Broke-Ass Tag: real brides


Affiliate Disclaimer NewSkid Row Hotel photograph by Etsy seller StovallPhotography

Photograph available from Etsy seller StovallPhotography

Whelp, BABs. Turns out the hotel contract that I raved about in my previous post got pulled.

Last week Monday, I gleefully took my lunch hour to walk up to the hotel to drop our contract off. The hotel was more beautiful than the pictures. The historic look of the hotel would be perfect for our photos. I ended up more excited about our Plan B than I was about our Plan A. The woman at the front desk was pleasant and the doorman made me smile.

Before I dropped it off, I emailed my hotel contact and asked that he let me know when he’s received it, since I was dropping it off at the front desk and it had my credit card information on it. I didn’t hear from him. I didn’t want to be a pest, so I waited until Wednesday and asked him again if he’d received it.

A few hours later, I get an email from my contact’s boss, the Director of Sales for the hotel. She asked me to give her a call regarding our guests’ minimum nights stay, and a food and beverage minimum on the dressing rooms we’ve reserved.

I knew what she was calling about. It was the exact two things that I had questioned on my contract that were removed. Our guests were going to have to stay two nights to get the discounted rate, and there was a $200 food and beverage minimum. The two nights stay was going to be a deal breaker for us, so I plainly asked if that’s what the issue was, and if there was any wiggle room on it.

The answer regarding wiggle room was a pleasant and barely apologetic no. She was sorry about the miscommunication, but the hotel requires this of all their wedding blocks.

I was disappointed that the hotel made no effort to work with me. With rooms, after party bar tabs and brunch the next day, they probably lost close to $3000. My feelings on these sort of things is always to wash my hands of it and move on. I don’t dwell.

On to Plan C.

Plan C is a great hotel, a few more blocks away than I would prefer, but still only eight blocks from our venue. It’s maybe a little more modern looking than we had hoped, but they were responsive, friendly and gave us everything we asked for. Contract is signed, delivered and countersigned.

It is important to us, myself in particular, to have gift bags at the hotel. I know it’s just a little thing, but I feel like people are spending a lot of money to come in from out of town. It’s a small gesture of appreciation for those who went the extra mile, literally. We couldn’t do that without a room block. I also wanted to make sure everyone wasn’t scattered and could easily attend preceremony and after party things.

So, the moral of my last post was to read your contracts carefully. The moral of this one is even when you do, things can still change, and having plans A, B and C at the ready, is crucial.

Has this happened to any other BABs out there? Have you had a contract ready to go, then a vendor decides there was a mistake made and backs out?

  • 5/3

    Affiliate Disclaimer Newhotel

    Photo available from Etsy seller KevinKlimaPhoto

    Hotels have been my largest vendor disappointment to date.

    Last year, I was really excited to learn that a brand new, boutique-style hotel was being built directly across the street from our ceremony location and venue. Couldn’t get much easier than that, right? I knew it would be a bit pricey, but was prepared to shell out some cash for sheer convenience.

    Last fall, I contacted their corporate office and got a hold of someone there who told me that it is scheduled to open in plenty of time for our wedding, and that they should have someone hired by February at our location to assist with a group block.

    When February rolled around, I followed up with them. I was told that they haven’t hired someone yet, but they believe someone should be in place by March.

    You guessed it! I followed up in March. I was thrilled to hear that they had hired someone, and they were going to start the following week.

    I didn’t hear anything after that, but I gave the new hire an additional week to get acclimated or settled in or whatever before I followed up, yet again.

    I finally heard back. “Congrats, Valerie! Here is some info … ” I emailed back within hours with a question to confirm that I was understanding the information she had provided. Another week goes by and I still don’t have a response.

    “Oh, so sorry, we had a new person start. Yes, that’s correct … ”

    After months of trying to get a hold of someone and being as patient as possible, the terms provided offered no benefit to our guests, or to us other than the hotel’s location. It was simply a very, very expensive hotel that was not worth the convenience.

    I didn’t reply, and I, unsurprisingly, haven’t heard anything from them either.

