wedding venue

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Bridey, Don't Let the Bar Bill Drive You Ballistic... Budget Accordingly!

Bridey, if you know me at all, then you know that I'm a huge fan of open bar at weddings. Don't get me wrong, I totally respect your budgetary restraints, however if you are able to provide cocktails for your guests, then do it! Because, I'm not the only one who digs a few free cocktails (okay, maybe more than a few) in exchange for my presence at your wedding. But, I must warn you, bridey... Should you decide to have an open bar, then plan your budget accordingly. And, plan big! Actually, plan HUGE! Because, an open bar will undoubtedly cost more than you think!

Why? Why will the open bar cost more than you think? Well, bridey, people in general like all things that are free. And an open bar? It's like winning the free jackpot! Right? Do you think your guests give a shit that the bar is costing you money? Nope! As long as it's not costing them money, then they are going to drink their fucking faces off! Isn't that what you do while attending a wedding with an open bar? I do! And, I totally know better, but I can't help it. It's like there is a magnetic pull to the bar that is so powerful it cannot be stopped. 

Rule of thumb? The first hour is when your guests will drink the heaviest. I would estimate anywhere between 2-3 drinks per person. Some will drink less, and some will drink more, but either way, cocktail hour? Yeah, it's all about the cocktails! And, after that? Plan on a drink an hour per person. PERIOD. So, simple math for 100 guests? 5-6 drinks per person. Depending on where you are in the country, this could cost you anywhere between $50-75 per person plus tax and gratuity. No, I am not lying or exaggerating. The numbers are staggering, which is why I am telling you this before your wedding so that you can build it into your budget. 

Because the most annoying thing ever? Fighting with the venue/caterer (after the fact) about the bar bill. Seriously. It's not the fault of the venue that your guests drank more than you anticipated. It's your fault for not planning on it in advance. I mean, I've had clients go so far as to ask each and every guest how much they drank. REALLY? Yes. True story. And, do you think their guests told them they had 8 fucking drinks, puked their guts out, and couldn't get out of bed for two days? Of course not!! They told the bride that they only had 2-3, because people are assholes and people lie. And frankly, bridey, you shouldn't be such a cheap ass and ask your guests how much they drank at your wedding.

Moral of the story? Your guests have no morals. So, if you are planning on providing an open bar for the evening, then plan on your guests living on nothing except booze (and maybe some food) for five hours. Got it? Good! Now, go budget that open bar!

Image via Amanda Douglas Events 

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Why Finding the Right Venue Can be as Difficult as Finding the Right Sig Other... 5 Ways to Overcome Venue Finding Hell

Bridey, one of the most difficult parts of planning your wedding is choosing the right venue. I mean, there are so many factors to consider, and people to please that what used to be a fun experience has turned into more of a daunting task. Sorry, but true story! So, rather than let it get the best of you (and quickly), get your shit together before you start your journey so that you don't end up wasting a ton of your time, and that of those trying to help you. How? Well, let me help you get started before you lose your mind!

First of all, bridey, do your homework. I know that it's super exciting to start the process of searching for the right venue, but before you can even begin researching potential venue sites, you and your sig other need to sit down and determine a few important factors. Do your homework! Because, now is not the time to be impulsive. Outside of the down payment for your house, this is going to be the next biggest expense of your life. So, don't fuck it up by being impulsive and reckless. Determine your budget (give or take). Determine an approximate number of guests so that you know which venues will work, and which ones won't. Determine reasonable accommodations and concessions for your guests... Etc. Etc. Etc.

1. Budget: I know that this is difficult, but bridey, it's the most important factor when choosing your venue. At the very least, try to figure out what you have to spend overall (wedding venue, wedding dress, flowers, transportation, etc.), and what you have to spend on your venue (where you'll spend approximately 50-60% of your total budget). Have a 'worst case scenario', and a 'best case scenario' mapped out, and be honest. Better to overshoot than undershoot when it comes to your budget.

2. Number of Guests: While there is no way to know the exact number of guests this early in the game, at the very least try to figure out an approximate number. Why? Well, if you begin visiting sites without knowing how many people you're going to have at your wedding, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You'll fall in love with a place that will either be too cavernous or too small, and ultimately, you will need to start your search over. Why put yourself through that, bridey? So, chat with your sig other, poll your parents, and set some boundaries (based on budget)... Then go look!

