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How to handle last minute catering change by venue??

Hello ladies! I recently just had my venue coordinator tell us we were not allowed to have a plated dinner. We have been planning on a plated dinner for 5 months and now they have decided to switch to "buffet only" catering. This is extremely disappointing since I've been imagining my guests having the convenience of a plated dinner the entire time. The venue says that they can still serve the same food we had already agreed upon, the only difference is that the guests will have to line up at a buffet to get it. They insist we send out RSVPs that allow our guests to choose their meal choice and then that is how many of each option they will serve on the buffet. My concern is how do we make sure the guests only take from the buffet what they initially chose in the RSVP? Anyone have any solutions on how to make this work? I'm beyond frustrated with this change and I have no idea how to handle it. Thanks!
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Re: How to handle last minute catering change by venue??

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    That IS frustrating, especially since you specifically wanted a plated dinner. I would ask the venue how they intend to make sure guests take what they signed up for.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    Oh, I did ask that. They suggested I put a note on my invitation letting guests now how important it is to make sure they stick to their meal choice. Ridiculous and tacky!
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    You can't control what people do when they get up to the buffet.  Sorry I think that's a really sucky thing to do to a client.  What they told you to do makes you sound like a mother scolding her child.
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    If your venue is going to make you switch to a buffet then they should have it work like a normal buffet. I would be so confused if I marked a meal choice and then showed up to a buffet. I also guarantee that there will be people who don't remember what they asked for or they will take one of each thing and you will run out of food. 

    Everyone I know that goes to an event with a buffet usually samples a little bit of everything. This sounds like a logistical nightmare. Do you have it in your contract that you are supposed to have a plated dinner? If you do, and they still insist on you doing a buffet, I would tell them that the buffet would be done on my terms and that wouldn't include monitoring guests food choices and intake at the buffet. That is crazy!
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    Hello ladies! I recently just had my venue coordinator tell us we were not allowed to have a plated dinner. We have been planning on a plated dinner for 5 months and now they have decided to switch to "buffet only" catering. This is extremely disappointing since I've been imagining my guests having the convenience of a plated dinner the entire time. The venue says that they can still serve the same food we had already agreed upon, the only difference is that the guests will have to line up at a buffet to get it. They insist we send out RSVPs that allow our guests to choose their meal choice and then that is how many of each option they will serve on the buffet. My concern is how do we make sure the guests only take from the buffet what they initially chose in the RSVP? Anyone have any solutions on how to make this work? I'm beyond frustrated with this change and I have no idea how to handle it. Thanks!
    I'm sorry but if you contracted them for a certain catering option (in this case a plated meal) then they should stick to what they were hired for and what the contract you signed with them states. Just because they decided to change how they do business does not mean that they should change all already contracted agreements.  It would be like if you signed a contract to pay them $1000 and they decided to raise prices and then tried to increase your price as well.

    When is your wedding?  If you haven't sent out invites then it is probably more then 2 months away.  If I were you I would review my contract and see if there is anything in there that states that the caterer is allowed to make any changes to what was contracted at any point.  If not, then I would tell them that they either stick to what was contracted or demand your deposit back since they are breaking the contract.  I would also start looking into other caterers ASAP.

    If anything, your current caterer should provide you a discount for the change and provide enough food so that your guests can eat whatever they want.

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    Unfortunately the plated dinner is not in our contract. It just states that we are not allowed to have outside caterers. Plated dinners were an option when we signed our contract so I would think they would have to honor that. Apparently they disagree. Thanks!
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    That really sucks and I would be pissed. And I've never heard of having to have your guests provide a meal choice for a buffet. That's crazy! Is it too late to find a new caterer? 
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    Well they are our ceremony venue, reception venue, and caterer all in one. I think it would be an even bigger frustration to try to change locations and hire a new caterer. I will be insisting that they stick to what we originally agreed upon, but I'm not sure if that'll work out. 

    Also, they insist the reason they are changing is because they have not had enough staff or kitchen space to perform plated dinners in a reasonable amount of time. So I am nervous to insist they do plated when they feel unable to do it well.
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    In that case I don't know if I'd be insisting on a plated meal.  But I would explain that if they are doing it buffet style, people assume...that it's a buffet!  I agree it would probably be more of a hassle trying to find new vendors for everything.
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    Then tell them that if they are going to set the food up as a buffet then it needs to be treated as a buffet and that your guests should be allowed to choose whatever and however much they want.  This venue needs to be a bit more easy going because of the fact that they are changing shit on you at the last minute.  And for them to push you into telling your guests that they are only allowed to take what they chose in the invitation is ridiculous.

    Are you going to be able to reprint your RSVP cards?  If you are having a buffet now then having meal options listed would be pointless and confusing now.

    I would be pretty pissed with your venue and I would be very pushy and strong worded when you talk to them.

