Top Tips For Getting The Best Wedding Venue In Oxfordshire
We are all well aware of the high costs of weddings these days and the importance of having that dream wedding venue to host the most special day of your life. The wedding venue market is like any other business market and it all comes down to supply and demand.
The majority of couples will want their wedding day to happen on a Saturday during the months of May through to September. Wedding venues, naturally react to this demand and prices will peak for these prime dates. The venue will know that they will sell these in-demand dates so will hold out with their highest quotes for as long as possible to get that top sale.
If you’re looking at the top wedding venues in Oxfordshire for the peak dates you’re going to have to pay the top prices. However, don’t get disappointed just yet, below are our top tips of how you can get that same venue for a fraction of the price.
Choose an Out of Season Date
The best dates to get a cheap wedding venue is between January – April and October – December, these dates are classed as off-peak wedding seasons so the demand on dates is far lower.
Your best bet for the cheapest price would be the beginning of the year as this is, in general, a quieter time in the events and hospitality industry as a whole. Later in the year venues will become busier with corporate dinners and Christmas parties so although they may be quiet on weddings, if the venue you are looking at hosts other events the later months of the year may still be seen as prime.
So, if your heart is set on a Saturday wedding in a popular wedding venue go for a Saturday at the beginning of January for the cheapest deal.
Go for a Mid-Week Wedding
If out of season is a no go and the Summer holidays is the only time available for your wedding but you’re not keen on paying the top prices consider a mid-week wedding.
In recent years Thursday and Friday weddings have become increasingly popular due to this very reason, so there may still be a slight saving compared to a Saturday price tag but for the very best deals you should look at the beginning of the week.
A Monday wedding may on the face of it not sound too appealing but if you plan well in advance and give your guests plenty of warning so they can book off work it can actually work out perfectly. Lots of people will love the idea of having an extra-long weekend and your wedding party will have all weekend to prepare.
You’ll be looking at paying a fraction of the price for a mid-week wedding compared to a Saturday wedding – More on this below!
Don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Step 1 – You’ve decided on an off-peak date, as above, and approached some of your favourite Oxfordshire wedding venues. We guarantee the venues will be delighted to host you and will try their very best to secure your business.
Step 2 – Negotiate! You are in a really good position to negotiate, demand for your date is low so you have the upper hand, it is unlikely you’ll be competing with any other couple interested in that date. The venue will really want to secure your wedding and will undoubtedly provide you with a great discounted price.
You can negotiate in two ways from here. Of course, the venue will have their own costs to cover when hosting a wedding (staff, food etc.) and their main aim will be to make as much profit as they can (they are a business after all).
If you have large guest numbers you have a great bargaining tool – big numbers equals more money being spent behind the bar and more rooms being filled, all of this is great for a venue during an off peak period so they will be more likely to drop the price for you knowing they can make it up on the bar and room hire.
If you don’t have large numbers to play with or the venue are not willing to go down any further in their price you can try for ‘added value’. What we mean by this is Freebies! The venue will have a lot more room to play with by offering you added extras than by cutting on costs, so ask about upgrading your meal or drinks package or do they have decorations that they can include for free or at a very small price?
In essence, if you are happy to be flexible with dates then you’re putting yourself in very good chance of getting a superb deal. If you can do the double whammy and have a mid-week wedding in January you could potentially get a £15,000 wedding for as low as £5,000 with a bit of negotiation.
That Monday wedding in January is sounding a bit more appealing now isn’t it?!
At this point of your wedding venue searching, drooling and stressing, it probably comes as no surprise that the date and time you pick for your special day can affect costs — dramatically.
In fact, the date and time you pick can affect all of your wedding costs; from venue and catering to photography and video billings.
If a priority of yours is to stay within a tight budget, then understanding the off-peak dates and times available to you can massively help. To lend you a helping hand, we’re about to pinpoint exactly when the cheapest time to get married is!
We’ll begin with the obvious, outlining the more expensive months available for weddings and the reasons behind them.
Predominantly May, June and September will always be the most popular wedding months of the calendar year as the weather is usually hot enough for a perfect, picturesque wedding and there’s much less likelihood of rain. Of course, this is the United Kingdom we’re talking about however and so that isn’t a certainty.
These months are usually hot enough for most to enjoy but not too hot that makeup will be melting down the faces of bridesmaids or displaying sweat patches of nervous family members. Perhaps also important for some, it’s during this period that school’s break up for summer and workers prefer to book time off work, ready for plenty of time in the sunshine.
Other than these three months, the prospect of hot weather also comes in July and August – meaning these are snapped up quickly, with some stragglers booking in October having not secured a time in the most desired months and remaining optimistic.
