Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Dreaded Venue Meeting

So, Thursday was the day. The day we banged out the details with our venue. Anyone ever see that one episode of Say Yes to the Dress where a girl comes to get her dress and claims it's not the right dress? I was afraid that it would be a case like that. We remembered thinking we could do some things and then not seeing them in the pre-meeting packet they sent us. We booked in January, so there have been months and months for our memories to evolve. I comforted myself pre-meeting with some bacon white cheddar mac! YUM!

That only helped for so long since we fought in the car about the situation. About what we remembered... and how much it cost. About how we would do it all differently if we knew then what we know now. About how we would pay for it all. It was miserable... we don't do well with uncertainty. Luckily we arrived and Anita, our Palomino Ballroom consultant, was chipper and super kind. She has 7 or 8 dogs and so we obviously connect with her.

We luckily found out that we didn't have to commit to anything that night. We would go through her list and give her information (what time we'd arrive, number of wedding attendants, who our vendors are, etc) and pick things (linens, do we need appetizers, what type of table set up, etc) from their options. She will be sending us the print out in a few weeks, that she warned would be 14, 15, maybe even 20 pages! That will have the total and we can cut/add as necessary in the privacy of our own home.

Something nice was realizing that Anita was pretty much our DOC but just for the venue. She frequently asked what drinks we like (alcoholic and non) and what type of cupcakes we'd like- so she could arrange for us to have them. No asking the MOHs or Best Men to take care of us! She also sets up everything. They were all set up for today's wedding on Thursday, minus a few items. Check it out:

It was great to see it set up. Those table # holders are free! Now we need to think of what we want on there! We are also doing these chairs... covers or nicer chairs are out of our budget. We took the pictures in full light for photo purposes, but with the lights dimmed and candles (and black linens) the chairs are less noticeable.

There's that gorgeous window! I think she said each candle in it is only $1... much less than I thought. They did a head table, but we'll do a sweetheart table with our family and wedding party members at the rounds around us.

Below shows a table set up.

Ours will be black tablecloth with a damask table runner made by 'maid H's mom. The napkins will lay flat and spill off the table for color- they'll be green! Our centerpiece will be from the florist as mentioned, but we'll also rent votives. They rent for 50 cents each. We'll then lay our menus on top of the napkins. Voila!

What, no champagne with the pugs picture like I planned? Nope. Turns out Indiana is pretttty strict on a lot of laws. They needed names of wedding party members under 21 (sorry MOH R... looks like you'll be scroungin') and GM brother J. No alcohol can be put out because of that liability. We also found out that our dessert buffet is o-u-t OUT! No food from non board of health approved sellers. Our cupcake lady is fine but nothing homemade. To remedy these, we'll probably do the pug sign on the table #'s, and then we added fruit trays for each table and a chocolate covered strawberry display to our proposal. The strawberrys would be the first thing to cut if we're over budget, but the fruit will be smart for some healthy and delicious late-night snacks in addition to the cupcakes. Plus, some people aren't that into sweets.

Other great news? The venue previously told us that cabs wouldn't come that far north. Still true. But now the bus/van company that you can rent from also can be "reserved" to be like a taxi. AKA, our guests would pay instead of us! We couldn't afford a shuttle so this adds a great option for people who might drink too much.

Speaking of drinking, the bar was our biggest issue to discuss. Food is a great price- the entrees we chose were under $20 each. But the bar options are so endless. We were pretty much set on doing wine and beer with a cash bar for all else. Unfortunately, we realized that would mean if we want to offer free soft drinks, we'd need to pay the fee per person for that. So while 90% of our guests wouldn't get a soft drink, we'd have to pay for them all. Kind of poopy. (Note: they do provide lemonade, iced tea, and coffee for free!) Anita suggested doing a host bar. We put down a dollar amount and set our limitations (ex: no top shelf, no shots, etc) and it's an open (yet restricted) bar until our money runs out. When it's close, Anita would tell us and we can choose to add money and extend it. We would have to pay by the end of the night though. And how do you guess/know the cost before hand? The pro of beer and wine is that we know what we're paying. But- there could be leftovers, plus the soda costs, which would be a waste of money. (We'd purchase the kegs and wine cases of our choice.) However we could always add on a case of wine if necessary. The host bar would be nice but I think it could get pricey fast- and I'm not sure that providing liquor drinks will be that smart, or necessary really.

We had Anita put both packages on the pricing, so we could compare their cost.

We are also able to decorate the area outside the ballroom. Above is the left side when you walk in. There are two of these tables, and we thought we could add some photos of us, the pugs, and on one table, memorial photos of our deceased family members. The table in the hallway area will be our gift table. The mirror above it can have a monogram of our names put on it- another thing we added to the list that can be cut if necessary.

Below is the view of the more right hand side. The room with the buffet things is a small additional fee. It's used for buffets where there are more than 200 guests or for a cocktail hour if you get married and have your reception in the ballroom. We aren't doing either so we are not renting the room.

The door to the right is the coat room. The table to the right will be decorated like the one above. The glass table will have some sort of guestbook and a floral arrangement. There will also be easels with the seating assignments. Anita suggested splitting it in 2 easels at least (A-M, N-Z) for traffic flow.

Having everything laid out in front of us actually made us feel better! Have you had this kind of meeting with your venue? What plans didn't work, and what things did they offer that made you excited?

Also- we got our photo request cards this week!

I love getting those little Vistaprint boxes!

Like my convenient finger coverage?

I'm really happy with how they turned out! Now I just have to figure out how to distribute them...

Now, off to a wedding today! I'll update you all tomorrow!


  1. Woohoo! Great check by going to the venue.

    And love your photo cards!

  2. Could you just put the photo cards on the tables?

  3. Looks great! Love your photo cards too! And um, I think you should post the mac and cheese recipe. It looks so good!

  4. Venue looks GREAT! Love the photo cards!

  5. I'm glad that your venue meeting went as well as it did! And the VP photo cards turned out great too!!

  6. LOVE the photo request cars, and, I'm sorry, but I'm stealing your idea. ;)

  7. Yay for productive vendor meetings! :) I hear you on the confusion with the bar many options!