Wedding 911

Neighborhood trying to shut down my venue

So I got on facebook this morning to see someone tagged my wedding planner in a GREAT article. 

The neighborhood where my venue is located is petitioning the city to shut it down because of "animal house" behavior (i.e. streaking and public urination apparently). My wedding is in 36 days. They have already stripped us of our rain plan and my planned exit. After I had already booked the venue and sent out our save the dates to almost our entire 200 person guest list (like an idiot) the neighborhood petitioned the city to not allow us to tent in the event of rain. The ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner portions of the evening are to take place outdoors with the dancing and cake indoors. Guests can wander throughout the house through the night. The venue is a house built in 1915 so the rooms are small and even though it's a "mansion" it's definitely not large by today's standards. I honestly don't have any idea how 185 people (we have only received 15 declines, but all RSVPs are due 9/15 so still waiting on final headcount) can fit indoors comfortably. The contact at the venue swears it can be done, but seriously? I think if 185 people show and it rains there will be people sitting on laps trying to eat. This is almost worse than my wedding nightmares.  If the neighborhood actually is able to ban weddings in the next 36 days I'm inviting everyone to the courthouse and buying out an entire liquor store and catering 100 pizzas. 

On a lesser note, I purchased sparklers for the exit and a week later found out the wonderful neighbors have decided that is "unsightly" apparently and will call the city if they see it. I'm now doing bubbles, which is fine. But still. Come on! Cut me a friggin break people! 

When my planner broke the news I took a deep breath and told her if it rains get me good and drunk and hopefully I won't notice. It's an El Nino year so odds are good it will rain since we are in the South. 

Anyone else have something similar happen? Or friendly advice of how to fit 200 people in a small space without feeling like a clown car? 

Re: Neighborhood trying to shut down my venue

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Wow.  Well those neighbors sound super fun.

    I would go to the venue and see how they plan on fitting 185 people inside if it were to rain.  That way you have a visual before your wedding day.  This may help calm your nerves a bit.

    I wish I had more advice for you, but I don't.  I would, however, be very tempted to teepee many of the neighbors homes in the area ;)

    MesmrEweMairePoppypinupbride6189
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    I realize it's too late to move your wedding, but maybe you can contest the petitions with the city.

    I wish I had some better advice for you. 

  • Wow.  Well those neighbors sound super fun.

    I would go to the venue and see how they plan on fitting 185 people inside if it were to rain.  That way you have a visual before your wedding day.  This may help calm your nerves a bit.

    I wish I had more advice for you, but I don't.  I would, however, be very tempted to teepee many of the neighbors homes in the area ;)

    LOL - they may not allow a tent - but it'd be funnier than heck to commission some teepees to protect your guests in case of rain! Some of them are downright huge!!!  After having been in some, it'd be a beautiful wedding venue too...  Plus, it puts these "neighbors" in their place a bit because they'll come off looking rather off if they complain.. 

    Also IMO OP, it seems as though you're getting all this information third-hand instead of from your venue directly...  It sounds like the neighbors are being a royal PITA more than anything else and it's worth questioning having your reception there because many of these situations you're dealing with could be considered breech of contract if it was contracted that you could have a tent for the ceremony.  I'd call the venue for a "I'm a nervous bride and need my mind put at ease - what's REALLY going on?!?!".  If what's going on is past the level of acceptable, time to find a new venue, even if that means the local Lion's/KC/Elk/etc. hall in what could be a mutual split...

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  • Oh my goodness, that's terrible! I'm so sorry you have to deal with this!

    Check your contracts. If the vendor isn't able to provide what was promised, can you get a refund and find a different nearby venue? Even if it's not what you initially imagined, you may be able to find a local park or other outdoor space with availability where you can set up a tent, or another indoor space that can seat 185. If it's close enough not to interrupt already-booked travel plans, it may be worth calling all your guests and telling them about a change of address.

    Also, if it's a tight fit indoors, check the maximum capacity of the building and make sure they're not violating fire codes by offering that as an alternative spot for rain.
    MairePoppyMesmrEweOliveOilsMom
  • MesmrEwe said:
    Wow.  Well those neighbors sound super fun.

