What Is Corkage?

Corkage is a service charge that is levied by venues for opening and serving bottles of wine, sparkling wine, champagne and even spirits that are bought externally by customers with the intention of consuming them on site.

champagne wedding reception
champagne wedding reception

It’s a little known fact that many venues throughout the UK offer corkage as a service. However, very few will actively advertise or promote this service to their clients and customers. And it is clear to see why…

Naturally corkage fees vary from wedding venue to wedding venue. Some venues charge per head but most will charge per bottle opened on site. On average the fee will be £10.00-£12.00 per bottle of wine, £12.00-£15.00 per bottle of Cava or Prosecco and £17.00-£25.00 per bottle of champagne. Whilst the fee per bottle of spirits will be in the region of £40.00-£60.00.

Now, these fees may appear to be exorbitant but with some careful planning and selective sourcing you can usually slash a drinks bill by hundreds of pounds! And that’s great news for plenty of couples struggling to manage their budget.

Why You Should Use Corkage At Your Wedding!

In an earlier post we saw that you can pick up a decent bottle of Cava or Prosecco for £8.00 or an award winning Champagne for £12.00, if you purchase it from one of the supermarkets on the high street. And a good bottle of wine can cost as little as £4.00.

Whereas many wedding venues typically charge £20.00-25.00 for a house bottle of wine, £30.00-40.00for a bottle of house sparkling and £65.00+ for a bottle of house champagne.

Now for the all important maths…

Let’s say you have 100 guests attending your wedding and you calculate that you need a standard 1/2 bottle of Champagne per head (that’s 2 glasses per person for the reception and 1 for the toast) and 1/2 bottle of wine per head. That’s a total 50 bottles of bubbly and 50 bottles of wine.

Costings Without Corkage

50 bottles of the venue’s cheapest house Champagne at  £60.00 will cost £3,000.00 and 50 bottle of their cheapest  house wine at £20.00 will cost £1,000.00.

Total venue drinks bill = £4,000.00

Costings With Corkage

50 bottles of personally sourced, award winning £12.00 Champagne will cost £600.00 and 50 bottles of your chosen wine at £4.00 per bottle will cost £200.00. With corkage fees for Champagne at £20.00 per bottle and £12.00 for wine the total service charge will be £1,000.00 for Champagne and £600.00 for wine.

Total drinks bill with corkage = £2,400.00

Conclusion

Clearly, when using corkage the savings can be enormous! And not only that – the drinks you will be serving your guests will be a far better quality!