Post # 1
When FH and I were venue hunting were were sure of 2 things, we wanted a casual, laid back place (ie not ballroom) and we wanted fantastic food.
We agreed to his first choice The Old Lantern. Rustic barn, open beams, pretty grounds and good prices. We had been to a wedding there over the summer and it was a good time.
Now that we’re really starting to dig into the planning aspects I am realizing that it was a BIG compromise on the “fantastic food” part. We went to an open tasting in November (they don’t do individual ones) and while the food was really tasty, the presentation was terrible. I worked in the restaurant and catering industry for almost 15 years (throughout highschool, college and law school) so I know food costs and I know presentation…and from my experience, we are seriously getting screwed over.
For example: Their Vermont cheese board is $8 per person, which I would be fine with if it were artisan cheeses, breads, and olives etc with beautiful presentation, but it’s not. It’s a wheel of brie, cubed colby and jack on a silver tray with grapes. NOT worth $8.
Changing venues is NOT an option, especially this late in the game. The question is, how do I broach this topic with our sales contact and wedding planner on site? I don’t want to offend them but they need to know that they are seriously rough around the edges when it comes to presentation, and as a detail oriented virgo, that’s not really acceptable to me.
Post # 3
@TerraWellness: This will be a lame post as it wont be helpful in anyway…i just wanted to say that i really love your venue, it looks gorgeous. As for the food, it may not be mind blowing superb but it sounds yummy…i dont know how much you can approach them about it though as you signed a contract with that food for that price….I would talk to them anyways and see how it goes…..good luck!
Post # 4
@Baileyh thanks. I really do like it there. It’ definitely has the rustic vintage feel of old Vermont that we’re going for. The food is definitely yummy, it’s the presentation that is lacking.
And there has been some confusion about the pricing. For example – they quoted me $18/pp for open bar, but it says $16 on the website. We’re getting 3 entrees – 2 from tier 1, 1 from tier 2 – but they quoted us as if we were getting 3 from tier 4….so BIG pricing confusion.
It’s like, how do you tell someone they look sloppy without offending them?
And if you can’t tell them they’re sloppy, what can you do to detract from it, or make it look better?
Post # 5
@TerraWellness:This sounds VERY much like our first venue (we ended up changing venues because of the food)….great venue, but the required caterers were very overpriced and their food was hideous (FI is a chef).
It’s very possible that they will work with you on menu/presentation once you explain to them that you are in the industry. They will charge you more, but if you actually set up a meeting with the person in charge of the food, you can probably work something out.
Post # 6
@TerraWellness: yeah i totally agree and see what you are saying. I think you should arrange a meeting saying you would like to discuss the pricing and then casually bring up how you are in the buisness and are concerned about presentation. Make the meeting more about the pricing and getting a finalized quote rather then “attacking” their presentation skills *laugh*
Post # 7
@nmsoonerbride I’m not in the industry anymore, but I was for many years.
I think a big part of the problem is that I’m doing the planning via email- and they are extremely hard to get a hold of on the phone – I am in NJ. They’re basically closed during the winter months, and won’t reopen until late march – but I want to meet with them in person to go over things – which we haven’t been able to do (other than the open tasting in November).
Post # 8
I would right out a very detailed email telling them your concerns, but first praising them on things they deserve. (so they dont get defensive from the start) and say you would like to speak to them about these points rather than communicate via email and propose a time to call them.
Tell them there is a discrepancy via the contract and the website, and that you would like them to honor the advertised price as this was one of the reasons you booked with them.
Then ask them if you could assist them with the presentation because you would like the food to “match their lovely venue” or some such thing. Tell them you worked in the business for years and have some great ideas for little to know cost to them.
Lay on the flattery and you will likely get more amicable and willing people to work with you.
Post # 9
Don’t get the cheese plate?
In all seriousness, what food do they do well? Maybe focus on those additions.
Post # 10
Definetly speak up. I would call and say that you have some concerns that need to be discussed. For one – the open bar. Point out that you saw it for $16 on the website and that your price needs to be adjusted. Secondly, you were dissapointed with your tasting and expect more for what you are paying. Explain that you’d like to either see more added to what you are getting or negotiate the price. You can say all this while being polite but firm. Don’t worry about offending them, you are the customer!
Post # 11
I am just going to have to wait for a face to face meeting. Hopefully we can schedule one in early march.
Post # 12
Hi, I am so in the same position as you right now! My Fiance and I went to a tasting last summer (organized by the coordinator at our venue b/c we were in town) and were TOTALLY TOTALLY DiSAPPOINTED–with some of the similar food issues you mentioned above. My mother sent an email explaining her disappointment after the tasting but received no response. She chalked it up to it being the busiest time of year for the venue and that the coordinator got busy.
Fastforward to this past week my Fiance hopped on tripadvisor and the venue has had less than stellar reviews by people staying there. Now I’m freaking out both b/c I’m afraid the food will be awful and then that our friends/family will be upset with the quality of the rooms! Because the venue is seasonal like yours no one is in the office and I can’t decide if I should start look elsewhere or just suck it up and hope that with some added prodding of the coordinator and the hiring of our own DOC it will help it all come together. The contract has been signed and Save the Dates sent out so I don’t want to have to switch venues midstream.
It is such a fine line between being demanding for what you want and the vision you see and pissing off the people who you want to execute it. I just don’t want to make them mad and have them give us lackluster service.
Good luck and keep us posted on what happens in March face to face.
Post # 13
@MDIBride – Ahhh it’s soooo frustrating, right?
I specifically hired a DOC because I am worried about the “attention to detail” thing. It’s really not that the buffet food wasn’t good, it was quite delicious, it was more about the cocktail hour –
I am one of those brides that wants the cocktail hour to really stand out and set the tone for the rest of the evening. I would much rather an amazing cocktail hour with lots of options followed by a great tasting (not as many options) dinner buffet.
I feel like I am going bridezilla over the details on this – like the vegetables werent evenly chopped, celery/radishes didn’t look like it was properly washed, that sort of thing.
Post # 14
@TerraWellness: LOL. Go Bridezilla over veggies, just go for it.
Post # 15
@TerraWellness we are on the same page re: cocktail hour food. I rarely remember or remark on the actual entree @ a wedding prefering to stuff my face during cocktail hour and that is what most people I know tend to remember.
Fingers crossed our DOCs can cover the attention to detail. It seems crazy to go nuts over presentation but we do eat with our eyes 🙂 B/c we were not thrilled with some of the cocktail hour apps we are opting to go all out for things that are HARD to mess up (raw bar, etc).
Good luck and glad to know I’m not the only one with venue jitters.
Post # 16
Idea: Could you bring photos of food that shows presentations that you like? Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot of labor to change food presentation. I am working with fiance’s uncle who’s a caterer and his tastes and styles are very different from mine so I am bringing photographs and recipes to show him themes.
Here’s the scoop: You have time to change things. You have time to clearly explain and demonstrate what you want and don’t want. Do it now so that if you have any regrets later. Better to be a bridezilla now than have grandma eating dirty vegetables.
And don’t worry about offending them. You are a customer and paying them for a service. If I don’t deliver a service, my customers let me know. We are slowly becoming a foody nation – tell them what you want and how you want it – it’s your wedding.
There was a recent post (yesterday?) about a bride who never did a tasting and she was disappointed with some of the stuff the caterer did and didn’t do. Now is the time to speak up – once the party is over – the party is over 🙂