Elopements

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Arks's picture
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I know some inns actively seek out weddings and feature a "Weddings" link prominently on their homepage.

I also know that many inns don't push weddings, and indeed dread or even ban them because of all the extra work and the disruption of the house.

Today I ran across an inn website that has a special page/package dedicated to elopements: "Weddings for Two".

Seems like a good idea for innkeepers who don't want the headaches of a larger wedding. Of course, firm rules must be enforced to avoid the clown car driving up and an entourage pouring out.

For $950 (plus the cost of the room...two night minimum) they provide:

  • Streamside or Fireside Ceremony
  • Officiant
  • Witnesses
  • Traditional Wedding Vows, or create your own
  • Bride's Seasonal Bouquet
  • Groom's Matching Boutonniere
  • Ceremony Photography
  • Wedding Certificate
  • Private Reception, with Elegant Wedding Cake for Two, Keepsake Champagne Flutes, Reception Photography (Cutting the Cake & Wedding Toast)
  • Onsite Photo Shoot, following ceremony
  • Wedding CD/DVD with 100 (minimum) Wedding Photos

 

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Now on my 25th email to this gal for an afternoon tea, that is all.  Seriousely, think about all the work that has not even begin for this and I am charging $150 - so food costs and help (fortunately my help work for free like I do!)

One room night is that much, one nighter is $150. This is why my focus has been on the B&B, wherein the last owners focused on events.

The pecan tree leaves have fallen outside and it is a wreck out there, we have a massive clean up all week to get ready for this, plus have other guests here during this event. That s/b fun. I am hoping they will be out all day, it is only 2 hours, but in the south people show up 2 hours early, it happens all the time!

 

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Hopefully, it will work out OK and be interesting.    Hang in there!

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 Good luck. Hope it goes well. Alot of work for what you could get for just one room night. Not something I would care to do.

I know you will report back

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http://twitpic.com/7giu0r and

Key Lime Pie and Caramel Apple Pecan Shortcakes were a 100% success! Wanna see them?  and 

 (note that awful SQUARE plate that I love ha ha)  Smiling  I love white plates, but this was an historical event, so I used the antique stuff.

The gal in charge of this will give me some pix for the blog, they set off the canon three times and it was quite the event.  It was booked from 2 to 4pm here, and they got here at nearly 3pm.  My new guests showed up right at 4, so they got the hint and said "Oops, time is up!" All in all it went very well, they all appreciated it.  I DID have the doors locked that they need not enter, and they tried, I heard them try our office "What's in there?"  Human nature.

 

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Beautiful and yummy looking!!!  Glad everything turned out OK.

gillumhouse's picture
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Makes me hungry for both!!!

Appetite is back so I guess I am on the road to being as normal as I will ever be.

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Elopements can work if there's a reason to come to your area and it's a place that makes it any kind of wedding destination.  It has to be scenic or there has to be some other hook to get folks in.  We got calls here because we're near a big military installation and those kids are looking for an "economical" but nice small wedding venue.  I did not do them here because I felt it would interfere with the attention that I could give to our B&B guests, since I did all the work basically myself. 

Yes, you can become an officiant online!  But we thought about it and I priced it out and I didn't think it would add enough to the bottom line for the work.  Same thing for other small events.  We had someone buy a house in our historic area  with a nice garden in the back near an historic park for the purposes of it being a wedding venue, and it failed despite good marketing.   People here look more for much larger, impressive wedding venues. 

So, you have to know your market for this, first and foremost.

Then, you have to know if it is within your licensing and zoning parameters.

You have to know if you actually want to take this on or if it can be profitable to hire pieces or all of it out. 

Lastly, you have to do the math to see if it will really contribute to your bottom line in a way that's profitable and worth the aggravation and work.  (Note JB's gazillion phone calls for the afternoon tea!)

Something to definitely consider though. I know of a couple of places that have actually given up the B&B part of their biz and are strictly wedding venues now. 

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Samster wrote:

Elopements can work if there's a reason to come to your area and it's a place that makes it any kind of wedding destination.  It has to be scenic or there has to be some other hook to get folks in.  We got calls here because we're near a big military installation and those kids are looking for an "economical" but nice small wedding venue.  I did not do them here because I felt it would interfere with the attention that I could give to our B&B guests, since I did all the work basically myself. 

