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Frequent user July 2021 Ontario

Why are venues increasing their prices?

Tina, on May 26, 2020 at 09:27 Posted in Plan a wedding 0 6

I've seen a number of posts complaining about vendors increasing prices for postponing to next year, particularly venues. I just wanted to make a post highlighting some of the potential reasons why venues may be increasing their prices.

Note: I'm not a vendor. I run a non wedding-related venue (theatre space) and have spent many years working for restaurants. I think I have an interesting perspective wrt serving food and managing space.

First, the extra costs of just running a space. We're planning to add at least six sanitization stations in our two theatres, which will include: a small table, hand sanitizer, kleenex and a garbage bin with a liner and lid. Cleaning services will need to increase, and all cleaning staff will have PPE. This will include: masks, face shields, gloves, and coveralls. It's the employer's responsibility to provide this stuff. In addition to the costs of sanitization stations and additional PPE for cleaning staff, chances are venues will also need additional staff to ensure physical distancing is being respected. This is just the beginning of what venues will have to do.

We will need to purchase UV sanitizers (at a few hundred dollars each) or steamers to clean all our seats. When a venue may have to do this 2-3 times per weekend, it adds a huge amount of staff hours. UV sanitizers take 2-3 minutes per area and if you have to do a few hundred chairs between events, that's a LOT of time spent.

For food service, it gets even more complicated. If you're planning a buffet or family-style, I suggest you revisit your plans. These options are cheaper because guests share food service items - serving spoons, tongs, etc. No more hors d'oeuvres stations - they'll all likely have to be passed, with the servers placing the food item on each guest's plate/napkin. This will require more serving staff. Self-serve punch? Nope. (There's a video out there from Japan showing 10 people at a buffet where they used UV paint to show how many people got "germs" on them after 30 minutes. It was enlightening.

Dishwashing. This is something no one ever thinks about. Have you ever been in a restaurant's dish washing area? Spray is EVERYWHERE! I'm not sure how restaurants and food venues are going to deal with it, but it's a major problem when trying to limit the amount of germs flying through the air. It's possible that dishware and flatware will all be disposable ($&dollarSmiley winking.

Food costs are DEFINITELY going to go up. There are already shortages and I'm not sure how much worse it's going to get. This is an excellent article by a Calgary brew pub on the challenges of a restaurant opening: (it's kinda long, but worth the read).

Now, I'm not trying to be alarmist, but I am pragmatic. "Hope for the best and plan for the worst" kind of thinking. Venues are trying to set their pricing rapidly with EXTREMELY limited information. Think about how much things have changed just in the past couple of months. Now try to plan for a year from now without losing money on every contract. Now do that while knowing that you're not going to make any money this year. No, it's not the couple's fault that everything's gone haywire, but nor is it the vendor's fault. And I'm not saying there aren't vendors out there who aren't treating their clients badly, because there are. I guess I just made this post to offer a bit of insight that your average bride and groom might not know about. Thanks for coming to my TED talk Smiley smile


Latest activity by Tina, on June 13, 2020 at 21:41
  • Tina
    Frequent user July 2021 Ontario
    Tina ·
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    And it's the venue's fault they lost the ENTIRETY of their annual revenue?

    How much money do you think venues actually make? Most of these companies aren't multi-million dollar businesses. They're family-owned small-businesses, like your florist or photographer, or planner. These are real people who are trying to salvage what they can of their livelihood. Your response is entirely lacking in empathy and is focused on you, alone.

    If you're talking about a Mariott Hotel or something, then I can see your perspective. But many venues aren't and it's those that I was speaking about. I'm sorry if it wasn't clear.

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  • Ashley
    VIP August 2020 Ontario
    Ashley ·
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    I understand that the price goes up however i think they make enough money to give a break to devastated couples. its not our fault we had to choose another date therefore we shouldnt have to pay the increased price. venues make TONS of money. theres no reason they cant help the couple out in a time of crises.

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  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
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    Excellent points made for venue increasing prices. The other way I see it is the contracts with most businesses apart from venues do indicate Change without Notice on their part every year because of their services changing with upgrades or plans. Venues in this case look at their cost covered raised by 8-10% for food/alcohol/reception hall and wedding set up. Extras costs can incur of the other areas they may offer.

    When we booked the venue back in 2016, the venue offered $110 per person for Friday & Sunday wedding. Room rates varied on number of people staying too. 2017, the price for rooms went up by $10 each.

    Its hard enough to budget for one day event without knowing what price increases will come upon postponing dates or cancellation. Even in this time of uncertainty, the savings seems tight to even know may happen if any health or family issues come to use from the wedding money.

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  • Hank
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Hank ·
    • Dispute

    I totally understand where you're coming from, and I think if venue operators are being transparent about the costs, there would be much less negative feedback.

    For example, there is no justification other than greed when a company like byPeterandPauls force someone to spend $25,000 in addition to whatever new annual price you want to subject them to just so they can rebook their wedding when the world had shut down. They only backed down because of negative media attention but even then, they ate $20K deposit from a children's charity.

    If venues can't honour 2020 pricing, the client should be given an option to withdraw without financial penalty. The summer of 2020, and potentially the fall and winter, is a write off. That's a fact. That's why there are government subsidies in place for businesses and those who are laid off. There's already an insane demand for next year, you don't need your 2020 clients to fill the hole for 2021. Seeing some businesses' attempt to fatten their pockets by refusing refunds of sizable deposits when they can't honour the contract is just shameful.

    That being said, a good number of wedding venues do make quite a killing on food and everything is marked up to the ceiling. Think about how some places, like Peter and Pauls, or certain hotels are charging you $50 or more for a chicken breast dinner! Now multiply that by 100, 200, or 300. Tack on a venue fee to cover building maintenance and a gratuity or service charge to cover your staff. That same chicken dinner would probably cost you no more than $20 including tax and tip at a typical restaurant.

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  • Tina
    Frequent user July 2021 Ontario
    Tina ·
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    Our venue's food prices went up 8%-10% which I find totally reasonable. Most venues increase their prices by that amount year over year anyway. They offered us a date before April 2021 with no cost increase, but that didn't work for us but I thought it was generous on their part anyway.

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  • Amelia
    Master October 2020 New Brunswick
    Amelia ·
    • Dispute
    I think this is a great breakdown of where some of the added costs are coming from. Thanks for sharing!

    We were very fortunate that our venue cost didn't increase, but if it had I would have appreciated a breakdown of at least part of the reasons why. It does seem like a lot of folks on here are getting a higher bill without much of an explanation.
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