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To corkage or not to corkage?

Corkage…. It’s a word that many couples dread.

It is also a word that is sometimes misunderstood. There are lots of mixed feelings towards the point of corkage and whether it is an unfair, unnecessary charge inflicted on couples just to bump up the price of their wedding even more.

Now, I don’t officially know the reasons behind every venues corkage charge and to be honest, some venues appear to pluck a figure out of thin air! Also, I personally do not believe you should be paying corkage on wine or bubbly that you are buying through the venue directly, that seems to defeat the object – but that’s for another blog! However, for those venues that offer a fair corkage fee per bottle that you have opted to bring in yourselves, there are reasons behind it.


The best way to consider what corkage actually is, is if you choose a venue that allows you to bring your own wine and bubbly without corkage. Say you are able to pick up your wine at £5 per bottle and your bubbly (a decent Prosecco for example) at £8 per bottle. That’s great. However, you now need to consider these additional costs (I have based this on an average of 100 guests, having bubbly on arrival, wine on the table and bubbly for the speeches):

– Fridge trailer hire to store all the bottles: £200
– Glasses: You will need at least two wine glasses per person and two flutes per person at 50p each: £200
– Staff: Who is going to serve your drinks?

For a drinks reception you will ideally need six staff serving the welcome bubbly, for 3 hours in total (as they will need to be there prior to set up). They will then be needed to lay out the table wine and ensure it is replaced throughout the meal. After this they will need to lay up the flutes for the speeches, and serve these to the table. You will then require at least two staff to stay behind and clear all the glasses off the table and store back in the packing boxes. So with an average waitress earning £10 per hour you will need to spend £400 on staff!

The clear up:

The glasses may have been dealt with, but who is going to remove all the bottles? Most venues will require you to have left over/ empty bottles and items all gone by 11am the following morning.

Some venues will offer a clear down service of around £150 so that you don’t have to worry about allocating some Durlston Castle Wedding - Blue Bay Events Novpoor family member to the post wedding early morning shift!

With all of this in mind, you are looking at an additional £950 to your wedding bill. For 100 guests, an additional £9.50 per head is more than the average corkage charge per bottle! And for that corkage charge, you will receive all of the above without any of the hassle.

It all comes down to personal opinion. If you have a specific, memorable wine or bubbly in mind and nothing else will compare, then who cares about the corkage! But… if you think you are choosing the ‘cheaper’ option, hopefully this helps clear a few thoughts up and shed some light on the issue.