Roxanne Menzies, Wedding Team Champion
If you haven’t heard the term “minimums” yet in your wedding planning, we’re here to help you get ahead of the game! If you have, we hope to help you make sense of what you’ve been seeing as you venue shop. Here we’ll explain what a minimum is, why wedding venues have them and how ours may be different from many others you encounter in your search.
Is a 'Minimum Charge' Unusual?
Nope, they're an industry standard and if you do not see language about minimums included in your contract you should ask about the 'minimum' before you sign. As event professionals, we know that they're best practice as they protect you, the client, by keeping everything clearly signposted and us, as the venue, by making sure we can meet our overheads regardless of your personal wedding decisions.
So, what’s a 'Venue minimum'?
A minimum is a requirement that must be met for an event to take place on a certain date at a specific time. Minimums are commonly based on either a required minimum guest count or a minimum dollar amount that must be spent on food and beverage services. These minimum requirements are higher on high demand dates (Hello summer Saturdays!), while lower demand dates hold lower required minimums (Hmm… that Monday through Thursday could be a good idea after all!).
What does that mean for you? Well, if your venue has a minimum guest requirement of 150, you must pay for at least 150 guests even if only 130 guests RSVP. If your venue has food and beverage minimum of $15,000, you need to spend at least that amount on catering and bar services. Every venue is different, so it’s important to ask questions like “What services go toward the minimum?” and “What happens if we don’t reach the minimum?” You definitely want to have all the information before you commit.
You might be wondering why wedding venues do this… Well, we promise it’s not to 'nickel and dime' you. The simple reason is that, hey, we have a business to run! We need to pay our staff and vendors for the time, products and services they offer. We have to be sure we’re booking enough revenue to keep ourselves in business. However, since Wedgewood Weddings is all-inclusive, our minimums work a little differently. You actually have more flexibility with your guest count and you get more out of what you’re spending your money on.
What is Wedgewood Weddings' Approach to Minimums?
We refer to our minimum as a “revenue minimum” which means, it applies to all of the services we offer (except photography packages). Everything included in your Wedgewood Weddings package would go toward the minimum. If for some reason the package you choose falls below our revenue minimum, you get to add fun upgrades instead of putting your hard earned cash toward nothing at all. That means, maybe you can afford that grand sparkler moment or those gorgeous chairs you loved when you came for your tour.
Having a revenue based minimum also allows you to have any number of guests - as long as they all safely fit in our reception space! We typically do weddings with 30+ guests, but we’re happy to chat and create a plan if would like to celebrate with less attendees! Along with that, we take your last payment 10 days before your wedding based on your final guest count. So, even if only half of your original guest list agrees to come to your wedding, you only pay for that number of people. Yay!
Options like upgraded appetizers, an open bar, floral centerpieces, specialty lighting, or a donut wall can all help you meet the minimum if you need it. But keep in mind, most of our couples meet the minimum with no sweat!
Why Is a 'Revenue Minimum' Good?
A minimum is fair for everyone whether it's based on guest count or food services. What makes a revenue minimum better in our eyes, is that you can make sure your money is working to create the event you want. You have full scope to invite the guest count you truly want or add the enhancements you desire. And, you go into the process with your eyes open - you'll know the minimum before you secure your date.
You'll have noticed there are only 52 saturdays in the year and only a handful in summer - that means they're highly-desirable. Charging more for high-demand Saturdays means we can make say, a New England Tuesday in March more affordable. Being upfront about our venue minimum makes it easy for you to select a date that works for your budget. We lift the curtain on why certain dates cost more - it's as simple as supply and demand.