I’ve been working in the events industry for some time now and thus I know a thing or two about how venues operate. It has been immensely frustrating dealing with this private venue that has been chosen for a wedding we are organising in November.
First some background… Generally speaking, a venue has a specified beverage list that includes the normal bar stock (softdrinks, spirits, beers, etc), the wines available and the champagne available. Should you, as the client, wish to bring in a wine or champagne that is not on their list, the venue normally charges you a corkage fee per bottle. This corkage fee is more-or-less around R50 per bottle of wine and R200 per bottle of champage, obviously prices vary venue to venue. As a client you can also request the venue to bring in the champagne or wine for you, but this can be tiresome and expensive.
Back to my story… Our bride requested to see if it would be more cost effective to bring in the champagne and be charged a corkage fee, or to have the venue bring in the specific champagne. Now the venue is not part of the “main stream” wedding venues so from my conversation with them, I assume they are unaware of this industry norm.
I phone the guy and spend a good 20 minutes trying to explain what I mean before the line mysteriously goes dead.
Me: The bride wants to see which route to take so please can you let us know what the cost would be if you [the venue] were to purchase the champagne as opposed to us sourcing the champagne and paying a corkage fee.
Him: Whether you bring in the champagne or we source it, there will still be corkage fees applicable.
Me: Thinking to myself…Uhm! Are you out of your mind! That doesn’t seem at all fair!
Me: That isn’t the norm as a venue would normally charge a markup on the price paid per bottle. How can you expect the client to pay the price per bottle and then still pay your exorbitant corkage fee?
Him: That’s the way we work. If we were to put a markup per bottle, it would be a 100% markup.
Me: What?! That’s absolutely crazy!
And the line went dead…
I did manage to get a hold of him a little later on, once I managed to curb my temper, and he agreed to get a price per bottle of the brands the client wanted. I’m hoping he does some research between now and giving me the price per bottle because if he comes back with the words “price per bottle plus corkage fee”, I will not be held responsible for my actions.