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    Oh, I did ask that. They suggested I put a note on my invitation letting guests now how important it is to make sure they stick to their meal choice. Ridiculous and tacky!
    Say what?!  So they put it off on you to be the buffet police?     Grrrr. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    When a venue serves buffet, it is usually the more expensive option, for the exact reason they are asking for guests to make a choice, they really cannot control who eats what, so they have to provide more food than a plated dinner. Did you ask their plan in the eventuality that a specific item runs out?
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    When a venue serves buffet, it is usually the more expensive option, for the exact reason they are asking for guests to make a choice, they really cannot control who eats what, so they have to provide more food than a plated dinner. Did you ask their plan in the eventuality that a specific item runs out?

    They have to provide more food, but far less staff typically. Every caterer we talked to, the service charges outweighed the food costs.

    I would not be afraid to be a pushy bitch in this circumstance. Your venue is being ridiculous. Threaten (and do) poor reviews everywhere.


     

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    Yes, I did ask. That is when they came back with the response that I need to let my guests know how important it is that they stick with their choice. It's completely ridiculous, but my options are limited now.

    I have not printed the RSVPs yet. I actually had to put the printing on hold as soon as I found out. 

    And one of the reasons we chose plated is because it was cheaper. 

    It just blows my mind that they can change things on us this late in the planning. 
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    Yes, I did ask. That is when they came back with the response that I need to let my guests know how important it is that they stick with their choice. It's completely ridiculous, but my options are limited now.

    I have not printed the RSVPs yet. I actually had to put the printing on hold as soon as I found out. 

    And one of the reasons we chose plated is because it was cheaper. 

    It just blows my mind that they can change things on us this late in the planning. 
    I would tell your venue that you will not be doing the bolded and that since they decided to change things then they need to provide more food at zero cost to you.  This is their problem to solve because they decided to change things around.

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    @Maggie: Oh I will be! The more I think about this the more frustrating it is. It just seems as though they know they don't need to make any concessions to me because they pretty much know I can't change venues or caterers now. Thanks!!!
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    Yeah, that's ridiculous. The whole point of a buffet is that you get to check out the food and pick what appeals to you. I've even seen people go up for seconds after everyone else has been served.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    @JillianNutter - I am frustrated for you.  They are basically throwing their hands up and saying "not our problem."  I would be leaving a very not nice review about them once your wedding is over with.

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    How rediculous! I would be pissed if I were you. Also, as a guest if I saw a buffet policing statement on the invite (or in sign form), I'd passive-aggressively take a shitload of everything.
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    Yes, I did ask. That is when they came back with the response that I need to let my guests know how important it is that they stick with their choice. It's completely ridiculous, but my options are limited now.

    I have not printed the RSVPs yet. I actually had to put the printing on hold as soon as I found out. 

    And one of the reasons we chose plated is because it was cheaper. 

    It just blows my mind that they can change things on us this late in the planning. 
    I would tell your venue that you will not be doing the bolded and that since they decided to change things then they need to provide more food at zero cost to you.  This is their problem to solve because they decided to change things around.
    So much this. Stick to your guns and don't let them push you around. I've never heard of RSVPing for and sticking to a meal choice for a buffet. That's ridiculous. They need to get their shit together.

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    Jen4948Jen4948 member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    edited June 2014
    Yeah, that's sucky. Their response is really not only rude but extremely bad customer service. How the heck can you be responsible for what your guests take from a buffet unless they expect you and your FI to stand there and monitor it the whole night? I think a long talk with the venue coordinator is in order. At the very least I think they owe you a significant discount off the price of the buffet.
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    They're pissing me off, and I'm not even involved!  Good luck getting the best resolution out of the situation, OP.  The ladies have good suggestions.



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    JoanE2012JoanE2012 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited June 2014
    When is your wedding?  Honestly, with the crap they're pulling, if I had enough time and would lose just my deposit (provided it wasn't some crazy amount), I'd look somewhere else.

    ETA: spelling
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    indianaalumindianaalum member
    5 Love Its First Comment First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    did you have a contract where it stated it? If so, perhaps point that out to them. they are required to obey by that

    I would be livid if i were you. they totally risk running out of food this way. 

    my suggestion is to complain like hell if they offered you something else first...and hopefully, it was stated in your contract somewhere
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    Yes, I did ask. That is when they came back with the response that I need to let my guests know how important it is that they stick with their choice. It's completely ridiculous, but my options are limited now.

    I have not printed the RSVPs yet. I actually had to put the printing on hold as soon as I found out. 

    And one of the reasons we chose plated is because it was cheaper. 

    It just blows my mind that they can change things on us this late in the planning. 
    So they are now charging you more too?????/// oh, i would threaten a lawsuit. i am not normally a complainer but i would tell them to keep it the way it WAS OR YOU will sue them and/or write bad reviews. TOTALLY unprofessional on their end.

    it is their responsibiliy to hire more staff then if they are short handed
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    Wedding is 3 months away. It might be possible to change venues, but due to other factors, there are not many available venues in the same area. We would be forced to move our wedding to a further location which would result in us basically having to plan an entirely new wedding in 3 months. 

    I am trying to set up a meeting this week with the venue's owner. Hopefully we get some sort of solution. This has been completely exhausting and has really put a damper on wedding planning.
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    Thank you all!
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    Good luck with your meeting at the venue. Come back and tell us how it goes.
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    Please update when you can! 
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    Best wishes!  Please update us!
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