Wedding Price Wars

July 16, 2009

It seems like everytime we turn on the radio these days there is someone talking about weddings and, more specifically, the cost of your wedding.  The general impression seems to be that wedding venues have been ripping brides and grooms off for the past ten years and now it’s payback time.  The media tells us to take advantage of the surge in numbers of hotels across Ireland, and their desperation for any kind of business at all and see how much you can squeeze out of them.  While it may be true that some venues had been over-pricing themselves on the assumption that people will pay anything if they want something badly enough, most of them had reasonable pricing strategies even in the heady days of the Celtic Tiger.  A hotel that opened up five years ago not too far from here began wedding packages that started at €110 per person for the very basics, within six months they were offering the same package for €80.  Customers have always wanted value for money and quality for money and that hasn’t changed.  Most hotel’s wedding prices are generally fair given the amount of work staff and management will have put into your big day by the time it comes to handing over the bill.

On the whole we don’t have a problem with people trying to get the best deal they can at Markree-  we know what we do, we do well and we can have confidence that a top notch product and service will always win out in the end.  We won’t compromise on quality of produce and service in order to beat a competitor’s price and we won’t go any lower than we can afford.  Luckily we are, and always have been, in a position to offer really good value for money, our rates have always reflected that, and we have no problem fitting our services around your budget.   If Markree is the venue for you, you’ve fallen in love with it and well as your betrothed, we’ll find some way to make it a reality.  Each and every wedding is, and always has been, made up ‘from scratch’, every element tailored to what you want or what you can afford.  Markree isn’t a package kind of place and our wedding philosophy reflects that.

With all that in mind, we have a few tips for the would-be haggler at any venue:

1.  Sort out the prices before you sign the contract and/or pay a deposit- the reasons for this are obvious.  Firstly, you won’t know if you’ll be able to get the deal you want/need until you ask and you may end up stuck with a venue that can’t fulfill your needs.  Secondly, it’s only polite to let the hotel know if you are on a budget before things are set in stone.

2.  Watch out for catches in ‘package’ prices.  Lots of hotels offer, for example,  1/2 bottle of wine per person as part of their package- rarely, in fact nearly never, would your wedding guests drink even close to this amount and not many hotels are offering you the left-over wine to bring home with you!  Often you’ll get a better deal on a per consumption basis.

2.  Remember that hotels are businesses-  exceptionally low prices mean they will be cutting corners somewhere to protect their profits, whether it be on the quality of food or staffing levels on the day.

3.  Beware of hotels that will only give you the best price if you pay for the whole lot 6 weeks before the wedding- we can’t think of a single non-shifty reason for this.

4.  Bear in mind that if you really want the best prices you will have to make some compromises. For instance, you will always get the best price if you choose an off-peak date for your wedding even if it means compromising your ideal of a sunny, summer Saturday.

5.  Don’t get too caught up in the price.  Ask yourself this-  is the cost the most important thing about my wedding day?  The answer is of course no-  instead think about value for money.

6.  Don’t always thing about value as being purely relating to something that you can physically hold on to.  Think of all the other intangible elements that will make up your wedding day: atmosphere, company, backdrop….

7.  The number one issue of contention seems to be corkage.  Seems to be a rip off since you aren’t paying for a product.  Instead think of it as a service and consider the other costs associated with serving wine, aside from the wine itself:  storing, chilling, polishing glasses, laying glasses, opening, serving, washing the glasses.

Here are some links to some wedding websites / blogs that we like, and that are full of information, forums and advice: -best wedding blog!


4 Responses to “Wedding Price Wars”

  1. Guys, ye are spot on here. Some great advice for couples out there who are (and rightly so!) shopping around, haggling and trying to get the best deal.

    As you pointed out, cost is not the same thing as value for money, and the intangible elements like how you and your guests are going to be treated on the day are really what take a wedding from good to great.

    People can’t expect the world, and as you said if they are dealing with a hotel that does customised weddings “from scratch” then if they REALLY want a certain venue, then they have to compromise on the date.

    Of course couples can check date availability for the fabulous Markree Castle on!

  2. […] can read Patricia’s full post here and of course you can check availability for the ever-fabulous Markree Castle on! […]

  3. John Kelleher Says:

    Just a note to commend Charles and his crew on our own wedding – over 17 years ago, now. Since then Markree seems to have gone from strength to strength and justifiably so. It’s interesting to follow the goings-on on-line and I have no doubt that the castle will forge through this current climate.
    Best wishes…

  4. Thanks John! It’s great when people like you come back and try and find their names in the guest book at reception. Every year we get more and more people back for anniversaries, children’s christenings and so on- it’s lovely to see!

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