So you settled all the set-up and tear-down times with your venue and you will have enough staff on hand at your event. Here’s a tip on how to plan defensively so as to avoid any post-event discrepancies with the bill:

Beware the phantom charge for goods and services you didn’t pre-approve. For example, recently an event venue we hadn’t used before added a fire marshal, two extra servers and 10 additional guests on to our final bill, resulting in an invoice that was roughly $2,500 higher than our agreed budget — a potentially disastrous over-charge for the non-profit sponsoring the event.

As the event has a rigorous check-in and cross-checking door policy in place, it was easy to prove our exact number of attendees. When we asked the venue where they got their guest count from, they replied that their on-site banquet manager had taken an “informal” count and had summoned additional staff without our permission. After some discussion, the venue agreed that the manager had perhaps over-stepped his bounds, and all the additional charges were removed.

The lesson here is, demand that your contract with the venue specify every charge up front, insist on approval of any additional staffing, be prepared to dispute questionable charges and be able to prove your case.