    So, on to plan B. The next hotel is about four blocks away, which is totally doable. This one started off excellent. Immediate response via email, no penalties if we didn’t fill the rooms, a free upgrade to a suite for the bride and groom if we fill 70% of the room block. There’s a free local shuttle for locations within within three miles, they offer dressing rooms for the bride and groom, bloody Mary bars, etc. Super.

    The deal was great, however, getting a timely response is like pulling teeth. I don’t know if I’m just accustomed to working in an environment that requires a sense of urgency, but it shouldn’t take five days to return an email.

    Lo and behold, a contract was finally provided. It included things we hadn’t spoken about, food and beverage minimums that were never mentioned, and times and dates that weren’t quite right. I was sort of deflated at this point. It had been my perception over email that he didn’t really feel inclined to thoroughly explain their program and services, and instead tossed over a few PDFs and left me to figure it out myself.

    I very calmly and professionally replied, stating each thing that I noticed in the contract that was different than what we had emailed about. This contract had so much legal jargon that I wasn’t totally sure what was going on, so I intended to clear up each and every point I was unsure of.

    He apologetically replied with a revised contract, editing and removing everything I questioned. He said that if I ever have questions, not to hesitate to come to him, and that’s what he’s there for. Turned out that he must’ve copied and pasted from another contract that was a peak season contract which would have included all of those things. Since we’re getting married in October, which is outside of their peak season, none of those things apply. Whew!

    Yay for off-season weddings!

    So, the morals of the story are: Make sure that you fully and completely question everything on a contract that you’re unsure of and also, getting married in the off season appears to be a serious money saver.

    Have you had any huge red-flag moments when dealing with hotels or other wedding vendors?

  • 4/19

    Art Deco Garnet Earrings from Etsy seller DeKaraDesigns

    It’s taking everything I have to not call my bridal shop and check up on the ETA of my dress. I ordered it in November, and they said it would be in, in “April.” So vague. I’ve been waiting patiently, Googling the phone number of every ignored political robo-call, just in case they called ... and didn't leave a message for some reason. You never…

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    If you caught my last post, life has been a little unpredictable lately, right in the midst of preparing for an industry talk at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and trying to DIY these Save the Dates. When I decided to make these myself, I knew that the industry talk was coming, but assumed I’d be able to manage both of those simultaneously. Our unexpected circumstances…

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    Things are clicking, you guys! I mentioned previously how enamored I was with Relics Vintage Rentals and what an amazing resource they were for cool, vintage décor rentals. We made an appointment a few weeks ago, and have finally started making some decision on items and I couldn't be happier seeing this coming together. The first thing we knew we wanted was chalkboards. We chose two…

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  • 11/3


    Source Dress shopping has brought me equal parts excitement and anxiety. You're shopping for the dress. I've never been a spectator for anyone's shopping experience before, and have only been bridesmaid dress shopping once. Ten years ago.  I'd like to add that I sort of hate shopping. I don't like to try on clothes. I have a solid idea of what looks good on me, and purchase 90%…

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    Spring is upon us, BABs, and you know what that means: wedding season is just around the corner! In honor of this fabulous time of year, I reached out to some of my favorite former BABs to ask them for their tried-and-true wedding planning advice. Every bride's wants and needs are different, and it really shows in their answers. Needless to say, each one of them…

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    Up to this point, my and Daniel’s wedding planning has revolved around proposed dates, hypothetical decorations, and just plain uncertainty. However, this is all about to end. Right now, we are elbow-deep in paperwork, but in just a few weeks, on April 8th, Daniel will have his interview with the U.S. Consulate in Sydney, Australia. He will either leave that interview with an approval, at…

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  • 4/1

    Real Bride Peach | I Found The Dress!

    Guess what, y'all?!?!  I found my dress! Wheeeeeee! As you saw from my boutique reviews, I didn't find my dress the first round. Or second. Or third or fourth or fifth!  In actuality, I found my dress on the SIXTH round of trying on.  Good grief, right? I think I stopped counting after 50-something dresses. And let me tell you, for a pretty simple, non-girly-girl, that's…

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