It is fair to say that weddings cost a lot of money. Starting with your venue and your food and beverage being your highest costs you will need to carefully plan your wedding to make sure you are within budget. However, do you have any idea what costs will come with your late licence?
I have been planning weddings for quite some time, and you think you have heard it all with additional charges, and then there is a new charge that I have never experienced and so I thought I would share some of the cost implications that you may experience if you decided that you wanted to party like it was 1999.
I think it’s worth mentioning that whilst you may be a big party-goers, having a wedding day is just not the same as going clubbing until 4 am. It is a highly emotionally fuelled day and you will have been up since some god unearthly hour to start your prep and barely sit all day.
The adrenaline that will move around your body on your wedding day is more than you have likely ever experienced and it is not until you finally stop you will feel the after-effects. So then on top of that, you want your wedding day to keep going till 1 am or even 2 am. Well I just hope you are young and strong and full of energy is all I can say lol… Every wedding planner gets a wedding hangover from the adrenaline we feel on your day (at all ages) and we don’t even drink, now try being a Bride or Groom!
HOW LATE CAN WE GO?
Most venues close their doors between 11 pm and midnight and many of them will not budge from this OR they may have restrictions due to neighbourhood, but for those that do offer late licences, you will usually find you can get a late licence till 1 am. On the odd occasion maybe 2 am, and a very rare occasion 4 am.
Firstly, the reason you want a late licence is that you want to party, so before you sign on that dotted lie, make sure that the music has not got to be turned down or off from midnight. It’s all very well going till 2 am, but make sure you really can go till 2 am and not that it just stays open and music needs to go off or just reduced in levels. A silent disco is not on everyone’s bucket list of things to do at a wedding.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER?
Let’s look at the cost implications. Something many do not realise that when you really start to look at the figures, it is quite costly to have the privilege of a bigger hangover the next day.
Firstly the late licence costs money! I’ve had fees from as little as £6 per person per hour to £2,000 per hour. Every venue will have its own pricing structure, so you need to ask this question straight away as £2k per hour is not a small amount to add to your venue costs.
Then you may need to consider a midnight snack to keep your guests fuelled with energy to last the duration. Another potential cost.
Now the actual party…. Lets talk DJ’s & Bands. Many bands will charge you for X sets. Maybe 2 x 1 hour, but if you want them to stay until 1 or 2 am, they are going to charge you by the hour for extra time, even if they are not playing. This could be anything from £75 per hour to even £200 per hour after might night. After all, there are usually 3/4/5 band members.
If you have a big band you are not going to want them to break down all their equipment in front of all your guests before your party finishes. It is not a good look! So that’s another cost to breakdown later.
If you have hired chairs or decorative items that need to be taken away at ½ am. Your supplier has got to send out their people at stupid o clock. You may find yourself paying anything from £200-£400 for a late collection. Try and see if your venue will allow early morning pickups, it may be most cost-effective.
One of my biggest bugbears in this industry that so many suppliers are unable to provide quality ironed linen for your wedding day, that's another blog. However, the reason for me even writing this blog was because one caterer just suggested to me that if I did not ask them to do my evening catering, they would charge £200 for someone to collect the linen after the event at 1 am. £200???? For linen.. Stunned!
SET UP AND BREAKDOWN
Finally, find out what time your decorators/suppliers can get into your venue to set up. If you have a set up that will take 5 hours, and you are only given 2 hours to set up, this means your suppliers will have to hire a bigger team to get it done in time. Then they will need a bigger team to get that potential 5 hours set up, down in one hour at 1 or 2 in the morning. Costs are now building up nicely.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
So my point throughout this is to let you know that it is essential that you research the price of everything that will come with your need to have a late licence.
More often than not a venue will be in the budget, but once you add all the extra costs you have to consider, then there is a potential it will be out of budget. This can be a huge blow once you have already booked your venue and find yourselves having to find all these extra costs you didn’t factor in.
TAXI FOR ONE...
Once last thing… please also consider that getting taxis from your venue may not be viable that time of night from your venue to their hotel. I have seen many times freezing cold guests waiting around or not knowing what to do because taxis are so sparse for a venue that finishes late and in the middle of nowhere or the one taxi firm shut at midnight. So do your research and ask the venue how easy it is to get away when it's late.
Finally, I just have one last thing to say. Having spent most of my youth clubbing, and actually most of my adult life too. I have learned that you are better to have a party finish at midnight when everyone is leaving on a high and buzzing than let it go on till 2 am, and people drift off, you lose the party atmosphere, people are knackered and the party feel has then gone. Anyone else experienced that kind of party? They may be your hardened clubbing friends, but going out normally starts at 10 pm, going to a wedding starts a 1 pm. That’s a 9-hour difference using up all that energy. However, you know your family and friends the best
VENUES WITH LATE LICENCES IN LONDON
I know how difficult it is to find venues in London that offer a late Licence, so here are just a small selection I have found having done a recent wedding that required a late finish.
Winchester House winchesterhouse.com 1 am @ £450
BMA House bmahouse.org.uk 1 am
h club london hclub.com/index 2 am
Two Temple Place twotempleplace.org 4 am on request (£1k per hour) plus £250 fee
Fulham Palace www.fulhampalace.org 1am
Bingham Riverhouse www.binghamriverhouse.com 1 am
Gunnersbury Park www.ealingvenues.co.uk/venues/gunnersbury-park/ 1 am
Brunswick House www.lassco.co.uk/venues/brunswick-house / 1 am
Barrington House www.100barringtonroad.com 2 am
The Hurlingham Club www.hurlinghamclub.co.uk 2am
St Pancrease Brasserie https://stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk/ 3 am
Ham Polo Club www.hampoloclub.com 2 am
Morden Hall www.mordenhall.com 1am