Post # 1
My engagement is 17 months and we’ve got 11 months to go. We booked venue, DJ and photographer early on. When I requested info and called our venue for a tour I talked to the head coordinator – she was nice, and we clicked on the phone. The tour was handed over to her assistant. When we arrived the assistant was no where to be found so a waitress took us around the room and was able to answer most of my questions. Finally the assistant appeared and completed the last 10 minutes of our tour. She couldn’t answer all of our questions but the questions were totally crucial to us booking. A week before and after we booked the main coordiantor answered a couple of my questions via email (it took her on average 3-4 days to respond).
Fast forward 5 months later and I’m itching to have a ton of questions answered before I start buying things. I’m DIYing on a lot of stuff for the wedding including centerpieces and I have a few unique items that I’m interested in incorporating. So I emailed the head coordinator over two weeks ago asking when we could set up a first meeting and not a word. I finally picked up the phone yesterday and and she seemed a little taken aback that I wanted to meet already. She said normally we wouldn’t until a few months prior. In so many words I told her ‘no way’ because I will begin to buy items in the next few months. She was ready to hand this meeting over to her assistant because she’s basically out the door at 4:30 each day. So I told her I’d take the time off from work to meet with her personally. I see how she is with email so bombarding her with questions in emails probably wouldn’t be a helpful alternative to a meeting. She was nice and agreed to meet at the end of the month with me.
Although she hasn’t given me an ounce of attitude I can’t help but feel a bit annoyed by this. My other vendors have had no problem answering my questions 15 -16 months out and I’m only paying them a 1/4 of what the venue will get! Is this normal for a venue? Am I overeacting – should I approach the coordinator differently?
Post # 3
My venue is really similar. They do 3 weddings a day almost every weekend throughout the summer, so they’re super busy. I was annoyed at first, then realized that the coordinator just wasn’t very good at email and was much better when I called and spoke to her directly. She said we really just need to meet a couple of months out to talk about the typical details (who stands where, etc.,) but I don’t think she anticipates brides wanting to change lighting, do their own centerpieces, and so on. Once I explained some of that, she was a lot more accomodating when it came to answering questions.
Post # 4
I would be aggravated that she’s not better at email, but not at anything else just yet. Now you know to communicate with her by phone and in person. Explain your situation at your meeting and come with all your questions in hand and you should be fine.
Post # 5
My venue (and a lot of my vendors actually) were super aloof until last week – two weeks before my wedding. Now I cant get them to stop calling me! I have heard from a lot of other brides that they have had the same experience. So I do not think it is something to be worried about, but I will say that it annoyed the heck out of me too!
Post # 6
I had the exact similar thing happen! We booked way in advance and the event coordinator could never be reached! When we did get a hold of her, she seemed annoyed we had questions and interest in a second tour. It was early on like you, but both my Fiance and I felt uneasy about her and her customer service. We decided we’d rather give our business to a much friendlier and accomidating venue.
The new venue has been wonderful! We have been there at least 3 times, no problems and my event coordinator is a dream! To me, peace of mind is everything, plus you’re paying a pretty penny!
Good luck with your venue!
Post # 7
While it’s normal for some of your vendors to not want to worry about your details until some specific amount of time before your wedding, they should at least be responsive. The fact that personnel from your venue apparently had little interest in even showing you the place (were late to your very first meeting!) bothers me. While I can understand why the photographer, for instance doesn’t want a list of formal photos 9 months out (why? he/she’ll just write it down, file it, and forget it – you’ll have to go over it again a month before the wedding anyway) it would seem like the venue should be different. Our venue’s banquet coordinator started our first meeting with a checksheet of questions I couldn’t answer – rental chairs, colored linens, number of tables, names of other vendors – it really helped me plan. We had meetings about every other month to fill in the things I hadn’t known the first time around, and talk about things I had just thought of. After all, the venue is where it all comes together – they may do all their ordering in the last few weeks before your wedding, but it’s reasonable for you to want to know prior to that what your options may be.
I would explain to your coordinator, in your next face-to-face meeting, what you expect your interactions to be (for instance, that you would like to meet every so many weeks to update information or discuss new details). If she can’t meet your expectations, I would seriously consider finding another venue. It would be unreasonable for you to be out there every other week at this point in time, but wanting to touch base with her every other month at this point is not unreasonable.
Post # 8
Just look at it like this. Reception venues probably have a couple events every week. While to you it feels like you should be top priority, they are probably constantly working on the event happening that week. For you to want to go in and plan almost a year in advance is probaby odd to them. I know people like to plan ahead and get things done. HOnestly, ask her the questions you have whether by email or phone. From experience, planning so far ahead can be difficult. Most likely, you will change your mind a lot. I would suggest just taking a couple months off from planning – especially if you have the vendors booked already, which is the most important thing. Give the venue a break – when its your turn, you’ll want their attention on your wedding, not someone else’s. They know what they are doing. I started planning with the same time frame you had, and I found out that there was no point, everything that I had been doing could have waited until 4 months out. When I had questions, I emailed them, and then waited for the answers, because I forced myself to remember that I didn’t need to know immediately. I know once you get engaged that you just want to do everything and plan it all right away; but you don’t have to. Just enjoy being engaged!
Post # 9
with my experience in a venue business I can tell you that usually a venue prepares everything for the wedding 3-2 weeks ahead of the party.. sooner than that they will forget everything and they simply don’t care to know that early on since like many of you said they have tons of other parties and brides just like you. 🙂
i say you need to talk to them only 3 times.. once to look at the place…
once to sample and make decisions on things..
and once about a week ahead of the party to remind them of everything you told them up to this time.
if you do any more you will just stress yourself out without any reason.
