Finally got round to looking at some venues yesterday!
Just a quick question does everywhere add 12.5% service charge??
I thought this was more of a discretion than a requirement?
Congratulations SuperExcited. I see you're quite new here! Welcome
Some venues do add a service charge but most of them don't in my experience. (In Scotland anyway.) Sometimes this is discretionary (and non VATable) and if so it will be clearly marked as such.
Generally speaking, any option service charge is normally a tip for staff, and non optional is just a sneaky way to make your quote look cheaper. In that case the venue keeps the service charge and uses it towards business expenses.
Our venue places a 10% discretionary service charge on the wedding bill, then this amount is spilt equally between the chefs and waiters at the end of the night. Nobody ever refuses to pay it. If you were not to pay it in this case it's possible that the staff would be a little upset, or think that they hadn't done a good job! I would ask the venues exactly what happens to it, and if you're not satisfied with the answer, negotiate.
Hope this helps?