- Mrs. Bubblegum
- 9 years ago
- Wedding: May 2008 - Dunegrass Golf Club
When we first started the venue search, I came down with a severe case of sticker shock. Medics were flown in, tests were run, surgeries were scheduled, and eventually, I recovered enough to make a sensible plan.
Step 1: Email
I created a blast email to send to the venues I was scouting. It was verrrrry long, but to summarize, I asked:
-Available dates for May 2008? -Room capacity… minimums, maximums? -On-site catering? If so, is it on-site exclusively? -Suggested menu with prices? -Bar service and options? Can we provide our own alcohol? -Fees for the use of the hall and what does that include? -What linens are included, and are chair covers available? Can we rent linens elsewhere? -Any decoration restrictions? -Ceremonies offered on-site? And what’s the fee? -Time frame for an evening wedding? How much set-up time can we have? -Any other costs not already addressed?
Step 2: Excel
Since I spend about 90% of my day working with Excel, it was only natural that I would create a spreadsheet to keep track of my results. I had the following column headers:
-Venue name -Location -Distance from Exeter -Distance from Waitsfield, VT (home of Mr. BG’s Mama & Papa) -Distance from Northboro, MA (home of Miss BG’s Mommy & Daddy) -Website -Phone # -Contact Name -Email Address -Available Dates -Number Accommodated -On or Off-Site Catering? -Average Dinner Price -Included in Dinner Price -Bar Services -Bar Costs & Alternatives -Function Hall Costs -Ceremonies On-Site? -Additional Ceremony Cost -Decorations Included -Decoration Restrictions -Miscellaneous Costs -Reception Time Frame -Room Set Up Time -Estimated Cost -Included in Estimated Cost -Impressions After Visiting
We color-coded them by: Going to Visit, Never Responded, Out For Now, Out Altogether, and Visited.
Step 3: Cost Estimation
To compare costs between venues, we decided on our baseline scenario:
-Saturday evening in May. -A plated meal that includes hors d’oeuvres, salad, and entrée.
From there, we added the “nice-to-haves”:
-Ceremony on-site. -No other weddings that day (i.e. lots of setup time available). -Close to us and both sets of parents. -PRETTINESS!
And THEN we ran a sensitivity analysis on each assumption… oh, no, wait, sorry… actuary humor.
But what we DID do was figure out which venues were CLEARLY out of our price range and which venues seemed to be a good value. Our “good value” venues were the ones we decided to visit.
Step 4: Seeing the Sites
At the end of the day, we only ended up visiting 4 venues. There were more on our list, but we ended up falling in love, and when you’re in love, nothing else matters. But I’d say we got our share of surprises:
-The first place we visited was the top on my list. It was really (is, really) a gorgeous room that totally captured the vibe that I wanted. There were brick accent walls, cathedral ceilings – my god, I loved it. But there were two big issues: it took us about 20 minutes to figure out how to get in even though we were standing right outside AND the only way to get to the room was to climb 3 sets of stairs (not exactly handicap-accessible). So this place was out.
-Another place we visited looked beautiful online.The pictures on the website showed an atrium room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, there was a gazebo, a brook with a little bridge, beautiful gardens, etc.When we pulled into the place, I could not believe it. It was literally 100 feet from a minor highway. The gazebo, brook, gardens, etc. were all contained in a 20 square foot section of lawn. The floor-to-ceiling windows only took up a tiny corner of the hall.SO this place was out.
In the end, we found a place that’s perfect for us and the perfect remedy to my sticker shock: Dunegrass Golf Club in Old Orchard Beach, Maine:
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