The True Cost of a Wedding Venue: Expenses to Consider When Booking a Venue

When it comes to finding the perfect venue in your budget, the true cost of a wedding venue can quickly add up. The rental fee for the venue is only one of the expenses related to a wedding venue. You’ll also have to think about food and alcohol, rentals, and cleaning fees. We recommend that your venue AND your food and beverage costs be no more than half of your overall budget. With that being said, let’s dive into the true cost of a wedding venue to help you stick to your budget.

Location of the Wedding Venue

When you’re looking for wedding venues, it’s important to consider the location. There are several questions to ask yourself before booking. Will your guests be able to drive to the venue or will you need a shuttle for them? Shuttles can add up quickly and it’s an added cost many people don’t anticipate. Plus, you’re not only paying for the driving time. You’ll also have to pay for the time the drivers are waiting during your wedding. 

Some other questions to ask pertain to how much your guests will have to travel. You’ll want to consider if there are accommodations nearby especially if you have guests traveling from out of town. How far is the airport? Will you be reserving hotel blocks or arranging transport to and from the airport? These are all additional costs you’ll want to think about before choosing a venue.

Finally, you’ll also have to consider your vendors. Are they local? If not, they may charge a travel fee. Vendor travel fees could include a fee to cover the time they’re traveling along with mileage, accommodations, and meals. These fees can add up if all of your vendors have to travel to your venue, so that will add on to the cost of the wedding venue.

Food and Beverage Minimums

Many venues require a food and beverage minimum which is the minimum amount that you must spend on food and beverage in order to use the space. This amount typically does not include tax, tipping, or service charges. Venues may also require you to use certain catering companies who have various offerings and costs. These are fees that you’ll also have to consider when booking a venue because they can add up if you’re not keeping up with them. 


Alcohol is another expense to factor into the true cost of a wedding venue. A lot of venues require that you either buy alcohol from a certain distributor or the venue themselves. That means you’ll be paying for alcohol at those vendor’s prices. You’ll also want to ask the alcohol vendor whether you’ll be paying based on consumption or if you’re paying a flat fee per person for a certain period of time. If you’re paying based on consumption, you’ll want to ask how much you’ll expect to pay per drink so you’ll have an idea of how much you’ll be spending. Paying on consumption can add up quickly if you expect that your guests will drink a lot.


Some venues offer in house rentals that are included with the rental fee while others require that you bring everything in. If you have to bring in your rentals (tables, chairs, ceremony arch, etc.), these are expenses that will add to the cost of the wedding venue. Other rentals you’ll want to consider include a tent rental. Depending on the venue, you may be required to rent a tent if there’s not coverage. You’ll also have to consider if you’ll need to rent bathrooms for your guests to use.

Clean Up or Strike Fees

There may also be clean up fees to consider when booking a venue. Some venues include clean up services in their fee while others do not. You may also have strike fees associated with rentals, florals, etc. These are costs you’ll want to consider when finding a venue. 

The true cost of a wedding venue can add up quickly when you consider all of the additional fees associated with renting a venue. However, if you keep track of these fees, you’ll be able to stick to your budget and have your dream day. If you’re looking for help finding the perfect venue or staying on top of your budget, we’re here to help! Reach out and let’s chat!

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