We love seeing emails pop into the One Fab Day inbox from readers, and we love it even more when we can help find the answer to a wedding dilemma that you’ve come up against – and there are plenty! One question we’ve been asked a number of times recently has been related to unexpected increases in wedding venue costs. One worried reader got in touch to explain what happened to her. “Our wedding venue has added €5 per person to our price, citing the increasing cost of living. We are meeting with next week to negotiate and wondering where we stand?”
This is such a tricky situation for any couple to find themselves in, and while our reader didn’t specifiy what was in her contract, we thought this wedding dilemma was definitely something we should tackle for you, by seeking advice from a legal expert*. Liz Walsh, Consumer Columnist for EVOKE has laid out the issue below, and anyone who finds themselves in this awkward position will find her insight very helpful.
The period in the run up to your wedding day can be stressful enough but if the wedding venue suddenly increases the cost, it can certainly add to the angst, particularly for anyone on a tight budget. But we are living in unprecedented times, and have been for a number of years now. The pandemic resulted in many weddings being postponed for up to two years, and just when we emerged from lockdown the cost of living skyrocketed. So where does this leave couples, and the wedding venues that are also trying to navigate these very difficult times? “Since early May there have been reports of some hotels and wedding venues increasing the cost of the wedding meals, and room rates, citing increases in the cost of food and energy,” says Liz. “With many couples having planned their budget on the quotes they were provided with, any increase is going to present a financial headache.”
Check Your Contract
“When a booking is made the hotel will provide a written contract stating the terms of the booking and provide a breakdown of the cost of the meal, rooms and other associated costs,” explains Liz. “Some, but not all, include a clause allowing the hotel to increase the price stated in the contract if unexpected or unforeseen events occur, pushing up the cost of providing the service, or inflationary costs.”
An increase of €5 per person may seem small, but if you have 150 or 200 guests suddenly you could see an additional €1,000 added to the budget. “If there is such a clause in your contract, then you are contractually bound by it. But if there is not such a clause, then you can insist on the cost stipulated in the contract and the hotel will have to honour it.”
Good Will Gesture
Liz says that even if your contract allows the hotel to raise the price, there may still be some room to manoeuvre. Ask your venue for a meeting, during which you might be able to negotiate better terms. “You could put it to the venue that you would be willing to pay a small increase, which the hotel should accept. But it really does depend on what is in the contract, because if there is a cost of living increase clause, then all you can do is ask the hotel to accept a lower increase as an act of good will, which would be a good compromise for you both.
Take a Stand
If there is no such clause in your contract, then Liz says that you can stand your ground, and insist on the original price agreed in the contract. “If the hotel won’t budge, then you should consider consulting a solicitor as a final option.” But it goes without saying that ideally, you and your wedding venue would be able to come to an amicable agreement that is fair to both. At the end of the day you want to have a positive relationship with your venue for your special day.
*This post is intended to provide general guidance on consumer legislation and is not intended to replace individual professional advice on consumer disputes.
Check out our helpful dedicated FAQ posts to answer all your other wedding dilemmas.