake stand or that special bow-clad knife that you’ll cut the cake with, so make sure you ask about these costs upfront

Early or late access

Perhaps you want to get into your reception rooms a couple of hours early to decorate them, or maybe the reception is going so well that you want the party to continue for an extra hour or two. Check what the possibilities are with your venue and see how much they will charge you for additional access to the rooms or over-time costs as many sectors in the wedding industry do charge over-time costs.

Health and safety costs

Health and safety regulations may lead to hidden venue costs such as an onsite fire marshall, security staff, and liability insurance. Find out what is needed at your particular venue, and the number of guests you are having, as well as how you will be charged for these.

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