Unusual venue negociation

Hello brides and brides-to-be,

I'm hoping for a bit of advice and wondering if anyone has encountered a similar situation to me....

We have just got engaged and are planning on getting married in July/August 2014. My other half and I want a very relaxed country garden type wedding and have been looking at private residence rentals where you can exclusively hire a cottage or farmhouse for a whole weekend to do with as you please.

I have fallen absolutely head over heels for one in Surrey but they have two very different hire fees - the 'weekend hire rate' which is £3,500...and the 'wedding weekend hire rate' which is £10,500! The 'wedding' price is far too much for us when essentially you still have to do everything else yourself (catering, booze, ceremony, decoration, etc) as it's more or less a blank canvas. The only difference they seem to offer with the wedding package is one extra night (3 instead of 2), covering over the pool so you can use that room as a reception room, tables and chairs, uplighting the grounds, someone to staff a bar and porta-loos. I am struggling to see how these few things (which I either don't need or could bring in myself) can equate to £7,000 more!

I am hoping that some of you might be able to offer some advice on how best to approach negociations with this venue. We are hoping to visit the venue this week and would like to have my haggling tactics planned out before then so I'm ready to make decisions on the spot (I have already seen venues I liked that are booked for next year so I'm keen to move fast). As it's not a regular wedding venue and more of a holiday rental, I'm not sure whether to approach them as a bride straight off the bat? Should I find out why the wedding price is so much more before I go to visit? Or should I see it first and then find out if there is room for negotiation?

Thank you in advance for any help and advice you can offer. I really want to be able to play this right! I'd be gutted to miss out on it.

Laura x

PS. I haven't yet heard back from the venue yet to find out if it is available, so there is a chance she comes back tomorrow with a 'sorry, fully booked'






  • If you want something completely different but cheaper for the weekend (fri-sun)

    We offer our land and our  catering for you and your guests to camp and erect your own Marquee.

    we are in Kent 10 minutes from Jc 5 off the M25.

  • DrBridezillaDrBridezilla Posts: 1,018
    Laura, it does sound like an obsessive jump in fee!! I'm no expert but I would tell them exactly what you said above - that you could get all those things in yourself much cheaper. You can get bars for free!!

    They may say the need more as there will be more pple than usual, presumably, so more wear and tear, water usage etc... They may provide a member of staff who looks over everything, might not be mentioned in the package if they are there to protect the property rather than help you!! It's always useful to think of what they will come back with...

    If 2 nights is 3500, the per night price would make 3 nights 5250 so I'd use that as a haggling tool... Have a look online and work out how much it would cost to sort each of the things they include and add a bit as I've found most companies have a few secret charges like set-up fees that they don't list on the website.

    Depending on how much you want it, if you can give them a price you're happy with and if they say no, walk away saying you simply can't afford it. They'll usually come back with at least a chunky discount , if not the price you want!

    Hope some of that helps! X
  • A lot of it will cover insurance and possible damage to property having lots of alcohol induced people there image . And tbh they probably charge that much in july / august because they can !! Its peak holiday and wedding season and it will cancel out quiet weekends when they are not booked up
  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Thanks for your help. They are available which is a good start (although perhaps would have saved me some stress/emotion if they had just been booked up!). I'm thinking we'll go visit it and then sit down with the venue manager afterwards and see if we can cut things out to get the price as far down as possible. I don't think I'll mention it before we go as we may find that we don't like it as much as we think we do. I do worry that they'll think we're wasting their time though visiting a venue that we can't afford unless they heavily discount it....

    All very scary! I used to work for an events company (but not as a planner myself) so I have knowledge and contacts on some things, but not much confidence with negotiating. I'm useless at haggling when we go on holiday!

    It's also quite tricky working out how far we can stretch the venue budget as we've not yet heard back from caterers to have an idea how much that will cost us. If we can save in other areas we may be able to stretch more, but it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

    Fun and games all this budgeting business!


    L xx

  • I don't understand why you're telling them its for a wedding. Just don't mention it.
  • If the ceremony is being held there you will need to tell them for licensing etc .

    I was tempted to not mention weddings when booking our reception venue as technically we would already be married abroad so its just a partyimage .

    Now weve changed it to a wedding over here i dont have any choice !
  • We have hired a house that is let as a holiday home for our wedding. We are paying no more than it would normally cost, although we are payign a slightly higher deposit. I would just tell them that you do not want all of these extras that come with the expensive package, so would it cost te same as 3 nights? Then haggle from there. I used a website called ownersdirect, and then just phoned people asking whether they would consider letting us use it as a venue for the wedding. The place we have hired has never held a wedding other than for the family, so it is worth trying. Good luck!

  • Carly57Carly57 Posts: 682

    Laura, my job is as an events manager and i still hate the negotiating bit, it's just against our British nature!

    However, my OH seems to actually enjoy it so I've def been learning a trick or two. With our venue (it's a farm type place but still a fairly conversional per head package), we started with cutting bits out of the package which we didn't need, which lowered the per head cost by a tenner. My OH then asked straight out for a discount, he explained that we really liked the venue, it was our preferred choice, but was a bit out of budget. He said to tell him if we were being too cheeky, but would it be possible to get a discount... the manager then reduced it by another £5 per head for no other reason but we asked!

    He did the same on rings and got us about 15% off. I ordered some bespoke cuff links for his wedding gift yesterday and was so proud to achieve a small discount by following his example image

    He believes that they know their profit margins, or in your case they know what they can get for renting out their house and they won't give you a price that makes them a loss. Don't threaten that you'll go elsewhere if they don't reduce it as it then looks like you were playing a game if you end up taking it anyway!

    When we looked at doing a similar thing we were thinking of asking the guests to contribute to the cost if they were staying over - working out a kind of 'hotel room' price... though this wouldn't get you very near to £7000!

    Good luck with it and don't worry about them thinking you're wasting time, if they offer a wedding package, they need to expect people to look and negoatiate before making a decison so you won't be unusual!

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Hi everyone, and thank you all for your advice.


    We had a very interesting viewing today and I must admit it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It was very pretty but was missing something and felt a little tired. It certainly doesn't warrant the £7,000 extra for a wedding celebration. We'll keep it as a backup option (if they'll budge on price) but I don't think it will be the one for us. Hard to tell though as we've only seen a couple so far and they were so different to one another!


    The search goes on.....!


    L xx

  • Might not be what you are after and apologies if not but have you tried Great Tangley Manor in Wonnersh or Brewerstreet Farmhouse in / near Reigate also Gatton Hall (part of The Royal Alexandra and Albert school in reigate) is stunning, the room opens on to a stone terrace with views over a lake!  Just a couple of ideas and places we looked at. Hope it helps xx

  • laurapjlaurapj Posts: 726

    Hi Jennie,


    That is super helpful, thank you so much. None of them had come up on my search and a couple really look like they're worth looking at.

    Your insider knowledge is much appreciated!

    L xx

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