Our First Planning Day

One of the downsides to booking our venue and the DoC that came with it, is there was a looong gap between reserving it (April 2012) and any planning meetings for the event which start at 6 months out.

More than ready to get this show on the road, I emailed our contact (who was also our DoC) this April to set up that first planning session. Imagine my alarm when the email bounced back as a non-existent address. Realizing that staff changes could have happened in the past year, I didn’t panic too much until I resent the email to the main weddings@ address and it came back as restricted!

Now, rationally I knew that we had a signed contract and they’d take our deposit, so there was no way we weren’t having our wedding at HLP. But rational thought is not always driving this bus–sometimes I think my brain has this worst case scenario blanket over the top of it as I always seem to jump to it and play through the what-ifs for hours. I’ve done this throughout my life so I’m used to it, and at times I think it helps me be prepared for when things actually do go awry, but it was a few tense days, waiting for someone to return my calls, worrying that in the transition our contract had been overlooked and the venue might have been double-booked in the last year.

Bride Brain illustration by Miss Road Trip
illustration by Miss Road Trip

Turns out our original contact had opted not to return after her maternity leave (which, hey, more power to her) and that the current event planner just hadn’t gotten down to us on her list of folks to contact. Now, I’m still pretty irked that we weren’t notified of the personnel change since it does affect us, but after talking with our new planner, Stephanie, I felt much more at ease. Whew!

Meeting set, and scheduled for the only Saturday in May that there wasn’t a wedding going on there, I wondered why it’d take 2 hours for this meeting considering how much we’d already discussed with the former planner via emails, etc. before we signed the contract.

Well, folks, count 2 strikes for the former event planner because she left the incoming staff no. information. whatsoever. As in, when we sat down with Stephanie all she had was a copy of our contract, not even the proposal (with all the details) that the contract was based upon. And there was no way to get into the former planner’s email records either.

Grrrr

Good thing I’m also the type to over prepare, just in case of situations like this!

Unfortunately, more than just the staff had changed since we booked Honey Lake for our wedding.

  • We weren’t the first couple to have been promised colored table linens at no extra charge, but since it was’t specifically in our contract and just a verbal agreement, it wasn’t one we could make stick. So now we’re looking into rentals vs buying outright.
  • Thankfully we did have the BYO wine and signature cocktail written into the contract, because they no longer allow that! Still, we’ve opted to go with them providing the beer on-consumption for the guests that prefer that over the wine we’re providing. And while they do require bartenders these days, they also provide them at no extra charge, so that works out all the way around.
  • They’d also asked if we would be willing to change our lodging option from the Obo Suite (little 1-bedroom quarters attached to the main lodge) to one of the Pines cottages. While I wasn’t super-thrilled to give up the suite, the cottage does give us more getting ready room (2, 2-bed rooms, each with full baths) plus a sitting room but it’s slightly less charming and sort of overkill on the beds (it sleeps 8!). Still, they were concerned that the hunting party that rented the lodge for that weekend might make our stay less that serene, and I can appreciate that.
  • And on the very good front, they’ve now added sound system support for the grounds–originally it was only available in the main event spaces and the chapel. The fee for using their system is probably double of what renting the Passport system and speakers we were planning on, but the lack of hassle having to pick up/set up/break down/return the equipment ourselves is worth the convenience fee.

Oh, and it turns out we’re actually allowed to hang stuff on the walls! Bonus!

The main thing I wanted–no, NEEDED!–to get out of this meeting was table information. See, for months I felt like I was spinning my wheels on some big projects because I couldn’t really see how everything was going to go together. So once we walked the spaces with numbers in mind and started talking about specifics, I was galvanized into action by the time we got home and started revising my lists that night. Finally I knew how many centerpieces I needed and how many tables we would have for the cocktail hour and just where everything would be.

And a good thing, too, because suddenly our long (28 month) engagement is down to just under 4 months and I’m not sure I could have survived any more waiting around!

Did you have to deal with any panic-inducing moments from your venue or other vendors?

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