Negotiating Your Hotel Wedding and Room Block Contracts

You've found the hotel venue of your dreams... the perfect location to host your wedding weekend, with all of your friends and family under one roof. When it comes to contracting your big day at a hotel, their policies may not be as crystal clear as the ocean you're dreaming of getting married in front of. Let us clarify some of the most common hotel venue policies:

  1. Ceremony / Reception Site Fee: This is a fee to have your wedding at a certain location. It doesn't include anything - food, beverage, tax, or gratuities. It's simply a fee to hold your wedding in a certain space and can range anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000.
  2. Per Head Cost: Catering typically prices their menus packages per person, which depends on a number of factors - bar selection, champagne toast, how many hors d'oeuvers served during cocktail hour, carving stations, dinner courses - appetizers, salads, dinner entree choices, wedding cake, dessert, etc. Per person pricing can start at $100 and go up to $500 per person.
  3. Food and Beverage Minimum: This is where things can get tricky - on particular weekends hotels require a minimum expenditure to hold your event in one of their ballrooms, regardless of how many guests you have. In most situations, the larger the ballroom, the bigger the F&B minimum will be. So for example, if you're having 100 people and the price per person is $200, you'll easily meet at $20,000 F&B minimum. If you're only having 75 people, you'll either have to invite more guests, or increase your food or beverage menu.
  4. Taxes & Gratuities: Don't let these two expenses surprise you and blow your budget off track. Typically in Florida, gratuity is up to 23% of your F&B minimum plus 6-7% tax. 
  5. Room Block & Attrition: In some venues, in order to host your wedding there you have to sign a contract for a block of rooms. You'll get a special discounted rate for your guests and they'll be part of your room block. This is a great option for destination weddings and couples who have a lot of out of town guests. One downside is that if not all of the rooms are booked in the block by a certain date, then whoever signs the contract will be financially liable for those rooms. 

Have any additional questions regarding contracting your wedding at a hotel? Comment below!