As far as months without the possibility of sunshine are concerned, the other contenders quickly booked up are December and February. February is seen as the most romantic time of the year for the majority of couples with Valentine’s Day soon on the horizon…
While December weddings are seen as slightly less desirable due to the other expenses that the festive period brings, although this doesn’t necessarily make the month a low-priced alternative. Simply because, the majority of wedding venues will often open themselves up to work dos and the hosting of Christmas/New Year’s parties, resulting in less availability for wedding booking.
With all these months taking precedence as the more expensive options; January, March, April and November are your best bets for a cheaper option.
The most desired and therefore expensive day of the bunch is a Saturday. Due to it being on the weekend and sandwiched in-between Friday and Sunday, it’s ultimately seen as the day of less hassle.
It’s typically cheaper to rent ceremony and reception venue spaces on weekdays as a result, and this isn’t always a bad choice.
If your wedding is booked far enough in advance and guest list small, it shouldn’t be a problem for guests to get time booked off and prepared in time. If your guest list is slightly larger, this could be more difficult but with enough warning in advance, it’s still doable.
As well as this, hotel rates are usually lower and less popular from Sunday’s through to Thursday’s, meaning increased availability and ease for guests who need to book additional accommodation, or more cost effective for you if you’re taking care of accommodation for guests.
What time of day?
Something that often slips through the net is the varying price depending on the time of the day that your wedding takes place on.
It’s not always a huge amount of money saved but when put into perspective – it can make your budget go a long way and also become a low-priced day when deciding what needs to be catered for.
The traditional wedding reception includes dinner for each guest and on top of the meal, you’ll probably also need to include drinks and some money behind the bar for the remainder of the night. Food and beverages can quickly add up to be one of the biggest expenses during your wedding if you’re not careful.
This doesn’t have to be a disadvantage however and can be turned around in your favour dependant on the time of day you choose. For example choosing breakfast, lunch and lighter meals over a large dinner, subsequently brings a cheaper drink bill as guests tend to drink less during daytime gatherings.
During summer months something becoming more widely held is a morning ceremony followed by an elegant brunch. This is done to shield the wedding from the heat that sometimes comes in the afternoon but also because breakfast food is much cheaper and can still be filled with elegant appearing sustenance such as fresh fruit and delicious pastries.
Another fast-becoming popular wedding trend is having an early afternoon service that concludes with lighter food, cake and champagne reception or cocktail party rather than a full meal serving.
If you get the timing right, you can still give your guests a great experience whilst also cutting down on the price you pay – making it well worth taking the month, day and time of day into account.
Wedding costs in Oxfordshire…the reality!
Does it really cost £30,000 to get married in 2019?
The answer is quite simply NO and the industry needs to counter this myth as it’s just adding a level of pressure to a day that really should be about celebrating love and friendship not the size of your bank balance or credit card bill. The average cost of a wedding may be £30k but the average wedding certainly doesn’t cost this with the vast majority taking place every weekend being well below this amount, a few big budget weddings and Oxfordshire prices skew these figures.
The truth is, you can probably pull it all off for £3000 or below if your careful and happy to keep it simple. It’s true, you won’t get a castle wedding venue or champagne on tap but you can easily book a nice local hotel, feed your guests and have a great party for in the low thousands. Ditch the wedding cars, photo booths and sparkly dance floors and focus on the simple things first, good company, food, a good drink and music.
I recently added a quality branded hotel to our site www.weddingbooker.com who were offering an amazing wedding package which included a wedding ceremony, reception for 60 guest including an arrival drink, 3 courses, wine with the meal, followed by an evening buffet and disco all for £1999 which is unbelievable value!
Rise in costs of wedding venues
One of the key drivers for costs rising so significantly is wedding venue costs, in the last 10 years the industry has changed quite significantly in this respect. Having run a hire business in the wedding industry over the past 15 years we have seen a huge rise in the number of standalone wedding venues catering specifically to weddings. They are in stunning locations, with amazing aspects and decorated to suit the modern couple ticking almost every box for the dream wedding. Clearly, these wedding venues deliver on the promise of bringing the dream day to reality and will continue to lead the way no doubt in taking a fair share of the market.
Understandably, these bespoke wedding venues can charge a premium price which means you are paying a wedding venue hire fee £2-4k before you start. These boutique wedding venues need to do this because they really only cater to weddings. The best of these could be pushing 170 weddings a year which is huge however that’s 195 days where they are not trading and bills still need to be covered so they have to charge high fees. With many not offering other services, in house catering services or bars they don’t have the same revenue streams of traditional venues.
In comparison, traditional hotel based wedding venues have a wider offering and more opportunities over the year, bedroom sales, meetings, food and beverage sales however many then don’t tick the Instagram box quite as effectively as a stunning barn.
My key advice for couples is get out and visit as many wedding venues across the spectrum as possible. For every ‘on trend dream wedding venue’ there are 10 traditional wedding venues or hotels who want your business and are fighting hard to offer great value and warm hospitality for a lot less….it’s your choice to make.