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Rhode Island

Ocean Cliff or Belle Mer

HI everyone! We still have not picked a venue. I really fell in love with Belle Mer's Island House when I Saw it, but have been hearing some bad things about them, and I am uneasy to book them. I did really like Ocean Cliff as well, but it didnt have the outside feel I was really going for. What venue would make a better daytime wedding, since we think it would be easier for our guests to attend during the day.
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Re: Ocean Cliff or Belle Mer

  • edited December 2011
    There are a number of Belle Mer brides on here, so feel free to ask specific questions. I think the bottom line with them is that you need to read and understand your contract, and ASK QUESTIONS. The brides who have done that tend to have the best experience. They seem to update their policies often, so some of the complaints people have posted in the past only apply to old contracts. Check your facts and don't believe everything you read.

    Belle Mer hasn't yet perfected their processes, and I think that accounts for some of the less-than-stellar reviews. With that said, though, their reviews for day-of event management tend to be great. Despite some bumps in the planning process, I'm looking forward to seeing them execute my event. 

    I originally wanted to get married at Ocean Cliff, but their minimums were too high for our budget, since only food and beverage could be applied to the minimum. Belle Mer's minimum was lower, and allows me to apply other costs (vendors, linens, etc) so it's easier to meet.

    Good luck - and feel free to ask any specific questions!
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  • edited December 2011
    If you really want the outside feel you could always check out the Regatta Place which is right near Belle Mer.  It is the sister site to the OceanCliff and working with the Newport Experience has been wonderful for me so far.  I was actually there on Sunday to see everything set up at the Regatta for the first time and I fell in love all over again.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://newport.weddings.com/main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_rhode-island_ocean-cliff-belle-mer?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:122Discussion:71a37952-5ac5-4bb3-85e3-a494d68198d4Post:d2574df7-d722-43bb-84e1-037a92745ac8">Re: Ocean Cliff or Belle Mer</a>:
    [QUOTE]There are a number of Belle Mer brides on here, so feel free to ask specific questions. I think the bottom line with them is that you need to read and understand your contract, and ASK QUESTIONS. The brides who have done that tend to have the best experience. They seem to update their policies often, so some of the complaints people have posted in the past only apply to old contracts. Check your facts and don't believe everything you read. Belle Mer hasn't yet perfected their processes, and I think that accounts for some of the less-than-stellar reviews. With that said, though, their reviews for day-of event management tend to be great. Despite some bumps in the planning process, I'm looking forward to seeing them execute my event.  I originally wanted to get married at Ocean Cliff, but their minimums were too high for our budget, since only food and beverage could be applied to the minimum. Belle Mer's minimum was lower, and allows me to apply other costs (vendors, linens, etc) so it's easier to meet. Good luck - and feel free to ask any specific questions!
    Posted by tc1016[/QUOTE]

    I'm not going to bother writing too much because this is exactly what I would have written.

    Also, you need to decide what look you want.  They are two totally different feels.  OceanCliff has a much more old school feel while Belle Mer is really modern.  Personally, my fiance and I hated OceanCliff for OUR wedding because we love the modern, South Beach vibe of Belle Mer...there was just too much gold at OceanCliff for us!  

    Let me know if you have any specific Belle Mer questions.  I have had a pretty good relationship with them but as tc1016 mentioned, this is because I read the contract and asked tons of questions before signing!!
     
  • edited December 2011
    I was down to those two as well.  The deciding factor for me was atmosphere...not that one is "better" than the other, but they are different.   We ultimately wanted the Victorian feel of OC so went with a Sunday morning wedding to fit our budget.  The 40% markup @ BM also influenced us.  But there are other things to consider.  Think about the style of dress you want...a super modern dress wouldn't work @ OC and other details that may weigh into your decision.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.weddings.com/Sites/Weddings/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_rhode-island_ocean-cliff-belle-mer?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:122Discussion:71a37952-5ac5-4bb3-85e3-a494d68198d4Post:cfa53582-ea47-40cf-93a1-68a0a0ef11de">Re: Ocean Cliff or Belle Mer</a>:
    [QUOTE]I was down to those two as well.  The deciding factor for me was atmosphere...not that one is "better" than the other, but they are different.   We ultimately wanted the Victorian feel of OC so went with a Sunday morning wedding to fit our budget.  The 40% markup @ BM also influenced us.  But there are other things to consider.  Think about the style of dress you want...a super modern dress wouldn't work @ OC and other details that may weigh into your decision.
    Posted by CassieDsoontobeK[/QUOTE]

    Just so that mis-information doesn't start going around again, Belle Mer does not mark up vendors 40%.  I actually believe that under the new contracts going around right now, BM is teaming up with certain vendors who will give BM a discounted price so what the bride and groom end up paying is actually fair market value.  I don't know for sure though because I am under the old contract.  BM has been completely transparent with us on the costs of our vendors and there have been no 40% markups!

