The 50% budget rule for wedding venues

Booking More Weddings At Your Venue

Booking More Weddings At Your Venue

As an independent wedding planner working with couples right from the outset of their wedding planning and putting the puzzle together, the budget question flags up early on and is key to setting the framework of what we do.  As wedding venues selling your places and spaces, the overall wedding budget might not be something you necessarily need to know if you leave the bulk of the detailed planning to your couples but some knowledge of general wedding budgets can be very useful to you in matching your clients needs better (and building a more loyal supplier base) so here’s the low-down:

50% of the wedding spend should go to a combination of venue hire & food/drink.

This leaves the remaining 50% for all other elements of the wedding planning for the day.   I use this as a very reliable “rule of thumb” for the calculation of all of my wedding budgets, no matter how big or small.  So if a couple intends to spend £40,000 on their wedding day overall (note: day, not including honeymoon), then they should allow no more than £20,000 of the budget to venue hire and food and drink, that might usually be made up of around £8,000 for the venue, £12,000 for the catering or something similar based on say £100 per head for 120 guests for food/drink. As a venue you should be aware of just how much has to go into the remaining £20,000 from clothing to flowers to stationery, to transport, cake, photographer and film, music and entertainment, production and furnishings and more.

Budget rule for wedding venues | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Whilst every couple will make different choices (and may increase their budget slightly as the planning advances), as a general guide for 120 guests on the £40,000 budget level, they would typically need to spend:

On Photography – from £2,500

On Flowers – from £2,500

On Live Music – from £2,500

With a £40,000 overall budget, we often find that there isn’t much room for the luxury extras, such as sophisticated production and hired furnishings or a fully paid cash bar. A wedding film might be a luxury for the very keen on film rather than a necessity for example.

Budget rule for wedding venues | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Do you know what your clients spend on their weddings overall?

Whilst it’s more awkward for you as a venue to ask than for an independent planner, it can be done. Particularly if you want to offer them an in-house planning or co-ordination service.

Even if you seek less specifics and more general stats, do you conduct surveys of your past clients, where you can add some budget questions in? You can then obtain your own venue-specific information on what your customers are spending.

Budget rule for wedding venues | Kelly Chandler Consulting

And what is the point you might ask? How can you use this budget information to your best advantage in serving your clients?

By having some idea of their budget, you can direct them to the best suppliers at the most suitable price point to meet their needs.  Couples are often very time short and your recommended supplier list can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Whilst some wedding professionals are able to adjust what they provide according to budget, there are quite a few companies who have minimums, appeal to a luxury budget and more, so be sure to ask your supplier partners of typical and guideline pricing for the sort of services a client would choose at your venue and see if you think it’s a good match.

Budget rule for wedding venues | Kelly Chandler Consulting

I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be choice and I find a difference in spending with clients from one area to another depending on their personal priorities, so you need to have an interesting range of suppliers on your list. But the smart money is on your team knowing which company to recommend for which client.

Your suppliers will be a lot happier with the relationship if they are getting the “right” enquiries coming their way and your couples will be much more satisfied and less anxious and worried if they’re seamlessly referred to the “right” suppliers that tick their boxes.  The added bonus of delving more into couples budgets is you’re able to look at gaps or products & services which are perhaps desirable but outside of budget and these could be items you look to bring into your venue offering either as a new “included” but highly desirable feature or as a very popular paid-for ad-on.

Budget rule for wedding venues | Kelly Chandler Consulting

I hope you’ve found this useful. I talk a lot more about managing the venue/supplier relationship effectively in my evening workshops and one-day training sessions – take a look here for the next dates coming up.

Image credits:
Wedding Fund Jar – SHUTTERSTOCK // Bride & Groom Piggy Banks – HITCHED // Cake Topper Couple & Coins – HITCHED // Piggy Bank Coin Heart – HITCHED // B&G Standing on Coins – WEDDINGS BY ZOE // Money Notes – // Woman-using-calculator1 – My Nigerian Wedding Directory // Bride with Piggy Bank – Brides on Budgets // Carli+Alex B&W Images – Hang The Moon // CARLI & ALEX WEDDING – Pippa Mackenzie

Kelly Chandler Wedding Consulting helps property and land owners thrive by generating profit from hosting weddings. Kelly and team offer specialist private consulting and group training programmes.

Kelly is a well-respected go-to expert in the business of weddings with a unique grasp of both wedding customer expectations and a host venue's commercial needs.

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