General Question

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

How to handle the rude staff/owner at my wedding reception site?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11973points) November 24th, 2009

I have already put my full deposit down for the ceremony/reception site and it’s non refundable. But ever since then, I heard numerous stories about how awful the service is and how rude the owner can be on the day of the wedding. Some examples of the kind of crap these people are known for pulling are:

- Ending the wedding an hour ealier than what was paid for simply because the owner doesn’t feel like staying any longer to supervise.

- Cutting the head table off from any liquor at a certain point.

- Giving the bride and groom attitude and problems over really silly, insignificant things on the day of the wedding.

- In general causing issues and problems, and being very rude to guests.

So what now? Knowing what I know about these people, do I cross my fingers and hope it works out? I’m not one to let people walk all over me. I will have enough stress the day of my wedding…I don’t need any more problems!

One thing I thought was strange was when the owner mentioned that if we don’t pick the top dollar wedding package, don’t expect to be treated as well. He claimed the staff won’t bend over backwards for any requests we have if we choose a cheaper package! I thought that was quite rude to say! We actually did opt for the most expensive package due to the variety of liquor, but I’m thinking of changing my mind and switching to a cheaper package. If me and my guests are going to get cut off from the alcohol anyway, why would I pay top dollar for something we aren’t allowed to drink that much of?

If on the day of the wedding, there are lots of problems with the owner, is there anything I can legally do about getting my money back? I’m paying a lot of money so I expect good, polite service.

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25 Answers

Snarp's avatar

Unfortunately you missed the opportunity to not pay the deposit when you got the red flag about those buying lesser packages being treated differently. Why is it we do that, see a red flag and ignore it and hope for the best? Something in human nature I guess.

What you do is go over the agreement with a fine toothed comb and make sure of what they are contractually obligated to. Then hold them to it on the day of. Better yet, have someone else do the talking on wedding day if problems arise so you don’t have to think about it. Best of all, invite a lawyer friend to the wedding and bring the contract with you. Seat the lawyer at the head table so it’s her liquor getting cut off.

After the fact you could report them to the Better Business Bureau, and you might have grounds for a lawsuit, but whether that is worthwhile would depend on how much money you stand to get out of it.

elijah's avatar

Unfortunately you have signed the contract without doing much research. Had you of learned of these behaviors earlier you probably would of chosen somewheres else. It pays to be thorough on a day so special.
Iwould suggest meeting with the owner and discussing the things you’ve heard. Tell him you’re sure they are just rumors, but are uneasy just the same. Tell him you want to clearly know these things won’t be happening at your wedding.
Regardless of the price, you and your guests deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. The package doesn’t dictate quality of service.
Best of luck :)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Discuss it with them. Sometimes the problem stems from bad behavior from the wedding party, and the owner is reacting to it.

The golden triangle for anything is timing, quality, cost. Pick two. That being said, perhaps wedding insurance would be a good investment.

Edit: It would be helpful for both of you to have as much of the wedding down on paper, with expectations, and not make a lot of last minute changes. Stay in touch with the owner, and keep him up to date on changes. Don’t ask for special favors. The simpler and more buttoned up you are on your end, the smoother things will go on the day of the wedding.

syz's avatar

Ask one of your guests to be a co-conspirator. Inform the owner, manager, and as many members of the staff as you can that one of your dear friends happens to be a very important reviewer for “X” (whatever the top journal or resource is choosing wedding receptions) and tell them that you wanted to give them a heads up so they could get a good review. You can even have fake business cards made up for practically nothing.

Fred931's avatar

Have a bridezilla panic attack and destroy half of the decorations. Hey, it usually works on TV.

Snarp's avatar

@PandoraBoxx and @elijah Have excellent suggestions on discussing it in advance, but how you word that discussion could be important. You don’t want to create a situation where the manager, if as bad as he’s been made to sound, gets mad at you in advance and guarantees problems. @elijah‘s suggested wording is a good place to start “you’re sure they are just rumors”. But play it cool.

I also like @syz‘s idea, but that one presents some problems too. With a little tweaking and combining of ideas, you might get exactly what you want and need. Sad that it takes that much work, the people who run this place should be helping you make your day easier, not making it harder.

faye's avatar

Are the people spreading these rumors reliable? Was the head table roaring drunk and wrecking the place? You probably have nothing to worry about.

jrpowell's avatar

I think syz has the right idea. Make it look like you are doing them a favor.

Fred931's avatar

@TEAM_AMERICA Your meds are on your bedside desk, in case you’re wondering.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@faye The information came from reliable sources. One being our photographer, another being our good friend who happens to be a former employee of the place. He claimed that they do tend to pull a lot of crap and cause problems.
@all Very good suggestions so far. When the owner stated that he wouldn’t go above and beyond for us if we didn’t pay a big price, he mainly meant setting up for the reception. Fortunately I’m a control freak, so I intended on setting up most of my own things anyway. I want the favors placed a certain way, etc, so I have no issue if they slack on that part. But I won’t be able to overcome being shut down early when a certain amount of hours has already been paid for, or my guests being treated rudely, or cut off from drinks (unless they’re obviously drunk and falling down).

