She’s finding ways to cut back on wedding expenses, but the only solution she can think of is not disclosing to the restaurant that she’s celebrating a wedding to avoid paying wedding pricing.
Here’s The Gist
She and her fiancé are deeply in love and ready to get married. However, they faced a dilemma that many couples encountered — the high cost of hosting a traditional wedding. Though they've been together for a long time, they are getting legally married for health insurance and tax purposes and intend to host a small dinner party later in the year with their loved ones. But their budget is tight with a baby and a house renovation project. The couple had heard that mentioning the word “wedding” to vendors could lead to inflated costs.
They have already contacted a few restaurants to inquire about hosting a pared-down wedding dinner for 50-60 people. To their dismay, the cost estimates were still quite steep – around $7000-12,000. She’s wondering if it would be unethical or rude not to mention that the event was related to their marriage, especially since she planned to wear a white dress (albeit not fancy). Nevertheless, she can’t shake the feeling that they might be able to get a better deal if they kept the word “wedding” out of the conversation.
Redditor Cruciger volunteered that restaurants usually do different menus for group dining, with items that are easier to prepare simultaneously. It's not realistic to expect a normal menu. You also should be considering prices in terms of a 2-3 course meal rather than just a main, since your booking will take up that much time, you'll be expected to order that much food. Because it's a wedding that requires a semi-private area with a set food and beverage minimum, Redditors are of the opinion that the prices she is being offered are without any upcharges. To prove this, Redditor said that their rehearsal dinner was 60 people, semi-private, and ended up being around $7k for food and an open bar, and they used the same catering menu we would have for any large party.
What OP Must Do
Generally, users think it’s safer to be really clear with the restaurants you're talking to about what she actually wants! One Redditor made the following suggestions.
- Be clear that while you're celebrating a wedding, you're not looking for the traditional wedding experience. You don't need a cocktail hour, cake cutting, or custom cocktails. This is just a hosted meal with maybe some speeches.
- Specify that you want to do a sit-down meal and list the specific courses you want to include. Most hosted meals include appetizers, an entree, and desserts.
- Ask if they have an “event menu” that limits your guests' choices for each course or if your guests can order from the full menu. You may get some savings by offering a limited menu since it's much easier logistically for the restaurant.
- Ask if they allow you to bring in your own dessert and if any fees are associated. You may find that it's cheaper to bring in a special dessert, or it may be cheaper to include dessert as part of the restaurant menu. Remember to factor in delivery fees when calculating costs if you need to get your cake/cupcakes/pies/donuts delivered to the restaurant.
- Ask what your options are for purchasing drinks. There are a few common ways to handle drinks: 1) Unlimited: you'll pay a flat rate for each guest, and they can order whatever drinks they want for the duration of the event; this is expensive, but you don't have to think about it. 2) Consumption: Guests order whatever drinks they want, and you pay the bill at the end of the night. Ensure you trust your guests not to order a lot of top-shelf liquor or $300 bottles of wine. 3) You pre-select wine for the event and have a certain amount at each table. This will be your most economical option, but it gives guests less choice. Not all restaurants will offer all of these options, and you'll see variations, but there can be a huge cost difference.
- Depending on the size of the restaurant, they may require a certain minimum spend, a full buy-out, or a certain package for events. Remember that if they book your event, the restaurant is giving up the possibility of a more traditional (i.e., expensive) wedding on that same date. You'll save money by looking at dates/times that aren't popular for weddings or by looking at restaurants that cater more to corporate clients.
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