>I want to share with you a very important story from one of our brides.
Rebecca wrote to me a little while ago with a sad and probably all too common story. Hopefully you have not had the misfortune of experiencing similar. I hope you can heed her warning and show up to your supplier meetings armed with knowledge and the right questions to ask.
This is the lovely Rebecca and her fiance Ed, who are getting married tomorrow! (congrats guys)
This is their story - with a very clear and essential message!
"When we got engaged, we booked a wedding venue in Melbourne, reading all of their terms and conditions- we were not so happy with a minor amount of the terms-but being very little issues, we were more than happy to compromise and we went with that venue. As it turns out, we made a terrible mistake, as looking back- we picked it on it's looks- it is a stunning looking place-fabulous for photo's and ambiance (we thought) but...as my mother used to say (and mothers are always right!) Never judge a book by its cover...
Once the sales man pitch (manager of venue) was over and the large sum of money had been paid to the venue, our wedding was handed over to a very young inexperienced girl, who didn't seem to have alot of passion for her job and we started facing some challenging issues that the venue wouldn't compromise on and didn't care to find a compromise with us...(and when we tried to speak with the manager that took our money and toured us around the venue on sales pitch day- he was never there, apparently, and never answered our calls or messages).
The issues we had included:
- We were not allowed to have any outside companies come in to the venue to decorate before 5pm and our ceremony was at 5:15pm, but the venue don't decorate for you so- catch 22!
- The venue won't decorate at all- "it's above what we do", the young girl said. (that's not what the manager said when they took our money on sales pitch day!)
- They said we would have to use an outside source for any decorating-which quotes came in at $3-4,000 dollars.
- We were not allowed to set up anything ourselves due to what they said was their 'public liability' clause and it just became more difficult by the day to deal with this venue and we as a bride & groom were becoming very stressed. (non of this was in any literature or conditions)
- (*the list goes on and on...)
In the end, after a longer list of things breaking down in our communication and dealings with this venue (along with what we felt to be as a non caring attitude they were receiving us with)- we had no option but to get out of the agreement resulting in a big loss of money and no wedding venue for our February wedding!
I knew of Margaret McLelland's outstanding hospitality and highly commendable reputation through a friend and I gave her a call to seek her advice. She talked us through the situation and offered her help, support and ultimately, her venue- Rupertswood Mansion (Victoria)."
Rebecca was thrilled to say that they found there were no hidden costs involved with their new venue, they were easy going, a joy to deal with and supplied everything so they saved money. A dream come true for the couple.
This is their new reception venue! Wow!
The moral of this story?
- Ask LOTS of questions when choosing a venue. Rebecca thought they were asking great questions - but they didn't cover some vital issues.
- Listen to your intuition
- Don't only choose a venue for it's looks - get to know the people who will be planning and hosting the event.
So what questions are essential to ask your venue? Here is a list to print out and take with you to your appointment.
- Do they have the capacity to accommodate your guest numbers?
- Do they have min. max. number requirements?
- When are the final numbers needed?
- What are the packages they offer - what do they include? What do they exclude?
- How many hours do the packages allow for?
- Are the style and décor of the venue in keeping with your wedding theme, ambience and level of sophistication or formality?
- Can they handle the catering and/or a bar? If not, will they allow you to bring in your own caterers, food, drinks and serving staff?
- Can they provide a function coordinator to be our point of contact and to be there on the day to ensure that everything you have asked for is done the way you want it?
- Can you see photos of previous weddings held here?
- What style and condition are the décor and furnishings?
- Can they decorate the room or provide tables, seating and lighting to suit your reception?
If so, what is the age and condition of this equipment and does the venue provide technicians to set it up/dismantle and operate it?
- If not, will they allow you to bring in outside decorators and lighting people?
- Can they take early deliveries? When can you go in to set up?
- Can they provide bar and wait staff, security, first aid, a doorman, valet parking?
- Are staff well groomed, polite and personable and have all the necessary skills, qualifications, licenses and permits?
- How many people will be working on the wedding?
- Will there be another wedding on the same day?
- Do they have a built in sound system?
- Can the ceremony be held at the same location as the reception?
- Are there any great photo locations on the grounds?
- Any restrictions? Including finishing time, noise levels, smoking, parking, outdoor lighting, types of entertainment or equipment?
- Can they cope with special requirements such as wheelchair access, disabled parking, special diets, a room for younger children?
- What are the cencellation fees or overtime charges?
- Are there any extra costs that we haven't discussed?
Have a great weekend!