Hidden Event Facility Fees

| August 21, 2012

pale green, orange and white wedding

You think you’ve found the perfect venue for your event until the big day arrives and you discover a number of budget-busting hidden event facility fees. Prevent unpleasant surprises by asking about the following potential additional charges before signing an event facility contract.

Room charge

If your venue is a hotel or banquet hall, the facility’s per-plate charge generally doesn’t include the banquet room charge. They may also charge for extras such as the use of electronic equipment like projection screens, PA systems and even the dance floor. Also keep in mind that there may be a fee for bringing your own equipment into the room.

Service fee

The cost of service from attendants such as waiters and bartenders is usually 18 to 20 percent of the total bill. It pays to ask ahead of time so that you can budget for this. Some facilities also tax the service fee.

Cake-cutting fee

It may seem like a minor task, but facilities often charge to cut your cake. You might consider saving the fee by asking a friend or family member to do the honors.

Food and beverage minimum

They don’t always bring this up initially, but many facilities have a minimum food and beverage requirement and will charge extra if the numbers aren’t met. Knowing this ahead of time helps you plan your guest list.

Labor charges

Table and dance floor setups, special decorating and cleanup all require personnel to complete these tasks, and the labor costs you more. If you have an especially labor-intensive chore to do in order to prepare for the event, the task is likely to add a substantial fee to your final bill. Ask for a complete list of the proposed costs of various planned tasks so you can make wise budget decisions.


With the high price of energy, some facilities, such as hotel meeting rooms, charge extra for the use of electricity. Ask if there is a charge for electrical outlets.

Event liability insurance

Some facilities require that you purchase event liability insurance for your event. This insurance protects you and the facility if an accident occurs that harms a guest or the property.

State tax

Most states require that a facility charge a state tax on top of your bill. Inquire about your state tax rate and determine what items are taxed so that you can get a good idea of what the tax will cost you.

Ensure that your next event runs smoothly and you stay within budget by inquiring about these hidden event facility fees before comitting to a venue.

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Category: Events, Evergreen

About the Author ()

Julie Bawden-Davis is a Southern-California-based writer specializing in home and garden, real estate, small business and personal finance. Since 1985, her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Entrepreneur and The Los Angeles Times. Julie is a University of California Certified Master Gardener and has written five gardening books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening.