What are outside vendor fees?
A resort or hotel will charge you an outside vendor fee when you work with vendors that are not associated with that particular venue. These vendor fees are at the discretion of each particular resort and the price range for these fees vary anywhere between US$200 to US$1000 depending on the actual resort or hotel. It is important that you discuss this with your wedding coordinator/planner or the actual booking agent of the hotel before you book your venue to be sure that you agree to these terms and if you can afford it.
How Do I Avoid The Vendor Fee?
As discussed above, it is best to discuss the matter of vendor fees with your planner or hotel coordinator before you book and sign any contract with the hotel. This is the ONLY time you will have any negotiating power. If you are not satisfied with their terms and conditions for vendor fees, you can try to negotiate a better rate or more suitable options or you can simply decide to not get married there. If the hotel does decide to negotiate and offer you a suitable arrangement, please ensure to have it documented in your contract with them.
Where does the money go?
I am not entirely sure, but my best guess would be that it goes directly to the resort or its onsite vendors. Because some resorts charge their onsite vendors such high fees for rent, there is typically an agreement that all couples who book that resort for their wedding will either have to use that particular company/vendor, or pay them a fee.
What if I wasn’t aware of this fee when I booked the Resort, Do I still have to pay this fee?
The short answer is YES unfortunately. This is why I stressed how critical it is to ask these types of questions beforehand. It is definitely unfair to have to pay an outside vendor fee if you weren’t aware of it upon signing, however it is also difficult to have this waived by the resort after you have already signed a contract, made a deposit and booked the hotel. Please ensure that you discuss these things with your wedding planner, ask questions and read the contract before you sign.
Do I still have to pay a vendor fee if I am getting married outside of the resort?
This depends on whether or not your vendors are required to have access to the property for any reason. For example, if you are getting ready at the resort, you may need to pay a vendor fee for your photographer and make-up team. However, if your entire wedding is offsite then you would have no need to pay a vendor fee. In some instances, the resort may require you to purchase a day pass for your vendors. You can discuss this option with the resort beforehand.