    I would go to the venue and see how they plan on fitting 185 people inside if it were to rain.  That way you have a visual before your wedding day.  This may help calm your nerves a bit.

    I wish I had more advice for you, but I don't.  I would, however, be very tempted to teepee many of the neighbors homes in the area ;)

    LOL - they may not allow a tent - but it'd be funnier than heck to commission some teepees to protect your guests in case of rain! Some of them are downright huge!!!  After having been in some, it'd be a beautiful wedding venue too...  Plus, it puts these "neighbors" in their place a bit because they'll come off looking rather off if they complain.. 

    Also IMO OP, it seems as though you're getting all this information third-hand instead of from your venue directly...  It sounds like the neighbors are being a royal PITA more than anything else and it's worth questioning having your reception there because many of these situations you're dealing with could be considered breech of contract if it was contracted that you could have a tent for the ceremony.  I'd call the venue for a "I'm a nervous bride and need my mind put at ease - what's REALLY going on?!?!".  If what's going on is past the level of acceptable, time to find a new venue, even if that means the local Lion's/KC/Elk/etc. hall in what could be a mutual split...

    I would totally go for teepees if the city wouldn't fine the hell out of the venue! 

    I had a lengthy convo with the girl at the venue who said she's been doing weddings indoors from our rainy spring/early summer and promises that it can be done, but I think the largest she's done is 130. There is nothing in our contract about tenting unfortunately so it can't be considered breech. I've already put about $10k into the venue alone so to switch at this point would be devastating to my budget. She is trying to keep me calm about everything. She even bought a bubble machine for girls like me who were sad about no sparklers and told me it looks great in pictures. If we get another 50 declines I'll feel better, but no guarantees. 

  • julieanne912julieanne912 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2015
    I'm sorry this is happening :( 

    I agree w/ others that you need to talk to your venue to find out what their plan is.  

    Also, don't stress about the # of people until you have your final numbers, THEN figure out your game plan.  I had almost 200 on the guest list, which was the max the venue would hold.  A couple months went by and I started figuring out seating, and I couldn't see how more than 180 would fit and still have a dance floor, so I was freaking out, losing sleep, etc.  By the RSVP deadline there were still 60 people who hadn't responded.  Now we're 2 weeks out and just gave our final # of 130 to the caterer.  So I had all that stress and worry for nothing.

    So yeah, take a deep breath, and just try to relax a bit :)
    Married 9.12.15
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    MesmrEwe
  • - Has the "no tenting" petition already been approved by the city or is it a what-if type of worry?
    - If the tents are a hard "no", let your planner worry about how to fit everyone. That's not your job if you've hired someone to do it! IF it does rain and IF you all feel a bit squished indoors, try to think of the atmosphere as "cozy" ;)
    - As for shutting down the venue entirely: If your city is anything like my city, nothing happens within just 36 days. If they want to close a historic venue it will most likely take a long while and a bundle of paper work [and the city forcing the business to cut its existing contracts (ie you) would not go over well]. It's good to have a back-up plan in mind but try not to spend too much time dreading something that probably won't happen.
    - The bubbles will look very cute!

  • I agree with finding out what actually is vs. what just seems likely to happen.

    Did you really have nothing in your contract about a tent or what contingencies they would provide in case of rain?  You need to make them figure that out if it was in there.  I think the thing I would most worry about is what is the actual indoor venue capacity according to fire code.  You said the largest they ever did was around 130?  But what is the actual capacity of the venue?  Because even if they CAN squeeze in 185, legally they may not be able to do it.  So first and foremost, I would be checking into what the legal capacity with everyone indoors is and if it's not at least 200 (because you'll have vendors and whatnot, too), then I would be finding any indoor venue (gymnasium, community center, VFW hall) big enough to hold 200 in order to have a back-up plan.
    JediElizabeth
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited August 2015
    If the venue is in a historic district, there are probably all sorts of rules about what can't be done outside. I've heard of neighborhoods that don't allow outdoor clotheslines, visible garbage cans, modern colors and decor etc..The venue owner is at fault for booking an event that isn't consistant with the neighborhood. And you can't blame the neighbors for complaining about people urinating outside - which brings me to these questions - are there enough indoor toilets for your number of guests? Is there any kind of occupancy certificate which limits the number of guests? In our town, these are issued by the fire department. Are there restrictions on hours of operation? If your wedding would violate any of those restrictions, you're probably entitled to a full refund of any money you've given them. 