And if you need to communicate a lot, and you feel like too much is in your head just type everything out on a sheet of paper point by point, so when you go to the venue for a talk you can go over everything and give them a paper with an outline to keep.
Post # 10
Don’t forget that in many areas, it’s still prime wedding season. Your coordinator may just be swamped with her September brides, and waiting to get these more urgent events done before she starts looking after her 2009 brides. I’d cut her some slack til October, and write lots of notes so you know exactly what you want to accomplish at your upcoming meeting.
Post # 11
My motivation behind contacting them early is really about my limited budget and finding deals. I’m really starting to find some deals and I’d really like to take advantage of these but I don’ tknow if I can based any issues/policies the venue may have. My Fiance and I have been moonlighting in the wedding industry for the last couple of years so we definitely understand we’re not top priority on our venues list at the moment but I certainly don’t see anything wrong with a little customer service. Whether my event is two days away or two years I’m a paying customer regardless. I’m not looking to pick linens, chair covers and tell them where to put things. As one post mentioned they are probably use to very typical weddings where everyone shows up on the day and does their thing.
I have pretty much taken the summer off from planning as my Fiance are straight out in the summers which is why I try to get things done in our down time. I have some very non-typical requests and ideas, nothing out of the realm that I’m fairly certain they couldn’t accomodate, but I’d rather play it safe and know ahead of time rather than buying stuff and booking things and finding out 3 months before that certain things can’t be done. I’m hoping once she understands my interests that communication will improve.
Post # 12
LONG RESPONSE (sorry):
You’re might not like this response but I would not have booked with them after the whole site tour thing. I would TOTALLY be annoyed!
I’m sorry, but you’re spending your good, hard earned money there and they should have the decency to respond in a timely fashion. I don’t care how far out you are.
When Fiance and I were in the shopping for a venue faze, I contacted the local Hyatt Regency. Not once, but a total of three times. I was really pretty upset over it but moved on because that’s a BAD first impression. Turns out the very same thing happened to my co-worker so they missed out on two weddings (not like they care).
Anyways, I went to the Hilton in my town and got a tour 9-10 months prior to our date. The coordinator there was so AMAZING we put our deposit down right then and three. The day before I had met with crazy, coordinator lady at another hotel, who walked up to me and said, "aaand you are?" even though I had an appointment so I guess they get busy but that’s inexcusable behavior for all of those vendors.
I’ve been pretty easy going and flexible during all of this planning but I would have a MAJOR problem with the whole response/annoyance thing you’ve been getting. You need to put your foot down and/or go over your coordinators head. Then watch how things turn around beautifully.
Post # 13
While I understand that popular venues host a lot of events and have a lot to deal with, I think it’s unacceptable to hold off serious communication until 2-3 weeks before the wedding. Like a previous poster, we went through the Hilton and they have been nothing short of fantastic. I am getting married in November and chose my venue back in February. I have never had a problem getting in touch with my coordinator. I have never been sent to an assistant. I have never had to worry about her saying "I don’t remember what you wanted." She’s remembered things that I’ve forgotten!
Honestly, I would be most annoyed by her apparent lack of interest. You should never hand off your first meeting with a new couple to an assistant.
I am not a bridezilla by any means, but when it comes to your budget and dropping a lot of money at a specific venue, they should be prepared to meet with you as early as you need. Otherwise they should be prepared to lose clients.
Post # 14
I completely agree with Goldfearie. I’m in a similar situation, and I have to say that I’m rather annoyed at the lack of response from our venue. When you’re spending enough money to buy a car for a venue, you expect and deserve a certain amount of service. To me, I don’t care that they may have 5 weddings every weekend during their busy season. In an industry as personal as weddings, customer service should be a venue’s top priority. If they are too busy to field calls and questions from brides (regardless of how far out the date is), then they should hire more customer service people.
We booked our venue, putting down a rather large deposit, a year and a half in advance. I think that if it’s not too early to accept my money for a deposit, then it’s not too early for me to start requiring a level of service from them in helping me plan. Since I’m DIYing several things and I’m in school, I can’t hold off until 3-4 weeks before my wedding to talk to these people (I’d be in the middle of exams!).
Basically, though, there’s not a lot that you can do about it. You can try to explain your situation to them (which is what we did), and we’ve notice a slight increase in the helpfulness on their part. I’m not sure what else we can do, though.
Post # 15
It’s a tough call and I can see it from both sides. The venue probably does weddings all the time and has a rough idea of when decisions need to be made. Since you’re an early bird, they are focusing on others. That said, they should be responsive to reasonable requests within a set timeframe.
Can you call the main contact and outline your schedule and needs? Give the background and explain you’ll be doing a lot of the work, so need a lot of lead time and want to make sure you’re within policy. Ask for a meeting at a time convenient for her. Try to be very focused in your questions and approvals – while you’re paying for the space and have an expectation of customer service, as others have noted, you’re not their only paying customer. If it is not already specified in the contract, outline expectations for response time. 24 hours may not be appropriate several months out.
Post # 16
Just be upfront and clear about the information you need. Wanting to make sure you’re doing things within the policies of the venue should be acceptable conversation for early meetings :). You really don’t have any reason to be annoyed just yet…like you said, your coordinator was taken aback but not mean about it. I would give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she just really hasn’t had to deal with brides planning so early in advance. So you really have no reason to give her attitude back unless after your first meeting you find your questions still unanswered. And to be honest, I think you can probably get everything you need to know from that one meeting and work on your own until it’s closer to the wedding. I’m also an early bird on the planning…we booked our venue 13 months prior and I had a list of things I wanted to do differently. Since I’m doing this long distance, I had a call with my coordinator, ran all my questions by her and got my answers and the okay to move ahead with my plans. I email her periodically, but it’s really more for information like measurements, minor clarification on things we talked about before, that kind of thing.