1. I get that places/ caterers etc add a 0 for a wedding and you should mention 'a party'.... How does that work then, when you rock up in a wedding dress?! At what point do you admit it?! What about if they say, 'hmmmm party eh?! Wedding party?' Lie?!
2. What is a reasonable price per head for, say a hotel 3 course meal and drinks package, eg welcome fizz, half bottle of wine and toast? I had one quote for £90... Is this high? Average? (Please no...low?!!!!)
3. Should I be haggling and if so how much?! Eg meal £50 a head, haggle to...?
Aside from asking for no starter, fizzy wine instead of champs etc.
My wedding is £7.50 per head for two courses, we're sourcing drinks and evening buffet ourselves straight from suppliers so will be haggling with the warehouses on bulk deals for wine, beer kegs. But I doubt ypu can do that with a hotel where its an all in one fee.
I can only advise you based on what we are paying. We are having a meal for 60 at £40 a head. The wine on the table is £17.50 a bottle and we are having one between 2 people.
The arrival drinks are £5 each! But we have chosen not to have those as we can provide our own booze at the venue where we get married before getting everyone on a coach to the reception. The wine for the toast is £25 a bottle and we are estimating 1 bottle between 3 people. So that works out to about £57 a head.
Things will vary so much though, you need to look at what is included and what isn't. We are paying £600 for venue hire, whereas some places give you the venue for free and charge more per head.
Has anyone done what the OP asked in her first question i.e. booked a party rather than a wedding reception - and what was the reaction of the venue?? I am thinking of doing this but don't want to suddenly get things cancelled or end up with a surprise bill if/when they find out it's a wedding!
No, we didn't and to be honest, I know people suggest it all the time but I don't actually know anyone that has done it, surely it's a bit weird??
It would also obviously depend on you having the ceremony at a different venue and to be honest, I think they would very quickly suss you out. I'm also not entirely convinced when people say 'oh, venues add on $$$ as soon as they realise it's a wedding!!' - surely a set menu is a set menu etc??
Obviously this probably isn't true if you have, say a sit down dinner/buffet in a restaurant etc.
Also, would you want to be worrying on the day about what the venue will say when you rock up in your wedding dress?
Anyway, to answer the OPs original questions:
- We paid 90 GBP a head for 3 courses, 3 glasses of Prosecco (2 for after ceremony, one for toasts), half a bottle of wine per person during dinner and water on all tables. I got the impression from the various quotes we received that this was the expensive side of average IYSWIM. You can spend as much or as little as you want to though I guess, and you are always going to get people coming on and saying 'oh, we paid 3p per head and it was WONDERFUL'
- We found that asking suppliers to lower their prices didn't really work but they were more likely to throw things in for free and suggest ways to cut corners. Eg our florst agreed to half her set-up costs if we agreed to drop off the hurricane lanterns the next day rather than her have to collect them ourselves, the lighting guy knocked the delivery price off for the dancefloor etc...Just be up front with them about your budget and you should find that most decent suppliers will work with you to give you the most possible for your money
The whole "vendors add a zero when they hear the word wedding" thing is patently false. We had a second wedding reception at the boarding school where DH teaches and had been considering it for our wedding before we decided to get married in my home country. For this reason I saw all the packages for parties / weddings - not a lot of price difference. The wedding package was marginally higher because you got more for the price - it included things like 1/2 bottle per person, welcome drink, etc. There really was no difference overall in the prices based on the 'type' of event you're having. Basically, if a venue / caterer etc is going to be expensive for a wedding, then it's going to be expensive for a party too, and vice versa.
Also, things like bouquets and cakes - when else would you have a bouquet?! When else would you order a three tiered cake?! These things are expensive because a lot of product and time goes into them, not just because they are for weddings.
I have heard this but believe it to be a chinese whisper! We are Wedding Caterers but cater for any type of function. Our prices are clearly on view on our website so we can hardly add 0 as it is a Wedding! In fact we have on so many weddings reduced our quote to match a brides budget!