10/12 Real Bride Amy: Venue Switcheroo?

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Well, BABs, I guess I’ve officially entered the drama phase of wedding planning! This past weekend marked the one-year countdown to our wedding! We just so happened to have a venue visit scheduled to really start planning. When we originally visited our venue and booked our wedding it was the middle of winter so the property was covered in snow and some sites were not available due to limited access with snow covered roads. Even in winter, it was beautiful, and we fell in the love with the feel of the place. The sales guy that we met with was wonderful, showed us around and was as enthusiastic as we were about things. After the countless other venues we had researched and visited, this was so refreshing. It just seemed like a great fit. We signed our contract and reserved a building that was due to begin construction that spring, 18 months before our wedding. This would allow us an all-in-one location with guest rooms, an inside and outside ceremony spot, and a beautiful reception spot. Sold!

Real Bride Amy: Venue Switcheroo?
Fast forward 8 months. The snow is gone; the sun is out. I mentioned in a previous post that I had some concerns with the coordinator we were assigned to, most of all, she suggested a day for a visit and then told us she wouldn’t be available so she would allow us to explore on our own. Yikes! I ended up calling the venue and talking to one of the managers before our visit.  He said he spoke with her, but we are still paired with her. Needless to say, I have reservations already. The food and beverage director met us to answer so questions before we were given keys to some spaces and set free.
Our format is a little different. We’re doing a weekend mini-destination, hoping to have people come and hang out for a few days rather than a few hours, so we’re renting a house on the property Saturday, hosting a BBQ and party Saturday night for whoever is there, and doing our ceremony and reception Sunday morning with brunch. Ideally, people would come up Friday night through Sunday afternoon, or Saturday morning through Monday morning so we get some QT with our guests and we can all enjoy the activities at the resort.  Sounds great, right?!
The first thing we found out is that the new construction was never approved, and the building won’t be ready so we have to go with a Plan B site. Deep breath. Second, as we were talking about our Saturday night plans, we were told that the house we planned to rent only holds half the number of people we were originally told. Half. Then, small, but still annoying: They aren’t able to offer cake as planned, although they did hire a pastry chef; he just doesn’t do cakes … so I will have to identify a vendor and arrange a separate tasting with them. As we went down my list of questions, everything that I had previously received a “Yes, Absolutely!” to, I now was hearing “Well … not exactly.” *Blood pressure rising* I don’t think I got a positive answer to almost any question. “We can do anything you want for your menu.” OK, waffles. “We don’t do waffles; how about pancakes?” I have some vegan guests. “OK, well they’ll have to eat whatever they can eat.” REALLY?!? After that inspiring meeting and my fiance thinking I was about to become Bridezilla, we took our keys and set out to explore the property.
Our first destination was our Plan B reception spot. It’s located on the beach with a beautiful view, but … the inside left something to be desired. Let’s say it was much more rustic and had more of a camp feel than what I had envisioned. It would be OK, but would require a lot more decoration than I had planned. I was hoping to be budget-friendly and keep it simple. This would need more work, i.e., more money. AND, we were told were couldn’t have access the night before (as we would have with the Plan A spot), and could only get in at 9 a.m. that day, 2 hours before my ceremony! They later gave me one more hour, but that still seems like very little time to decorate the whole space and set everything up. Also, our built in ceremony spot is also gone, and the rain location is this tiny deck space. *Sigh* At this point, I’m super stressed. We checked out the house we planned to rent and explored some other spots on the property and then headed to the bar because I needed a glass of wine!
Real Bride Amy: Venue Switcheroo?
                                                                        Plan B aka Reception Site Option 1
Real Bride Amy: Venue Switcheroo?
                                                                                  But the view, though.
For the rest of the week, I engaged in an email exchange with them trying to express my concern and come to a solution. They did offer me an alternative, but it means a big change of plans!
Here are my options:
1. Stick to the plan. Rent the same house and squeeze in double the amount of recommended people, 20 versus 40 (hope it doesn’t rain). Resort staff will have to stay and supervise until there are 12 or less people to ensure the normal capacity is not exceeded — in other words: babysit. Who knows if all those people will even come up the night before?  Only 10 people could show.
2. Use the lakefront location and get creative with decor, probably having to hire someone or rely on friends to carry out the design while I get ready that morning. Again, hope it doesn’t rain for the ceremony.
3. Do a 180. Rent a much larger house that would safely hold 40+ people, but would require some guests staying there to fill some of the six bedrooms and pay me for their stay to defer some of the cost. Host Saturday evening there. Would likely not be able to bring our dogs as planned since this house is not pet-friendly. The larger house includes access to a tent for the duration of the weekend, so the reception Sunday would be held there. I would have access all weekend to the tent for decoration purposes, but a tent vs. a lodge style venue  may change the vibe of the day. If we can get enough people to stay, this option will cost us around $1,000 more.
Real Bride Amy: Venue Switcheroo?
                                                                                                Option 2
Real Bride Amy: Venue Switcheroo?
So now I’m faced with some big decisions when I thought I was at the point of moving forward and being done with all the major stuff! It’s been a crazy couple weeks, but I’m glad this happened a year in advance!  That’s the only silver lining.

What would you do? Also, do you think the venue should make some concessions due to the change in so many of the initial plans?

 

Amy is an outside-the-box Upstate N.Y. busy bride-to-be! She squeezes in wedding planning between her day job in healthcare, her second job as a makeup artist, an 8-year-old soon-to-be stepson and blogging for BAB as well as a local community blog. She tries to have a social life and occasionally sleeps. In her precious free time, you'll find her snuggling on the couch with her favorites, her two rescue pups, catching up on her shows and eating a snack that is not on the pre-wedding diet. Follow her on Instagram @beautywithsass.