I booked a wedding with the Grande Hall in Castroville. The site is so lovely. I had my heart set on using this place, and didn't even want to consider anything else. I booked here and gave them a check thinking that I would get an email with the contract in it eventually. (I thought everyone in the industry had a contract!) I didn't recieve it, so I emailed the owner who informed me that they did not do contracts. That my cancelled check would be enough to hold the date.
We ended up having to change the date, because of a death in out family, and we lost $500 dollars of the deposit because we were told that they could not book that date again. They told us that we could change it to another date, which we conisdered, but we wanted a contract this go round. The owners told us to write our own. At this point, we chose to cut our losses and book with another venue. I am not trashing this venue... but Brides beware of a place that will not write a contract. They protect your venture, the venues interests and it creates a formal agreement if anything happens. I really wish it had worked out, because the site is to die for... but we just can't take any chances.