Maine

Venue woes - need some perspective

Here's the background on my venue problems:

When Ross proposed in June, my first venue thouht was this great farmhouse wedding we went to the previous September.  They had the reception in the barn, and it was awesome.  We're looking at a fall wedding, and the barn would be a nice rustic touch.  Contacted the owner, they "don't do" weddings anymore.  Hours of research on other venues later (so end of August), owner emails and says "they're thinking" about allowing weddings again, and "will let us know" when they decide.  Cute, but I want to book a venue NOW.  So more hours of research, to no avail.  In the beginning of November, she emails saying they've decided to allow weddings again.

So, great right?  Here's the background on us.  We're students, and we're getting almost no financial assistance from the families. So it's all us and our server incomes.  The place rents for $1200 for the week.  Then she tacks on a $2000 event fee.  We talked her down to a $1500 fee.  Nothing is included in the fee, it's a lot of money for a place we're already renting for $1200, but it's THE place, right?  We got the contract today, and now there's a security deposit of $1000 (completely understandable, but not previous disclosed), $100 for the dog (also completely reasonable), and she wants us to get event insurance for $1million.  Also, they live out of state, and want us to use their property manager as a wedding planner, said something about her being there for the day, and they want the manager's husband to direct parking.  This "wedding planner" would be $25/hr, plus the husband's fee.

I'm freaking.  I don't want a wedding planner.  Wasn't planning on one, and can't afford it.  Event insurance.. I see the point, but at $300-$600 it was an unforseen expense.  Exactly what am I paying this event fee of $1500 if NOTHING is included?? 

Do other venues ask for an event fee -and- require the extra insurance?  Shouldn't some things be included?  I need perspective.  I don't want to lose this place, but there reaches a point that it's just not worth the money.  We're already cutting as many corners as we can.


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Re: Venue woes - need some perspective

  • kev'sbridekev'sbride
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    hi~
     My venue didn't have a fee other than the rental fee, which was $2k for the weekend.  they didn't say anything about insurance, just a fee if we did not clean up after ourselves. lots of places have different policies.  What area in Maine are you looking to hold your reception? My sister had hers at the Knox County Gun Club/Beaver Lodge years ago and it was beautiful (and if I had to guess, inexpensive~my sister is a queen at bargain hunting).
  • edited December 2011
    I found a lot of places that I researched were similar to that.  Having an even more expensive rental fee that doesn't include anything.  A lot of places said you needed to get your own insurance as well.  It's really hard planning a wedding on a budget! 
  • edited December 2011
    ugh, I'm with you.  I would HATE paying all those extra fees!  If you are looking for a barn wedding, my sister did her's last year at McLaughlin Gardens in South Paris.  It was beautiful, and I think $1200 for the site fee (parking, etc).  They brought in their own food, stuck the dj in the loft and voila!  beautiful fall wedding.

    In general though, that still sucks.  I'm on a tight budget too and went with Mariner's in Portland.  Very reasonable and the Old Port is wicked fun.

    GOOD LUCK
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  • edited December 2011
    My fiances family owns an auction barn that they sometimes rent out for weddings, its in Mechanic Falls and called the Boyd's Auction Barn. They dont allow alcohol because his gram can't afford the insurance.
  • edited December 2011
    IMO, that's pretty expensive, especially if you are on a budget. We looked at a place kind of like that, where nothing was really included in the rental fee, so we would have had to pay for chairs, everything the caterer would need, as well as get event insurance. Even though we liked the place, all the extra costs were just too much (I was so shocked at how much renting all of the tablewear costs!). And forcing you to hire family members? It sounds like they are taking you for a ride.

    I guess it depends how much you are attached to this place and if you're willing to possibly go in debt to have the wedding there. There are lots of affordable options, so if you're not sure, I wouldn't sign anything. To me, the place wasn't as important as some of the other stuff (including saving money for a house), so whether or not you want to pay for this place is your call. But I would personally be nervous they'd keep adding in little fees, so I would be prepared to fight those or swallow the costs.

