Post # 1
Ugh. So, we’re scheduled to get married at Angel Oak Park in three weeks. I get my invoice from Charleston Parks & Rec today (delayed twice due to snow) and there is a “Misc Facility Note” note of “You are not allowed to setup chairs or decorations.”
We have a small wedding party, but it consists of some older people, a pregnant woman, two mothers with infants, people with back pain, bum knees, etc. Standing is not an option. My wedding planner was totally blindsided and ended up calling to get clarification and got the same bad news. She has two other brides who were planning Angel Oak with seating. She just did a wedding there in November, so it seems to be a newish rule.
We have a rental house on Kiawah Island, but I have never been to it (destination wedding) so I have no idea how appropriate it is for a backyard sort of wedding.
I’m so irritated — if we can’t even sit down, why the hell do they charge a venue fee? Are they charging us to use our 1st Amendment right to assemble?
Of course the invitations were sent, RSVPs are coming back, at least one person has a flight, etc.
Post # 3
If that was not on your original contract I’d fight it. Shoot, I’d start calling the mayors office the county board, whomever is at the top of the food chain there because that is a overly ridiculous rule. Your right, what’s the point of paying for the spot then if all you can do is stand there like every other Joe blow.
Post # 4
That is crazy.
In general I’m a low-conflict person, but I would be raising holy hell with them until they gave in. Like, letters to the editor/calling the local news station/going to the top of the management food chain. Charleston is a huge wedding/tourist destination; letting people plan weddings and THEN slapping crazy restrictions (no CHAIRS in a park? What? This is not throwing rice or dancing on antique parquet we’re talking about!)? Not okay. Not okay at all.
Post # 5
I’d also have your coordinator get in touch with the other brides and have them get on the phone with the powers that be also. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Post # 6
Seriously, though, OP. This is nuts and while I’m sure whatever underling at the department your planner talked to was telling her the truth about the new rules, that’s a crazy rule and with a will and some polite but determined calling, I bet you can get, at a minimum, grandfathered in.
Post # 7
There is not a contract that involves them providing anything. You book the time slot on the phone, they send you a permit application with rules for the renter, you fill it out, and then they send you an invoice for the fees. There is absolutely nothing on the permit application that there are no chairs or decor allowed. They don’t clear out the park or provide any services, it’s still open to the public. I really felt like I was paying for the right to be able to designate a small area for my wedding.
When I booked it, the person was clear that I had exactly one hour, with no time for setup. Being phrased that way, I interpreted it to mean that I had no additional *time* to setup and that all setup and teardown had to happen within the hour slot — not that we couldn’t set anything up!
Post # 8
@lovecacti: that is ridiculous. i would certainly argue this. how can they expect your elderly guests not to sit down. how many guests are you having?
this is a park. do people picnic here (they would bring a lawn chair) or what kind of park is it?
i’m just kidding here but what would they do if you provided everyone with a wheelchair? nothing they could do about that one.
Post # 9
@lovecacti: They aren’t charging you for your 1st amendment right to assemble. You can still assemble, just not set up chairs and decorations.
Most parks (city, county, regional, etc.) don’t allow chairs or decor due to extra coordination and the possible damage to the park infrastructure. They might have changed the rules because one to many other parties ruined it for everyone else.
I’m sorry, but that’s one of the risks of using a public space.
Post # 10
I’d fight it. Worst comes to worst, have people bring gold up camping chairs?
Post # 11
@bitsybee: I agree with you. People fail to realise the amount of money that goes into the upkeep of parks and municipal facilities.
I would say they had to change the rules due to damage done by other events that used chairs.
That said I would probably sneak in just enough chairs for thise that truly need them and shorten my ceremony to ensure other guests are not standing around for too long.
Post # 12
While its unfortunate that some people may misused their chairs, there needs to be some balance between a park being “curated” and being used and enjoyed by the public. There was already a rule that we couldn’t have the ceremony within 200 feet of the Angel Oak, so the risk to the facility is miniscule. Offering permits for weddings and then not allowing the most basic possible wedding provisions is rather silly.
@mypinkshoes: Yes, there is actually a picnic area. So it’s okay to sit down, but only at a picnic table apparently.
Fortunately for us, I did the recon on our rental house and the yard is plenty large enough for the ceremony. Our wedding is small enough that we can just call people with the new address. Phew!
Post # 13
Wow that’s dumb !! If its not in original contract show them that.
Post # 14
@lovecacti: did you have to pay a fee to have your ceremony at the park? i would think if there is a “wedding ceremony” fee, they should allow you at least some chairs.
Post # 15
@lovecacti: I would contact the facility and talk to a real person about it. It might be a cover your butt addition to the contract so they can freely veto anything that gets out of control, but will happily turn a blind eye to a couple small chairs.