Engaged couples often ask us questions about corkage fees charged by wedding venues, from, “what does corkage mean?” to “how much does corkage usually cost?” to “should I just save myself the hassle and go with the venue’s own wines!?” Today, we’re going to answer all of those questions and more! So, if you’re currently wondering what to do about the wine and Champagne at your wedding, you’ve come to the right place!
What does corkage mean?
Corkage is a service charge applied by your wedding venue for serving wine that you purchase and provide. The corkage fee generally covers chilling or storing your bottles, stocktaking your bottles, use of the venue’s glassware, disposal of glass bottles after the wedding, and the staff who’ll be serving the drinks. The venue also has to pay VAT on the corkage fee.
How much does corkage cost?
Corkage fees will be different in every wedding venue, so it’s best to ask your venue about this, or, better still, ask the question before you book your venue so you can factor these fees into the cost of your wedding. In Ireland, corkage fees tend to range from €8 to €40 per bottle, with the average being around €15 for wine and €25 for Champagne and Prosecco. In some cases, the venue may be open to negotiation on the corkage fees. Others won’t have any wiggle room at all. It’s worth bearing in mind that most couples intentionally overestimate the amount of wine they supply for their wedding, to avoid the risk of running out (we actually recommend this!), so you’ll probably end up purchasing more bottles if you supply your own wine than if you go with the venue’s own wine selection. The plus side is that the unused bottles you purchased are yours to take home and enjoy later, although some couples may not like having to deal with this the day after the wedding.
Why are corkage fees so high?
As mentioned above, allowing couples to supply their own wine creates quite a bit of extra work for the wedding venue, which will be reflected in the fees. Some venues prefer to have the couple choose from their own selection of wines for this reason, so they strive to make their wine offering the more affordable option.
What are the Pros and Cons of purchasing your own wine?
The advantage of purchasing your own wine is that you have full control over the wines that will be served at your wedding, which may be important if there’s a particular wine that’s special to you both, or that you’ve got your heart set on. In some cases, you might make a nice saving by purchasing your own wine, if, for example, you can get hold of cheap, high quality wines at a supermarket, or if you can source wines during a trip abroad. The disadvantage of purchasing your own wine is that you have to go to the trouble of organising it, which might not be worth the effort if a) you don’t end up saving that much money, or b) you would have been happy with the venue’s own wines.
Should I supply my own wine or go with the venue’s wine selection?
This really depends on three factors:
- how important the wine is to you
- how happy you are with the venue’s wine selection
- how willing you are to do a little bit of extra work in sourcing your own wines
The wedding coordinator at your venue should be able to tell you more about the venue’s wine selection, and how you can go about sampling their wines, which should help you make your decision! As for points #1 and #3, only you can decide how you feel about those!
Got another burning wedding-planning question? You should find the answer here!