    Also, my mom is an insurance agent and she told me when I mentioned that other place and needing to get event insurance that my renters' insurance should cover that. So, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, ask your agent if that would cover the wedding venue as well. That way you don't have to buy a separate policy.

    And, one more thing, not sure where you're looking, but the 1812 Farm in Bristol (midcoast) has a cute barn and they do weddings. Not sure how much they cost, but you could look into it.

    Good luck!
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  • edited December 2011
    To make my previous post even longer (haha), I wanted to answer your question about extra fees. In my research, a lot of places simply charged an event fee, not a fee to rent the place and then another event fee. Some places charged a little extra to have the ceremony on site too, especially in a different place. But having a rental fee and event fee seems excessive.

    At Shawnee Peak, my venue, they waive the event fee (like $2,000 I think) if you use them as the caterer instead of bringing in your own, and hit that $2,000 mark in food sales (which is reasonable since the meals start at $20 and we are inviting about 100 people). So all we have to pay for is the food -- sweet deal! This was by far the best deal we found.
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  • audge12audge12
    First Comment
    member
    edited December 2011

    I know how you feel. It looks like they are tacking on a lot of extra charges.  I was married at a place where we had to rent everything and it got really price.  One place you might want to check is Cliffside Lodge in Poland.  It's a beautiful log cabin perfect for a fall wedding.  I went to a wedding there last year and asked my friend what is was to rent.  It's $4,000 but that includes all tables, chairs, and sleeping for 20 people for the whole weekend.  All said and done it's a really great deal.

  • jena.n.rossjena.n.ross
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011

    McLaughlin Garden is in my top three.

    Working with an agent from  www.totaleventinsurance.com I got a quote of $109.  I feel this is pretty reasonable (if you cn get over the gall of it not being included in the event fee).

    Still waiting to hear from the owner if she thinks we're going to pay for her manager.



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    **Current VistaPrint Groupon - $17 gets you $70(good 'til 11/8)**

    **New project in the works: Follow my Twitter for more Groupon (etc) deals!**

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  • edited December 2011
    OOO I have been to hell and back with hidden fees and "hidden information" we have settled on 3 yes 3 places and they have all fallen through due to outrageous expenses never disclosed! With that said where are you looking? The 1812 Farm sounds great I've been speaking to her and the facilty fee is $3200, we are still considering it but would have to cut many cornersI have also contacted the Round Top Farm (that was reccomended to me by someone on here last year.. angeliza I think but at the time I wasn't convinced) The more I have thought about it I think we are leaning towards the RTF and best part the deposit is only $500. If you are creative and want to tackle DYI projects and a blank canvas like I do then you can have an incredibly georgous wedding very affordable. I am still waiting to hear back from RTF with some questions but I'm thinkng this will be official soon.  I also contacted a few caterers and so far received a quote today of 22.50 per person for a mixed grill or chicken, sirloin, and salmon with a good array of other foods, and they have stellar reviews.... best part you can bring your own alcohol and they have a bartender for hire... for me personally this is great because we want open bar as we are asking people to drive 3-5 hours.  I've done tons of research let me know if I can help!
  • edited December 2011
    sorry I meant the facilty fee is $500 not the deposit :)
  • jena.n.rossjena.n.ross
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    lol. what's funny to me, is that Round Top Farm is also in my top three! (along with McLaughlin Gardens and the farm I'm trying to rent.)  My only concern with RTF is that for me, I'd have to rent it additionally for the day before and the day after.  It rents midnight to midnight, and I just don't want to cram all the set up (even with lots of friends) the ceremony, the reception, and the tear down, all in one 24 hour period.  So for me, that's $1500. 

    My scientific mind wants to quantify every dollar, and I feel like if I'm going to spend $1500 on RTF, I might as well spend $1500 plus the $109 event insurance and get the place I really want (since I want a weekly rental anyhow, my plan is forego a honeymoon and spend that week with the people that flew in for the wedding).  Then I'd have a couple of days to set up, time to break down, no transportation worries, I can have stuff delivered the day before... Can you tell I've been obsessing and trying to justify costs to myself?! :P 

    I also looked at http://www.mahoosucmountainlodge.com/index.html
    http://www.vrbo.com/158535
    http://www.thelobsterbarn.com/page3.php
    http://www.joneslanding.net/

    that were all fairly reasonably priced.  In addition to http://www.mclaughlingarden.org/facility-rental.html which rents for $500 + $225/hr (so again, for me, at least $1500, most likely more).

