It’s natural to get a bit confused and even to forget details as you go through your wedding planning process especially if it’s been over a year since you’ve signed contracts and communicated with vendors and venues. As your planner, we’re here to remind you of the different details that you’ve have agreed to, as well as payments made and due. Sometimes, brides are caught up in the fluff of wedding planning. Their biggest concern is matching the flatware with the linen and making sure the centerpieces agree with the overall theme. Something that can be a tad bit confusing to clients and even forgotten about is the food and beverage minimums.
Food and beverage minimum: If you’re having your wedding in a banquet hall or some place that has a food and beverage minimum, it is important to understand what this is, and it is the responsibility of the person signing the contract to ask as many questions as possible to have a full comprehension of how this affects your wedding and guest count.
How does a food and beverage minimum work? Every venue is different, BUT typically, it works like this. Your venue is going to set a minimum amount that you MUST reach, more than likely, they have a menu for you to choose from at different prices. For example, the chicken menu will be $120 per person, and the Steak is $150 per person. Now, you can’t forget that you have a minimum to meet – let’s say your minimum is $24K . So, you complete your tasting with your venue which is usually about 60/30 days prior to your event, and you decide to go with the steak at $150 per person which is perfect. If you have 160 people, you’ve basically met your minimum. BUT as you get closer, you realize that you’re actually going to have 220 people and possibly 10 pending until two weeks from your wedding day. Well, now you owe the venue the difference for the additional persons. Let’s say you have less than 160, let’s say you have 100 people – well, because your minimum is 24K and even though you have less than anticipated, you’re still going to owe the balance to your venue.
Now there are venues that will give you options for not meeting your minimum, for example, they may upgrade your chairs, linen or offer a late-night snack to your guests so that in the end, you meet your requirements.
These are questions you have to make sure to ask before signing your contract. I see couples get flustered about this all the time and I think it’s important that couples take the time to really understand what their minimums are and what happens if they do not meet it.
What tends to happen is that people forget what they set as their minimum, they forget that they told the venue 150 persons when in actuality, they have 175 and sometimes, they even forget that they have to choose a menu in order to have a full price of what is due. All these details create a stressful and overwhelming moment for everyone, especially you, the couple.
My suggestion, during your initial meeting, have a list of questions, make sure you talk about your banquet minimum, ask about late fees on payments and monthly payments and most importantly, know what happens if you decide to go over your guest count.