18 June 2018

Venues

Hargate Hall - just one of the wedding venues we visited. There's Clint on the left.
This weekend we were looking at possible wedding venues foe Frances and Stew. We visited ten locations and connected with every one there were both pluses and minuses.

At one end of the spectrum there was a luxurious country hotel with magnificent views. The "package" on offer was complete so that the happy couple would have been relieved of all wedding reception planning concerns. It would have all been done for them.

At the other end of the spectrum there was a rather dog-eared community work centre. It looked pretty good on the website with a silver Rolls Royce motor car parked outside the Georgian building but the reality was rather different.

Seeing the different venues with their pros and cons and costings helped Frances and Stew visualise the kind of wedding celebrations they would really like.

They plan to get married in a church - partly out of respect for Stew's father who is a vicar in The Church of England. Then they want the reception to have a personalised, laid back quality with accommodation on site. We were worried about the prospect of renting a marquee, given both the cost of  it and anxiety about the vagaries of our weather.

We have a coarse expression in the north of England  - "taking the piss". It is often applied in situations where companies or individuals seek to exploit or "rip off" their prey. In the world of wedding venues it appears that "taking the piss" is widespread.

For example, at one venue they said they charged £16 per bottle "corkage" if the happy couple wished to provide their own wine! At other venues the "corkage" ranged from £6 per bottle to £12. What an unmitigated rip off! Clearly a device designed to discourage families from providing their own wine and instead pay over the odds for the venue's own wine bottles.

At one of the venues they talked about evening food provision long after the wedding breakfast. The cost of one roast pork sandwich would have been £21 ($28 US). With a hundred wedding guests the roast pork sandwich bill alone would have been £2100. Now that really is "taking the piss".

Anyway, I learnt many things I did not know about wedding venues - a whole new world to me. When Shirley and I got married in 1981 it was all so much more simple. There were hardly any decisions to be made. Here's the church. Here's the pub. Here's the buffet menu. Here's the bill. It was just like that. Now it's very different.

Thankfully, in the end, the happy couple returned to London having reserved a place in The Peak District. Hopefully, all will be well at this chosen venue in late August of next year and hopefully the father of the bride will still be around to make a coherent, funny and heartfelt speech.

19 comments:

  1. Weddings these days are a real business. A good number of people I know (or know of) hold weddings abroad and EXPECT the guests to travel there. A friend of my daughter is marrying next year in Mauritius and offered to book a room for my daughter at cheap rates if all the guests used that hotel. The price for a modest room for 3 days was £4000. Not to mention the flight there. Needless to say, my daughter declined the invitation.

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    1. To me part of the idea of a wedding union is that it should be witnessed by friends and family not exiled to a faraway foreign land.

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  2. Through the years when I was cooking professionally I catered for many, many weddings...some large, some not so large, and some smaller in number. Some were buffet-style and others individual serving.

    Personally,I'm not a fan of spending lots of money on weddings...but that's just me...how I've always felt...that never changed.

    I married twice, and each were small events (by choice)...but enjoyable with mainly finger foods served...nothing grandiose; but tasty and inviting. I did most of the catering for both myself.

    As I said, that is what I wanted - just my individual desires. I never ever had dreams of the fairy-tale wedding dresses etc., etc.

    I'm sure you will be around to make the speech...just kerb your enthusiasm a bit...or...maybe not! :)

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    1. If it were my choice I would also opt for a simple, economical wedding with no more than fifty guests but it is their wedding and we have to go with the flow...

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  3. You're in for more than a year of wedding planning if the wedding is to be August of 2019. I don't envy you. Small and simple would be my choice, but as you say, it's Frances' and Stew's wedding.

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    1. If it was me I would keep it simple and economical. We have already pledged $10,000. You could do a lot with that!

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  4. Your simple wedding sounds pretty perfect to me. When Dave and I got married, we went to city hall and then just had a party in a friend's back yard. But I can certainly see the appeal of wanting something fancier -- it all just depends on the person. I always thought "taking the piss" meant pulling someone's leg, as in putting them on?

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    1. "Taking the piss" can certainly have the meaning that you suggest but it can also have the other meaning - about being ripped off.

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  5. We got married in church and had a coach to take all the guests to the reception. We had a buffet a band and I think my Dad put a certain amount of money in the bar and when that was gone they paid for their own, lol
    How times change.
    Peak district sounds lovely and it should be day to remember shouldn't it?
    Briony
    x

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    1. Was your wedding "coach" pulled by horses Briony or did they have motorised coaches in those days?

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    2. Cheek!. It was a charabanc, a type of coach. Tom used to clean them out on the seafront in the Summer for extra cash when he was a young boy.

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  6. It is really disgusting to me how the wedding business has gone so "over the top." They have a good long time to plan and try to get the best prices for everything. Planning the wedding for my Princess and her Consort was pretty rough. Especially given the fact that she was doing internship in Virginia, and her maids were spread out all over, even one in Norway. The most beloved Consort was studying for his boards in Cardiac Surgery in northern Colorado, and his family and three of the groomsmen were all in England.

    My best advice to your Princess is to purchase a three-ring binder and put all plans and decision making stuff in there...hair, dress, makeup, church flowers, food, drink, hotels, etc., etc. And, she should not forget that it is their wedding. Advice from elders is welcome but may not be followed.

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    1. That's good advice Mama Thyme. I will tell our princess.

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  7. It seems many younger people these days are making their wedding the most expensive purchase they will ever make, apart from their home.

    And here I am talking like an old biddy.

    Better start writing your speech now, YP! I hope eventually it will be shared with us!

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    1. "Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, may I say SHUT THE **** UP AND LISTEN!"

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  8. Neil, you will be a very proud father on the special day whilst walking your beautiful daughter down the isle.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Yes I will Maria. It will be one of the most memorable days of my life.

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  9. My son was engaged about six months ago and spent the early part of this year searching for a wedding venue. The place they chose railroaded them into making their deposit within a week because the management was changing and wouldn't be able to guarantee prices.
    It sounds like a rort to me and it also sounds like a potential wedding disaster, who knows what the new managers will be like?
    Anyways, nobody was listening to me so I just cross my fingers....

    I'm sure Frances will have a beautiful wedding and her dad will speak well. I think you will even shed a tear

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    1. Shed a tear?You know me too well Kylie. I am a big softie! I hope that all works out well for your son and his gal.

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