3. Aesthetic + Reality: Really pretty basic, no? Are you an ocean side bride or a hotel bride? Are you a rustic bride or modern bride? What do you see when you daydream? Narrow it down. Start where you think you will end. Got something brewing? Great! Well, now compare what you know about your aestheic against your budget (aka, reality). For example, I know I like modern furniture, but I also know that it tends to cost a shitload more than "normal" furniture. Ohhhhh..... yeah......

Okay, it's your turn, bridey. Want an outdoor wedding at a your parent's house? Sounds lovely! But, stop and think for a sec... Think about renting every.single.item. from forks to bathrooms to power generators (for the DJ, caterer, lighting, etc.)... Yup! Your guests will need to pee,

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Same Shit, Different Bride

Clearly some of you, brideys, just don't get it. Actually, you STILL don't get it because I've been trying to teach you how to avoid this behavior since BB's inception. You just go on your entitled way, copping your bullshit attitude with the people who are trying to help you. And, it's pissing me off. But, more than that, I'm getting frustrated and annoyed. With every five clients, there is always one who makes you question why you help people in the first place; why you still play in "the industry" and why you care so much about somebody else's wedding.

Because it's the same shit, different bride. And, this time, it nearly through me over the fucking edge. Seriously, when I received her panicked message about how "her" venue had the audacity to host another party prior to her wedding, "and how could they do that?" and "there is no way there is going to be enough time for them to turn over the space to make my wedding perfect", I literally jumped up and down in frustration in my office. Nice mental picture, huh? BB, throwing a fit... And then, I became super grateful that I didn't answer the phone simply because she probably would have fired me for the tongue lashing I most likely would have spewed at her. Here's the thing, bridey. Based on her simple decor, minimal equipment and sheer number of guests, the venue could have booked twelve parties prior to her wedding, and it wouldn't have mattered. 

The crazy thing? It all comes down to trust. Yup, it's a trust issue. Had this bride taken a step back and thought about the situation, she might have come to the realization that not only would I not let her down, but neither would the venue; an establishment who has been hosting events, parties and weddings for years. Because the one thing about those of us who have been around this industry for some time is that no piece of business is worth jeopardizing reputation and unleashing the wrath of a bride. Especially now with all of the outlets for public reviews (like Yelp!, etc.) and potential for a bride to chastise her vendors.

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Don't Go Breaking Our Hearts or Busting Our Balls

This post is tough because I TOTALLY get it. I really do. I get it because I deal with it EVERY.FUCKING.DAY. And, I'm telling you that I get it before I even explain what the hell "it" is JUST to cover my ass... So, here it goes. Bridey, shit is going to change. Your wedding plans are going to change. Your guest list will go up and down eighteen fucking times based on family dynamics or lack of guest list control (usually because of your mom BTW...). Your flowers will change a bazillion times based on personal preference, availability and design. Your wedding dress will be taken in and out or scraped completely, but the most irritating, never ending change that for some reason is expected to be "no big deal"? Guess... Duh, look up!

The menu. Bridey, there comes a point when it is up to you to get your shit together, and simply be done with your menu. The most annoying thing in the whole wide world is a bride who continually changes her menu all the way down to the week before her wedding. Be it the passed hors d'oeuvres, stations during the cocktail hour or even the damn salad before entree, it's coo coo. Many chefs, venues and caterers will try to accommodate (particularly if your numbers go UP), but there comes a time when it's just not okay to keep changing your fucking mind. When you're a week away from your wedding, all anybody in "the industry" cares about is the number of guests and how many of each...

So you saw "something really cool" at an event you were at last week. Forget about it. Somebody suggested "that you ought to do blah, blah, blah..." FORGET ABOUT IT! Seriously, don't go busting balls at the venue or with your caterer because now that stupid Philly cheese steak egg roll is "a must".

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ The Key to Understanding Your Food and Beverage Minimum

“I just feel like they weren’t honest with me from the get-go.” Said my very pissed off bride. To clarify, “they” are the venue where she is getting married, and she feels “lied to” because she is “light years” away from the agreed upon food and beverage minimum (determined before I came into the picture) in her contract. The reason I want to make it clear that I wasn’t there for the food and beverage minimum discussion is because had I been at the initial site appointment with the venue, I would have intervened and clearly stated that while the food and beverage minimum is $30,000 (for example), it’s quite likely that she will exceed said minimum. Not only do you have to consider an additional 25-30% for gratuity and tax, but let’s take a look at the word minimum [min-uh-muhm], shall we? According to dictionary.com, the word minimum is “the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.” As in… BRIDEY, YOU WILL SPEND MORE THAN THE MINIMUM.