    Also, though further north, in Bangor there's http://www.bangory.org/content/272/Isaac_Farrar_Mansion/ which is a mansion, up to 150 people, it's four rooms, you rent by the room at $40. So 4 rooms x $40 x 5 hours =$800 and my SIL(to be) says the wedding she went to there was really nice.


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    **Current VistaPrint Groupon - $17 gets you $70(good 'til 11/8)**

    **New project in the works: Follow my Twitter for more Groupon (etc) deals!**

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  • Gina MaeGina Mae
    100 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Cliffside lodge in poland is a great place.  http://www.cliffsidemaine.com/

    check them out!  it isn't a barn but it is a great lodge and like pp says they have sleeping for up to 20 people.  There website says that they are exclusive with belle fete catering but if you ask they will let you bring in your own caterer or might even let you make your own food.  It is worth a look!
  • HE&MEHE&ME
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Not sure how far up the coast you want to go, but I can also tell you Beaver Lodge is a great place and right on the water. Camp Kieve is another.  I don't know what their rates are but last I knew they were both relatively inexpensive and easy going about what you could bring in.  Cindy Lang owns a nice farmhouse and barn that she rents out for weddings, it's in Tenants Harbor, you might look her up online.  Hope this all works out for you, let us know how you're doing.
  • edited December 2011
    I was the one who recommended RTF to tbrandl originally and I have to say, I would recommend them to you too. If I'm understanding correctly the venue you really want would be $1500 PLUS an event fee PLUS insurance and Round Top doesn't require the insurance or the extra event fee. Your top choice venue trying to force you into hiring their event planner and parking attendant is a huge red flag for me. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding that took place at RTF and it was awesome. No hidden fees, no pressure, very very convenient and the wedding ended up being just beautiful.

    For my own wedding, I rented a lodge on the lake called Jamaica Point Lodge in Rome, ME. For the dates I was interested in, the place would rent for a weekend for up to 12 overnight guests for $1200, but it sleeps up to 20, you just have to pay an extra $50 per overnight guest if you have more than 12. They also charged a $15 per head "event fee" on top of the rental fee for each guest at the wedding which didn't include anything either, I still had to bring in my own food, rent tables chairs and linens, etc. The way they explained this event fee to me was that it covered the extra stresses to the systems, extra utility usage, and general wear and tear of having a large group there. I didn't like it much, but my venue was my absolute dream venue so I sucked it up and paid it. They didn't require me to get insurance... I should have made sure before hand that they had some kind of insurance that would cover us if anything happened, but I took a risk and just went ahead without knowing for sure and luckily nothing happened. Like a previous poster mentioned, you can sometimes get one day event insurance through your renters or home owners insurance for like $50.

    HTH!!
  • jena.n.rossjena.n.ross
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    You guys make me laugh!  The farmhouse in Tenant's Harbor is actually owned by Cindy Lang's brother and sister-in-law, so I'm actually dealing straight with them.  They've just decided to allow weddings again, we went to the last wedding on the property, September 2008.  It's the dream venue, the one I've been thinking about since Ross proposed. 

    So costs:
    $1200 for the week, $1500 for the event fee, $109 for the insurance, $100 for the dog, and $1000 Security deposit that we'll get back. 

    The only thing holding us back, is the event manager issue.  We're going to try and talk to her this weekend, and hash that out.  I'm hopeful, but stressing about it.


    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    **Current VistaPrint Groupon - $17 gets you $70(good 'til 11/8)**

    **New project in the works: Follow my Twitter for more Groupon (etc) deals!**

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Bio ~ A Bride's Guide to VistaPrint * www.vistaprint-goddess.weebly.com

    "In my book you're a VistaPrint goddess" --Hannah

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