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Should I personally make a list of basic (and reasonable) demands that I expect as far as service, hours allowed, etc, and have a meeting with them? We can review it and make sure we agree on it. So if anything goes wrong I can refer back to that list and let them know I mean business. Any ideas of some good topics to touch base on during this meeting? Or what should be on the list?

Also, if I make up this list and have them sign it, do they have to honor it? Will it hold up if I had to take legal action?

faye's avatar

Then I agree about having a watchdog there and letting the owners think he/she is a bigwig of some kind, reviewer, lawyer, journalist, senator[?].

avvooooooo's avatar

You need an advocate. Someone who is there to stay sober and make sure shit doesn’t happen. This can be a lawyer friend, but I would think a wedding planner or coordinator would be sufficient. Make sure that they are armed with the agreement that you signed with the owner and are able to argue the point of what you paid for and what you’re getting so that you can have

One other tip. I wouldn’t plan on doing all the decorations yourself. That just makes your day one huge hassle and stressor. When you should be enjoying yourself, you’ll be obsessing about how the favors have to be just so and how someone isn’t doing it exactly like you want it… Learn to let go a little so you can actually enjoy your day. Or else contact the Bridezilla people. That’s exactly the kind of thing that turns people into bridezillas, you might as well get your 15 minutes out of it.

avvooooooo's avatar

Wow, somehow… Make that ”...so that you can have a good time at your wedding without having to worry about anything.”

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Update: Just spoke with site coordinator and owner. I asked to downgrade to a cheaper package. First they said sure! Then the lady put me on hold, spoke to the owner, came back and said “For an extra $500 fee…” Really? When I asked what the hell the fee was for they claimed it was because the package I chose had a lower price and apparently didn’t cover all the things involved in a wedding (cake cutting, set up, tear down, etc). Unbelievable. This was not mentioned during my initial meeting with them. And it is nowhere in the contract or paperwork. If I have to pay to downgrade, I might as well keep the package I have! It makes no sense…

When I asked if it would be possible for me and my maid of honor to stop in a couple hours before the wedding to make sure the decorations are correct, she said “Well no. We generally handle all that.” Ok…so I’m not allowed to see it before my guests arrive? That makes me very uncomfortable.

avvooooooo's avatar

They probably don’t do that because they don’t want the bride to freak out and tell them to change everything and have a big stink because they logistically can’t.

Again, you need a wedding coordinator. They can supervise the entire thing.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@avvooooooo Yeah you’re probably right. I didn’t think of it that way. I guess I’m just being a control freak again :( But to charge us $500 for downgrading?? Crazy! Especially when it sounds like they just decided on that extra fee. It was never mentioned before today…

avvooooooo's avatar

They probably do it to discourage brides from going nuts and changing all the time. You know as well as I do how some people can get about weddings, especailly if they see they’re going over budget. I think they’re, in this instance, trying to protect themselves and have less problems.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@avvooooooo You’re right. Sigh…

avvooooooo's avatar

I think you’d be doing yourself a favor to get a wedding coordinator. You don’t need a planner since you know exactly what you want, but someone to help make it all happen might be very, very helpful.

galileogirl's avatar

What often happens is that no wedding is perfect so that any glitch becomes enormous to the bride. If you don’t have a coordinator you might think about getting someone who will deal with anything that comes up so you just get married and enjoy the party.

If they try to close the venue earlier than stated on the contract, the coordinator can just take him aside and say he can do that as soon as he pays in cash for that % of the entire reception. Close in 4 hours on a 5 hour contract and refund 20 % of the venue rental, catering fee, entertainment, photographer etc otherwise we meet in court. Meanwhile you are dancing blissfully with your new husband.

It might not be a bad idea to cut off the liquor for everybody toward the end of the party.. The last thing you want to do is put a lot of drunk drivers on the road. How would you feel every anniversary if a friend was killed on your wedding night because they were drunk? And your celebration that night will be much better if you didn’t “celebrate” yourself into a stupor. Stick to coffee and non-alcoholic drinks during the last hour.

If you don’t deal with him directly, you won’t get attitude or deal with issues. Also you haven’t heard the whole story. Is it likely that he closed a party early because the guests were getting out of hand. Is it likely that he cuts off the head table because young guys and girls just drink til they drop if given the opportunity? Is it possible that he has issues with bridal parties that show up an hour late and still want to go the full 5 hours so he has to keep his staff late? Might he have an issue with the police being called because of noise and possibly losing his liquor license? Might he have attitude about someone peeing into his flower beds or having sex in the cloakroom?

We all know what goes on at some weddings and maybe the businessman wants to provide a venue and food for a well-managed event, not a free-for-all.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@galileogirl You make very good points. I was considering hiring a wedding coordinator for extra help but I’m not sure that would go over well with the owner of the site. They have made it clear that they don’t usually accept outside help. They prefer to handle it all. I think they would butt heads with each other and add additional stress for me.

avvooooooo's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 That isn’t outside help, its your delegate. Its just like dealing with you, but not stressful to you. The main function of a wedding coordinator is to take on the stress so you don’t have to deal with it. Maybe your photographer knows someone good. But the site people should be used to dealing with people in the event planning business and shouldn’t have a problem with it.

noodle_poodle's avatar

throw pies at them

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