Newbie Bride September 2022 Cambridgeshire

Venue Stress

Lisa, 20 July 2021 at 21:44 Posted on Planning 0 6

Hi all, looking for some advice. So we viewed a couple of venues before finding one we really liked, the reviews were good, and the venue itself is lovely, it's an old house with beautiful gardens. It also offered a relatively affordable package for our micro-wedding with availability for September next year. We're becoming a bit uncertain about whether or not to proceed with them now based on the following:

First we were given 2 available dates that were provisionally reserved for us prior to our viewing, which we were then told suddenly weren't available after all, but offered 1 later that month, fine.

A week later we got a generic email saying thank you for your interest, etc, from the owner like we'd never met, fine, as admin errors happen, but when I followed up a bit concerned to confirm we were still on track with our date and viewing, it took a week and a voicemail to get a response.

Then we were told that they were suddenly VAT registered/applicable, so the cost would be 20% higher BUT they did throw in a free stay the night before, so fine.

We were then given some paperwork at the viewing which implied the actually wedding day had moved forward 1 day, fine, we booked the registrar, and followed up to ask for the invoice, only to be told that was an error, but could be honoured.

We then received the invoice + contract to pay the deposit, but on there was a £1000 damage deposit which wasn't mentioned in any costs/quotes given previously, kind of fine, but would have liked to have been told, and it's 40% of the cost of the total venue cost, so we were surprised - the Friday before last (09/07) I emailed to ask if this could be negotiated, or ringfenced on a credit card instead, and have yet to receive a reply (today being 20/07).

Two things - 1 - is this venue still worth going with? I don't always trust my own judgement, as I'm a stickler for customer service/experience because of my job, so usually reply to customers super quick, but I do appreciate Covid has thrown a spanner in the works for many venues, and now is a busy time. The venue has been posting on Instagram with pics though, so they're alive. They are a relatively new venue (<1.5yrs I think) and based on reviews, seem to have lost their wedding coordinator, as we've never been told about one, but she's named in a lot of older, positive reviews.

2 - we're struggling to find anywhere we like as much that's affordable and/or offers a micro-wedding option. The plan B venue we contacted recently and really liked as a potential alternative also took a while to reply, and I had to try several forms of contact - again, me being too expecting wanting a reply in 1 week?

Some people have said that we should ditch this venue as they've made it less special by adding in unnecessary stress and by not making us feel looked after, but our wedding is small/relatively low value for them, so I guess we're not a top priority, which I understand, but due to the lack of viable alternatives we're torn with what to do.

Apologies for long post, feedback much appreciated!

6 replies

Latest activity by Sarah, 23 July 2021 at 18:11
  • S
    Savvy Bride June 2023 Worcestershire
    Sarah ·
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    Hi Lisa,

    I too have found that suppliers are slow to reply, not my venue as such but the hair & make up ladies etc, I had to chase one 3 times and in the end gave up and booked somewhere else. I am not 100% sure this is just a covid related thing (though I have no doubt this has impacted it) as I came across an old post in these forums from 3-4 years ago stating the same that wedding suppliers don't seem to be in a hurry to respond.

    With regards to the venue it's a difficult one as they don't appear to have made a good first impression and with all of these issues early on would you feel confident of things running smoothly on the day? Maybe you could enquire as to whether they do have a wedding coordinator or have plans to rehire one before your day as that would help you with a point of contact.

    I don't think the size of your wedding or the money you spend should put you down their pecking order and I would hate to think if venues did this (they could well do?) but your business is as good as any as you could leave outstanding reviews for them or your guests could potentially book them for future events so to me every customer counts as you never know who they could be influencing.

    I hope they start pulling their finger out but it may be as you say they are relatively new to wedding scene they have been struggling recently with Covid delays/changes. xx

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  • Michelle
    Newbie Bride June 2023 Staffordshire
    Michelle ·
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    It sounds like they may be struggling to keep up with wedding enquiries at the moment which is causing a few errors and delays in communication. It may be worth asking if you can have the details of the coordinator. You'll then be able to find out if one still works there and if you speak with them direct it may give you more peace of mind. However if they don't still have one that may be something to take into consideration as the people currently managing the weddings side of things might not have as much experience

    Personally our venue have been great so far, they were initially a bit slow to respond but it turned out they had a couple of people in and out due to holidays and have been great since. It's important to have a good relationship with them as the venue is the biggest part of your day!

    Maybe it's worth giving them a call to see what is going on, maybe they have missed your email as I would expect a reply much sooner than you have had!

    Hopefully they can improve this for you as you clearly have you heart set and it's a big change to make to your day!


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  • R
    Expert Bride July 2020 Monmouthshire
    RomanticGreenStationery27135 ·
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    If it was just that they were slow in responding, I wouldn't worry as it would probably just mean they were inundated (so many of last year's weddings have been moved to this year that most wedding suppliers are crazy busy now). But 'forgetting' to tell you about the 20% increase on prices due to VAT and 'forgetting' to tell you about the £1,000 damage deposit? Plus having more than one mixup on the actual date being booked...that's more than just busyness, that's downright inefficiency, and in your place, I'd be worried this would carry through to my wedding.

    Have you paid out anything yet? If not, I'd definitely cancel. If you have paid, you'll have to weigh up what you will lose against peace of mind. It sounds as if they either haven't replaced their wedding coordinator or that the new one is no good at his/her job. So you are really dependent on them having a new (and good-) wedding coordinator in place very quickly. For me, that would be too much of a risk.

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  • Sharon
    Newbie Bride October 2022 Cumbria
    Sharon ·
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    It's a tricky one isn't it because those are the sorts of things that could bother me too, ar at least I'd be mentally noting them...thinking of it with our venue though, we met the guy who owns ours and it's a family run business (it used to be their home and has gradually become a wedding venue). I don't think they've an abundance of staff, especially after covid, and have only just started weddings again from June so I know they've been stretched a little bit thin trying to keep the buisness going. We really liked him when he showed us round and felt a good rapport with him, so on that basis, when replies have been a tiny bit slow, I've felt confident that we weren't being ignored, just that there were other priority things going on, maybe enquiries for more immediate weddings etc. I might feel differently if my wedding was iminent and I needed a quick response about something.

    So, I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt if you really like the place and I'd maybe ask for an appointment in person if poss, then go with a list of what you want to get sorted / get answers to on that day so you can come away feeling you've got the information you need for your booking. Might be less frustrating than waiting for answers here and there. I think if I already had some reservations about the venue in general, the sorts of things you mention could definitely put me off or make me lose confidence a bit so perhaps another meeting in person can help you decide one way or the other.

    Hope you get sorted Smiley smile

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  • M
    Rockstar Bride August 2022 Cheshire
    Michelle ·
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    I hope you get this all sorted x💗
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  • L
    Newbie Bride April 2022 Cambridgeshire
    Louise ·
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    Oh this sounds so tricky, I can understand why you've got doubts. We have a damage waiver on our contract, although we didn't know that until we asked "are there any other fees you haven't told us about?"... which was a question suggested on another forum!
    The whole industry seems really stretched at moment and I know hospitality in general are facing staffing issues, but I don't think there's anything wrong at all with expecting good communication and transparency about fees.I agree with Sharon about booking a face to face meeting - depending in how that goes I should think that'll give you an answer either way!
    Hope you get it sorted 🤞
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