Once she and I dissected the exact terms of the food and beverage minimum and then proceeded to trim her overall wedding budget, letting go of a few superfluous add-ons we had planned, she simmered down. But, then it dawned on me that perhaps she wasn’t the only bride who felt taken advantage of by the venue. And I understand it, bridey, I really do. Because I used to be the one selling the space!

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ "Entitled Bitch Mode"

Brideys, this has got to stop. I feel like every few months we have to revisit this topic, and every time we do, I get just as annoyed as the time before. So, for the millionth time, ahem… “BRIDEY, STOP THINKING THAT YOU GET EVERYTHING FOR FREE!!”

Where is this stemming from you ask? Well, I was on an appointment with a bride the other day, and I was so super embarrassed, that it was all I could do not to scream, “ENOUGH WITH THE BULLSHIT”, or just run away screaming. And in retrospect, I probably should have run away screaming instead of trying to defuse the situation. I mean, I did actually defuse the situation, but it was uncomfortable, and oh, did I mention embarrassing? Yeah…

Allow me to set the scene… My very well put together, and obviously wealthy bride (which just makes it worse) and I were at her wedding venue discussing next steps with the event manager assisting us with the plans, when all of a sudden she went into what I call “entitled bitch mode” (EBM for short). It was like she was puking entitlement all over the place, and before I could stop her, she exploded.

It went something like this: 

Bridey: “I really need you to work with us on the pricing, Kimberly (the event manager), waving her three carat diamond ring in the air. I really want the foie gras crusted beef tenderloin, but I need you to charge me the seared chicken prices.” 

Kimberly: “Um….” She said with WTF written all over her face.

Unfortunately, my bride picked up on this… And, oh dear God… the EBM was revving up!

Bridey: “Kimberly, do you even realize how lucky you are to have my business? I had several venues to choose from, and I picked THIS one. So, I’m going to need you to work with me, because YOU’RE REALLY LUCKY TO HAVE ME HERE." 

Kimberly glanced over at me for a little event planner to wedding planner telepathy. I got this message all right…with one look, that poor planner said told me that, “this bitch is crazy.”

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Bridey’s Remorse… What to do When You THINK You Hate Your Venue?

We’ve all had buyer’s remorse, right? Be it a fantastic dress, pair of shoes or even something a bit bigger, like a car or a condo. I mean, it’s really amazing how awesome that dress can look in the fitting room, and then somewhere between the fitting room and your closet, that sucker takes a turn for the worse, and when you look in your own mirror, your ass looks like a pumpkin. And yes, I’m totally speaking from personal experience! That dress and my ass did not get along! But, what happens when we’re not talking about a dress; something that you can return without consequence (well, besides a huge hit to your ego!)? What happens when we are talking about the venue for your wedding? Scary thought, right? Yeah…

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I’m starting to see a pattern, brideys… It goes something like this… You secure a venue for your wedding that you are really excited about, begin planning your day, and then you start doubting your excitement as you attend other weddings and events and see all of the cool and different venues that you clearly missed out on. Sound familiar? For some of you, depending on how far away you are from your wedding day, that’s okay. Well, it’s okay if your cool losing your non-refundable deposit (usually ranging from about $2,500 - $5,000), but it starts NOT being okay when you are about a month away from your wedding, designing your floor plan and suddenly you decide that you hate your venue. Yeah, that’s when it starts getting excruciating!

This is How It's Done... Writing a Glowing Letter to Management

Good afternoon Mr. General Manager,

Please excuse the tardiness of this note; however it's taken me a while to determine exactly how I wanted to praise an absolutely incredible manager I had the pleasure of working with at your venue. Ms. Sarah Smith and I began our journey together last August 2011 upon signing the wedding contract of Ms. Amanda Frank and Mr. Samuel Counter to be married at your venue on October 13, 2012. We signed the contract with your sales team after much back and forth finally agreeing on the terms and conditions presented to us.

Sarah was quick to reach out and introduce herself. I immediately found her to be extremely knowledgeable, friendly and encouraging. And that was just the beginning...