It is hard enough to keep your special event on budget without “hidden” fees, which – for purposes of this discussion – will be defined as “any charge (no matter how small) which is not specifically and explicitly spelled out the first time you ask, ‘What will this cost?'”A few of these budget wreckers, found only in the fine print, are:
When you go to a restaurant, your waiter’s tip is based on the quality of his service. But the venue for your big event may include a predetermined gratuity. 15% or more is common, and you are charged whether the service is exemplary – or not.
Some venues that offer guests “free” valet parking may still charge you for each car. 3 to 5 dollars per vehicle, times 100 autos = $300 – $500 extra out of your pocket.
Want a microphone? That’s $35. Want it on a stand? You’ll pay $15 more. Your venue may not charge for this, but you need to know in advance if they do.
If your band, deejay, décor, or Power Point requires extra outlets, many venues are happy to “drop” a quad box to them – for $50.
Would you like a podium on a small stage, with steps leading up, and a simple black skirting around the base? What’s it worth to you?
Your venue probably has a piano. Can you use it? Sure! But what will it cost you? (Often, you are charged both for moving the piano and for tuning it.)
No – not your food – this is the meal you agreed to provide your deejay or keynote speaker (clause number 77 in their contract’s fine print.) If they also require a “break room” in which to spend their intermissions, the venue may charge you for this, as well.
Finally, after all your vendors are through destroying your budget – here comes the governor! State and local taxes add yet another 8 to 10% or more to your final costs.Sadly, this is only a partial list of your potential “hidden” costs (be sure to check on cash bar, corking, and “security” fees, too.) But here’s the good news: today’s competitive business environment allows the savvy event planner to pit one venue against another. In order to land your account, many catering executives will wave or “comp” the most egregious of these charges (which can save you several hundred dollars on each event.)
By John Hester