    Ditto jacques27, start looking for a park with facilities, VFW, ELKS etc.. that can accomodate your wedding. Good luck.

    ETA - did your wedding planner line this place up for you? She/he should have made sure the place was suitable.
                       
    mollybarker11
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited August 2015
    LOL - I think Maggie would be tempted to do this:

    Image result for toilet paper on houseImage result for toilet paper

    not this

    Image result for teepees

    Sorry, my images aren't showing up.
                       
    Maggie0829
  • edited August 2015

    If the venue is in a historic district, there are probably all sorts of rules about what can't be done outside. I've heard of neighborhoods that don't allow outdoor clotheslines, visible garbage cans, modern colors and decor etc..The venue owner is at fault for booking an event that isn't consistant with the neighborhood. And you can't blame the neighbors for complaining about people urinating outside - which brings me to these questions - are there enough indoor toilets for your number of guests? Is there any kind of occupancy certificate which limits the number of guests? In our town, these are issued by the fire department. Are there restrictions on hours of operation? If your wedding would violate any of those restrictions, you're probably entitled to a full refund of any money you've given them. 


    Ditto jacques27, start looking for a park with facilities, VFW, ELKS etc.. that can accomodate your wedding. Good luck.

    ETA - did your wedding planner line this place up for you? She/he should have made sure the place was suitable.


    I totally agree that you should look into the regulations, because @MairePoppy is right in that should you decide that you do need a new venue, any breach of city or fire department code should be enough to nullify your contract with the venue and get a refund. I know what a pain in the ass it would be to have to switch venues at the last minute, but it would be worse to find out that there are more problems with this venue than you know right now, and not have all of the info about what your legal options are to get your $ back.
    MairePoppymollybarker11
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 2015

    Another thought is this - some venues have a contract available as an "in case of rain" venue (they had multiple rooms)..  Instead of the full contract, it was a partial rate (think renting a hotel space for 4 hours for a meeting instead of the full day).. 

    Call around, there may be an option for this somewhere in the area if the extended forecast shows rain for that day...

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  • Sorry I had a busy weekend and hadn't checked on here... Sorry to have posted and run! 

    @jacques27 yes we really had nothing in the contract. Fire code is 200 so we are safe on that. 

    @MairePoppy yes there are enough toilets. There are 3 bathrooms on the property, which should be sufficient. 200 guests is the maximum. There are no grand exits allowed outside after 10pm, and probably no events ending at 12, but ours ends at 10:30 so that should be fine. There isn't any loud music allowed outside so the neighbors are ok with that. My wedding planner actually has had several weddings there this year alone and even got married there herself so she is very familiar with it. I suspect an event that wasn't a wedding or possibly a very ridiculous couple had an event there one time and the neighbors who are all like 70s+ got pissy. 

    I have a meeting set up for hopefully tomorrow with my planner and the coordinator at the venue to go over possible seating arrangements to make sure this is possible. In the insane event that the neighborhood is successful in shutting them down after 40 years or something happens and they can't honor their portion of the contract at our venue they agreed to let us use one of the other venues they manage if they aren't being used. One of them is my dream venue that costs double what my current venue costs so I am definitely going to ask at the meeting if there is a wedding scheduled there! It looks like we don't have to back out of our contract thankfully since they are going to accommodate us no matter what. I just really hope that doesn't happen if the only open venue is their farthest one an hour away! 

    Also, as of today through mid September the highest rain chance is 20% so I'm praying it continues for another 20 days and none of the rain plan will matter! 

    MairePoppyPupatellaJediElizabeth
  • An update in case anyone was interested! 

    We had our meeting with the venue Friday and it looks like our indoor seating plan can hold about 130 guests. If everyone comes we are looking at 142 people right now, but realistically I am thinking about 135. We would scrap our table assignment and just hope to God not every single person wants to sit down at the same time and there would be maybe 15 people floating around. There isn't much rain in the forecast either (2 days out of the next 10 with rain chance over 50%). Our wedding is 10/3 and we can see until 9/20 right now. 