    Just wanted to clear that up.
  • edited December 2011
    When there is a mark up, it's 30%. And I can confirm that some vendors do not get marked up at all.
    image 208 Invited
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  • edited December 2011
    Ok, but at the time I was looking into them 2/09 the markup was 40% so my statement was correct...THAT was what influenced MY decision.  
  • ayleeaylee member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_rhode-island_ocean-cliff-belle-mer?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:122Discussion:71a37952-5ac5-4bb3-85e3-a494d68198d4Post:8debebcf-f034-4191-8af3-74a92fef3de6">Re: Ocean Cliff or Belle Mer</a>:
    [QUOTE]Ok, but at the time I was looking into them 2/09 the markup was 40% so my statement was correct...THAT was what influenced MY decision.  
    Posted by CassieDsoontobeK[/QUOTE]

    I just want to add that we met with Belle Mer during our planning on 2/14/09 and asked for their quotes for DJs.  I got a 30% mark-up then.
  • ashleym0706ashleym0706 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!  Cassie you have a very good point about the dress. I havent tried anything on yet, so I am not sure what will look good on me, but I do picture myself in a mermaid style dress...more modern feeling, but I also wouldnt be opposed to a more ballroom style dress.
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  • edited December 2011
    Think about what you want for the overall feel of the day and what you're going for with your dress, flowers, decor, etc. As someone else said OceanCliff has a more victorian feel, while Belle Mer is more modern. 
    We looked at both and went with BM. We didn't like OC's rain plan, the fact that once the reception started you were pretty much confined to the room. and the size of the dance floor. At BM we loved the views, that we could dress up the room as much or little as we wanted, and we could customize our menu. 
    As tons of questions, even ask them to price you out if you want. Good luck!!
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://newport.weddings.com/main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_rhode-island_ocean-cliff-belle-mer?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:122Discussion:71a37952-5ac5-4bb3-85e3-a494d68198d4Post:0f5dfdd2-93ee-47d5-9a14-9dec67766088">Re: Ocean Cliff or Belle Mer</a>:
    [QUOTE]As tons of questions, even ask them to price you out if you want. Good luck!!
    Posted by NewportBride710[/QUOTE]

    This.  Ask the venues to price you out.  I found that very helpful.  We actually ended up including a menu in our BM contract so we had a locked in menu price 11 months in advance which really helped us plan. 
  • ashleym0706ashleym0706 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Good I dea! Thanks I am going to do that right away!
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  • edited December 2011
    How many guests would max out the room at Ocean Ciff? They say 225, but it seems small.   Has anyone found it too tight? Thanks!
  • edited December 2011

    I'm also considering booking Belle Mer right now - I am totally in love with it, however the event minimum is high. I was glad to hear some of you think that the preferred vendors you have to use (to meet the minimum) are not marked up.

    I have heard mixed reviews about the service being less than stellar - has anyone had a recent wedding or attended one there and have any thoughts?

    Also, what did you end up doing for decorations (I'm trying to get away with uplighting and candles to keep costs down)? Any band recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!

  • edited December 2011
    I was married at the Island House at Belle Mer July 4.  Do not worry at all about the service.  Belle Mer was AMAZING, especially the day-of.  Execution was 100% spot on and everything was flawless. 

    Uplighting is great in the Island House and so are candles.  I think that ou could get away with just those two things if you don't want to do flowers. 
  • edited December 2011
    Ok - that makes me feel better!

    How many guests did you have and what was your event minimum? They quoted me $50K for a Saturday in October. I have 200 guests and we are looking at the salon.
  • edited December 2011
    I was Island House so our minimums will be very different.  We were $30K for a Sunday in July.  We had 85 guests. 
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