Thursday, April 1, 2010

Venue Issues!

Ughh.. my least favorite part about wedding planning is when things don't work out the way they're supposed to. I've been wanting to share more DIY projects with you all, but we hit a major snafu in our planning this past Monday and I've been too stressed out to work on anything. Basically what happened was..

Our original venue was going to be used for both the ceremony and the reception. When we booked them, they informed us of an approved list of caterers that they provide to all of their couples, however if we weren't able to use any of them or if we just wanted to use someone else, we could. We just had to have them approved and have the restaurant/catering company fax their proper paperwork over to our venue. Awesome. No problem right? Well this past Monday, I decided to email the Events Coordinator at our venue to check in on things and to see if our caterer that we had booked had contacted her yet. She replies with this.. "In the Fall, we sent out an email or letter to all of our 2010 brides, letting them know about our new catering policy. The approved caterers on our new list are the only caterers we allow to cater here now." WHAT?! I never received an email or a letter, and I sent her an email telling her this. This hasn't been the first time that our venue had done something like this and to be frank, they have been awful to work with. So basically, the caterer that we booked and paid a deposit for already was no longer usable.

That was the last straw for me. My fiance was very upset. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if we hadn't found such an awesome caterer that fit into our budget wonderfully, and if the approved caterers list had been condensed since we received our copy of it at our contract signing. Plus, 2 of the caterers are already booked, and 1 of them has a conference on our wedding day. So that basically left us with having to use our venue as our caterer at roughly $21.99-$25.99 per plate on top of a 18% gratuity. Not budget friendly at all. So I was talking to my mom and my older brother about our dilemma, and my brother says, "A friend of mine is the owner of a local reception banquet hall here in town. I could give him a call and see what he could do." Well as luck would have it, the couple that had June 12 booked at his reception hall had canceled their wedding because they broke up that very day about 4 hours prior. So we arranged to go see it the following day (Tuesday). The owner was such an awesome guy, and VERY accommodating. He understood our issue and since he knew my brother, he knocked off $1000 of his Platinum Package deal, which include a DJ, linens, a caterer, day before set-up, next day accommodations, free security, dressing rooms.. I could go on and on. Plus the banquet was sooo nice! Way nicer than what we had booked for our reception already. So my fiance and I booked it.

Now we were at 2 reception venues, 1 ceremony site, 2 DJ's, and 2 caterer's. Oh boy. So yesterday afternoon, my fiance and I decided to perform negotiations and damage control. Basically we still wanted to be married outside, which we still had at our orignal venue. First, I took care of our originla DJ. We never signed a contract with him or gave him a deposit, so that would be the easiest to cancel first. He totally understood our situation, and we ended things on great terms. Now between our prevous caterer and our original venue, my fiance and I decided to each take one. I decided to call the venue, and he took the caterer. We never signed a contract with the caterer, but we did give him a $150 deposit. As luck would have it, he was awesome about the situation as well, and my fiance drove over there today to retrieve our $150. Score! I contacted the supervisor at my original venue. Basically the cost breakdown was as follows: The outdoor ceremony garden cost $500, and the indoor reception room was $400 to rent. So when we signed the contract, we were required to put down half ($450).

I called up the supervisor, and basically just told her due to what we learned on Monday that we decided to switch to a new reception venue since it was a lot cheaper (and a lot nicer, but she didn't need to know that =)). Then, I told her that I was hoping we could negotiate us just using the outdoor ceremony site, and to cancel the indoor reception room. She followed up with, "So you've probably paid $450 already correct?" I told her yes, and I waited for her answer. A few moments later, she replied, "Sure! That is no problem at all. We won't charge you for cancelling the room." What!? Seriously?! No penalty? Nothing? In our contract, it states that if we cancel a site on their property with more than 31 days before the wedding that we would be required to still pay half of the room rental's fee, which would have been $200 since the indoor reception room rents for $400. But she was very nice and understood how the caterer situation kind of put us in a tough position. So she just simply asked if she would be allowed to release the indoor reception room for another couple to rent, and I told her absolutely, and she told us that we just owe $50 to cover the remaining cost to rent the outdoor ceremony space, as well as the rental fee of the chairs that we will need (which we knew about from the beginning.)

So in the end.. everything has worked out!! I couldn't be happier. Now back to those invitations..


Erica said...

that is so great! i'm glad you got a great deal on a better reception space and that the ceremony place didn't try to gouge you for cancelling.

Think Thin Thoughts said...

wow congrats!!!!
that is super wonderful..
i was going to say that if your original venue didn't permit you to use that other caterer, then you could have argued that one out and they probably would have given in since you had not been given notice of the change and had made a financial deposit towards that caterer.
all in all though, congrats!

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