Ask the Experts – Can you Haggle Over Corkage?

Planning & Advice

The question of corkage pops up again and again on our forums as couples debate whether to opt for the wine a venue supplies or bring their own and pay a corkage fee. We ask hotel experts whether it’s okay to haggle over this added cost or whether there are better options available…

From the Experts:

Brona from Kettles Country House Hotel, Dublin – View Profile

I would recommend that if there is wine included in your package, not to add on more wine with corkage as it gets messy mixing drinks. There is normally very little leeway with the corkage fee that venues charge as they would be missing out on the revenue for providing such drinks themselves.

Brian from Belleek Castle Hotel, Mayo – View Profile

We would actually encourage the couple to trust the venue with the choice of wine, we choose wine for the day that would suit the food specially cooked on the day.

Nicola from Athlone Springs Hotel, Westmeath – View Profile

Corkage is a tricky subject and the reason that hotels charge a corkage fee on wine/sparkling wine or even champagne is very simple. Regardless of whether the hotel is including your drinks in the wedding package or if you are supplying these yourself, the hotel will still have to do the same amount of work. The glasses will have to be prepared and polished, then set up on a drinks table or dinner table. The drinks still have to be served with a waiter or waitress and then the glasses have to be washed afterwards.

Virginia from Ballinacurra House, Cork – View Profile

If we are being honest, we find that going the corkage route works out to be a lot more expensive and a bit wasteful. It turns out to be a bit of a false economy and costs more in the end as you have to buy extra of both red and white wines. We feel it is better to discuss options with your venue and find a decent wine within your price range. If you want to keep a handle on the amount served, you can set a cap on the amount of bottles you don’t want to go over. Quality over quantity is key here.

Niamh from Castle Durrow, Laois – View Profile

Many hotels, like Castle Durrow are offered great deals from wine companies which are then passed onto the couple so in most instances it is better value to choose wine from the suggested wine list. If there is a certain type of wine you are looking for that is not on our suggested list, we would be more than happy to source it at a competitive rate.

Karen from Galgorm Resort & Spa, Antrim – View Profile

As a venue we are always open to negotiation and happy to discuss a couple’s budget. It is often the case that the venue’s wine list offers a better option than corkage as it has been specifically chosen to pair well with the menu. At Galgorm, we offer couples wedding packages to include wine, which is a cost-effective option.

Amanda from Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin – View Profile

As a Wedding Coordinator, I would always advise my wedding couples to explore all options while planning their wedding day. Whether you decide on the venue’s wine or decide to bring your own, this is entirely up to you and what is included in your wedding package and your wedding budget. I would never say no to negotiating with a wedding couple regarding the cost of their corkage, however, I would advise that you firstly explore the various wine options that the hotel already has including their house wine which can very often be an absolute steal!

Karyn from Crover House Hotel, Cavan – View Profile

If you don’t ask, you won’t get… every hotel differs, some are prepared to reduce their prices and some will not budge on them.

The Kingsley, Cork – View Profile

It’s never any harm to ask, however don’t be offended if the venue says no. Corkage is not just a charge for you to bring in your wine, it also encompasses staff charges for the pouring and serving of a wine. Depending on the size of your wedding and the overall value, some venues may look at this and may offer a reduction but as mentioned already, don’t take offence if the answer is no.

Photo from Cormac & Linda’s real wedding by Julie Cummins Photography