    The venue is hiring some off duty SWAT to keep any neighbors at bay and have guaranteed me that no guests will know of any problems in case the neighbors call the cops. 

    Bad news is they find out on 10/21 if the venue will continue to be a venue or if the house will be sold. 

    I feel comfortable again and just continuing my rain dances to make sure El Nino has mercy on us! 

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I would ask them to move me to the other venue since they can't accomodate all your guests since they can't use a tent avid when you signed they said they could have the tent.

    You will also have to contend with fire code if you need to have all your guests indoors.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    MairePoppyPupatellaOliveOilsMomMesmrEwe
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I wouldn't be satisfied with the venues solution. They can't follow through with the tent they promised so they should move you to a venue that can accomodate all your guests. Minimum hospitality requires a seat for every butt. What's going to happen when dinner or lunch is served, do they expect your guests to eat in shifts?
                       
    LondonLisaMaggie0829MesmrEwe
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree with @mariepoppy - the venue did not provide a good solution for you.  They need to find you a new venue. I would be really, really frustrated at having to stand up all night. Plus, when you don't have assigned seats, people tend to hoard their seat, meaning that they wont get up to dance, to visit etc. It is such a mood killer. I would say that they need to either figure out a way to give you the agreed tent, or they need to find you a new venue at their expense. 

    Also, with open seating, you need about 20% MORE seats than guests as people move and there are odd man out tables. 

    This is a recipe for disaster. I know it seems stressful now, but imagine trying to deal with this on your wedding day. Easier to take care of it now and have good memories of your wedding day than make poor aunt mildred stand for your entire wedding. 
    MesmrEwe
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Possibly leaving 15 guests without a place to sit is not a good solution.  When you serve dinner everyone will want to be sitting and eating.

    I'm sorry but I really don't think this is going to work and your venue needs to offer up a better solution which includes finding you a new venue that can hold your number of guests comfortably.

  • Ok after looking at the list again with a few more responses, I think I have a solution. We have 9 kids. There will be a baby sitter upstairs taking care of them (all are family) so they won't be seated with the adults and if ALL (unlikely as 7 are out of town and 1/2 of those we have never met) of the remaining RSVPs come back accepted then we will have 130 people. I am sure we can find room for one more table which would seat the additional people because when we did the walkthrough there were a few more places a table might fit. There will be a chair for every butt! It may be squished, but everyone will have a chair during dinner. Still most likely going to be clear, but just in case we will be ok. 

  • Ok after looking at the list again with a few more responses, I think I have a solution. We have 9 kids. There will be a baby sitter upstairs taking care of them (all are family) so they won't be seated with the adults and if ALL (unlikely as 7 are out of town and 1/2 of those we have never met) of the remaining RSVPs come back accepted then we will have 130 people. I am sure we can find room for one more table which would seat the additional people because when we did the walkthrough there were a few more places a table might fit. There will be a chair for every butt! It may be squished, but everyone will have a chair during dinner. Still most likely going to be clear, but just in case we will be ok. 
    Just a bit of perspective, if my son was invited along with me to a wedding, he wouldn't be with babysitter, he'd be sitting with us. He's not good with being left with people he doesn't know well and lots of other kids are overwhelming to him. There are other people that I'm sure would agree with this. If the kids come, be prepared that the parents may expect them to be seated with everyone.
    Maggie0829MesmrEwe
  • All except 2 are ok with this since they are FI's nieces and nephews. They are in the wedding party and they are fine. The other 2 kids we can accommodate as 1 is an infant and can't even sit in her own chair. It's just one extra chair. Nbd. No one else is bringing their kids

