The Dreaded Bring- Your-Own Fee

After Mr. G and I became in engaged we started to look for wedding venues in the Kyoto area. Mr. G and I visited about 7 places during our venue search over a few weekends. All of the venues would charge, even if it was one of the most expensive hotels in Kyoto or a very simple hotel in the countryside, about $25, 000 to $30,000 for the wedding. Japanese wedding venues handle everything– the ceremony, the reception, the invitations, the photographer, the food, the dress, the decorations- everything, so during the presentation they also give you an estimate of all the fees.

Here's a quick translation of a part of one of the estimate charts I received.

Here’s a quick translation of a part of one of the estimate charts I received.

Mr. G and I wanted to do our wedding on a budget so we figured we could do our own invitations and decorations. I also wanted to buy my own dress in America rather than rent my dress in Japan (most Japanese brides rent their dress rather than buy one).

At the first venue we went to, I mentioned that I wanted to bring in my own wedding dress. She looked up at me, smiled and said “No problem- we will just charge you a bring-your-own fee of $1000. ” Huh? What? I was planning on buying a $600 wedding dress at David’s Bridal so why would I need to pay $1000 to bring that in? I figured that I had misheard what she said in Japanese so I moved on to the hair and make-up section. I mentioned that I have my own makeup artist and she said “No problem- we will just charge you a bring-your-own fee of $300. ” After, that I knew my Japanese wasn’t a problem and that I heard correctly. We left the place and moved on to another venue thinking that the previous venue was unique in its bring-your-own fees. I was very, very, very wrong. Every venue we went too would charge us a bring- your-own fee for anything we wanted to do ourselves. For example, if we made our own invitations we would be charged about $5 dollars per person and if we chose our own wedding favors we would be charged about $50 dollars person.

I started to get very frustrated. I felt that throwing a wedding in Japan that was uniquely Mr. Gondola and I would be impossible,or if we went ahead and did it would cost us double (the fee to make it ourselves and the bring-your-own fee). I felt like I was being penalized for trying to be original.


Argh, why are you stopping my creativity?!

That was until I found my wedding venue called With You. During our meeting we were handed the fee sheet and the first thing I asked was how much the bring-your-own fees would be. Our wedding coordinator said, “Oh, we don’t charge bring-your-own fees here. ” Hive, the heavens parted, angels started to sing, and I would have hugged the guy if hugging wasn’t considered so awkward in Japan. He later showed us the menu and it turns out our venue is owned by our favorite French restaurant in Kyoto. Win! We started to discuss other things such as having a photo booth and making our own centerpieces which other venues told us we weren’t allowed to do and our coordinator said it was fine! Our wedding coordinator let us know that we could basically do whatever we want, no problem!


Image via

I am so grateful that I found a place that doesn’t charge bring-your-own fees. Our wedding will be considerably cheaper thanks to our venue!

Have you ever run into any bring- your-own fees in your wedding planning? Did you go ahead and pay the fee or look for another vendor?


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