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2015
    Ok after looking at the list again with a few more responses, I think I have a solution. We have 9 kids. There will be a baby sitter upstairs taking care of them (all are family) so they won't be seated with the adults and if ALL (unlikely as 7 are out of town and 1/2 of those we have never met) of the remaining RSVPs come back accepted then we will have 130 people. I am sure we can find room for one more table which would seat the additional people because when we did the walkthrough there were a few more places a table might fit. There will be a chair for every butt! It may be squished, but everyone will have a chair during dinner. Still most likely going to be clear, but just in case we will be ok. 
    Just a bit of perspective, if my son was invited along with me to a wedding, he wouldn't be with babysitter, he'd be sitting with us. He's not good with being left with people he doesn't know well and lots of other kids are overwhelming to him. There are other people that I'm sure would agree with this. If the kids come, be prepared that the parents may expect them to be seated with everyone.
    I don't even have kids, but yeah, I would not be comfortable leaving my hypothetical child with a stranger.  Even if they were close by in an upstairs room.

    ETA:  Also if these children are invited guests, then they should be treated as such and sat with their parents and other guests.  Not shipped off to another room.

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2015
    You seem set on hoping it all works out for the best. I hope it does, but I have a sneaking suspicion you will be back afterwards complaining about how your venue screwed the pooch. I hope I'm wrong.

    If I were you I would force the venue to correct the potential problems with a new venue or release me from my contract and find a new Il venue while I still had time to alert my guests.

    GL!
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • Honestly @photokitty I don't have the time and patience to first of all find a new venue, contact all my guests, and try to get my money back so that's why I seem set on hoping it works out for the best. I don't have the PTO to take time off and I can't do it all during work hours. I've been fighting illness for 2 weeks stressing myself out over the venue and trying to let bridesmaid problems go, on top of family issues (mom's breakup, cancer diagnosis/surgery, and her getting a new place, then FI getting a job in a new city, trying to buy a new car, and convince me to get a roommate when he leaves). It's been a lot to handle. Too much. My planner and the venue coordinator are positive this will all be fine so maybe their optimism is what's driving that. I'm just waiting out these next 10 days to get the 15 day forecast and see from there. Out of the remaining RSVPs neither FI nor I have met 12 of them so I am secretly just praying they don't come, too, and then none of this will matter because it will be comfortable rain or not. 

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Like I said, and I truly mean it, I hope it works out. You are in a tough spot. I think your venue should give you one of their other locations as you had mentioned was a possibility at one point. I'm sorry you are going through all this and I think they suck royally for not offering a better solution than hoping you get enough declines to fit everyone.

    I would definitely write reviewa of my experience with the company, and not just at the one venue location, but so future couples know that the company doesn't offer acceptable solutions when it a problem on their end. GL!
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    PupatellaMairePoppycupcait927
  • Honestly @photokitty I don't have the time and patience to first of all find a new venue, contact all my guests, and try to get my money back so that's why I seem set on hoping it works out for the best. I don't have the PTO to take time off and I can't do it all during work hours. I've been fighting illness for 2 weeks stressing myself out over the venue and trying to let bridesmaid problems go, on top of family issues (mom's breakup, cancer diagnosis/surgery, and her getting a new place, then FI getting a job in a new city, trying to buy a new car, and convince me to get a roommate when he leaves). It's been a lot to handle. Too much. My planner and the venue coordinator are positive this will all be fine so maybe their optimism is what's driving that. I'm just waiting out these next 10 days to get the 15 day forecast and see from there. Out of the remaining RSVPs neither FI nor I have met 12 of them so I am secretly just praying they don't come, too, and then none of this will matter because it will be comfortable rain or not. 

    *hugs. I really hope everything works out!! That all sounds very stressful.

    Agree with @photokitty about writing a review afterwards about your experience.

  • I'll give them a call in the morning and see if they can do that if it does end up raining. They have moved every wedding from 10/21 and after to other venues in case the venue does go under with the lawsuit so future brides are safe thank God! I wouldn't wish this stress on anyone else! Except maybe the neighbors suing, including the one with the slave statue in their yard. So outrageous. I feel like if you have a slave statue in your yard all of your rights should be revoked, including the right to sue people. 

    Pupatella
  • If I were you I would absolutely make them let me use their bigger better venue you couldn't afford :) Oops, sorry, my RSVPs already outnumber the available amount of chairs, so you need to let me switch :)
    PupatellaMairePoppy[Deleted User]
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