Yes, you can become an officiant online!  But we thought about it and I priced it out and I didn't think it would add enough to the bottom line for the work.  Same thing for other small events.  We had someone buy a house in our historic area  with a nice garden in the back near an historic park for the purposes of it being a wedding venue, and it failed despite good marketing.   People here look more for much larger, impressive wedding venues. 

So, you have to know your market for this, first and foremost.

Then, you have to know if it is within your licensing and zoning parameters.

You have to know if you actually want to take this on or if it can be profitable to hire pieces or all of it out. 

Lastly, you have to do the math to see if it will really contribute to your bottom line in a way that's profitable and worth the aggravation and work.  (Note JB's gazillion phone calls for the afternoon tea!)

Something to definitely consider though. I know of a couple of places that have actually given up the B&B part of their biz and are strictly wedding venues now. 

Check your local laws and regulations. One cannot become an officiant online here in Charlottesville. They do not accept the documentation. And the regulations are impossible that they require to perform a wedding as well (as a plain individual). I tried.

RIki

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Arcady Vineyard Wine Tours
www.arcadyvineyard.com
Come! Let us show you the beautiful Monticello Appellation!

 

egoodell's picture
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 Loads of inns do weddings. We may do elopements  with a set package - no changes period. I just don't know when we could do them though - the wine tours are such good moneymakers with so little overhead I would not want to mess up my weekends with the headache of a wedding.

But we would be the only place in town with an affordable vineyard wedding.

RIki

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egoodell wrote:

...I just don't know when we could do them though - the wine tours are such good moneymakers with so little overhead I would not want to mess up my weekends with the headache of a wedding.

But we would be the only place in town with an affordable vineyard wedding.

Maybe it's time to expand (which you already are) and hire some part-time help to allow you to make more money by more fully utilizing your many assets. If you're doing so well in this economy, there will surely be more potential to tap if (when) the economy improves.

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 One reason we're doing do well is that we are doing it ourselves. All of our cash is going to build our new wing. We have drywall and electric in now, and working on finishing heat/air. Then some busy work and then we have to come up with the cash for the septic. Then  we can maybe with 4 rooms hire someone. But as long as our wonderful innsitters are available, we'll do with them and put off hiring as long as we can.

I'm just saying weddings would have to include all rooms and wine tours to be worth doing them on the weekend. That would be a SET package for up to 8 - 10 only.

And I'm not sure it would bring more money than just the rooms and wine tours. I think I'd rather start doing wine dinners than weddings. I can focus and make money on what I enjoy. From what I hear, weddings are NOT FUN

Riki

Arks's picture
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egoodell wrote:

I think I'd rather start doing wine dinners than weddings. I can focus and make money on what I enjoy. From what I hear, weddings are NOT FUN

I'll agree that wine dinners sound more fun than doing weddings! Good to do something that's fun and also makes money. Leave the hosting of weddings to those unfortunates who don't live in a vineyard!

Arks's picture
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Maybe if you priced it like a house you really don't want to sell. Put it at double what it's worth. If things work out where someone ends up paying your price, you're well compensated for any headaches it causes. If nobody takes your offer, you haven't really lost anything.

Madeleine's picture
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It is a real money-maker if you have the right location. You need the room to cater both to your regular guests at the same time you are performing a wedding ceremoney. Firm policies need to be in place with no exceptions. A 2-person elopment that starts to extend into 'just our kids, just our parents, just 500 of our best friends' gets out of hand quickly.

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 There are plenty of inns who host elopements, typically somewhere scenic and/or beautiful gardens. You can get your license to marry couples simple as one two three (so you don't even have to bring a third party in for the elopement at all). 

There is another B&B in the same state that CL mentioned (she knows who they are) who bring in 75%+ of their revenue from elopements and small weddings.

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 Here is a site I do. He specializes in elopements. He gets tons of PITA's but he does loads of weddings and that brings in the $$$$

Arks's picture
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There's certainly a market out there. You don't have to specialize in it to make some money off of it. Just mentioning on on the website (talking about 2-person weddings only) might bring in a few a year, and some extra money without a lot of work or stress. Most of the stuff would be easy to offer. After arranging the cake and the photographer, the rest is pretty basic.

I know, easy for me to say sitting here in my armchair just daydreaming.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

There's certainly a market out there. You don't have to specialize in it to make some money off of it. Just mentioning on on the website (talking about 2-person weddings only) might bring in a few a year, and some extra money without a lot of work or stress. Most of the stuff would be easy to offer. After arranging the cake and the photographer, the rest is pretty basic.

I know, easy for me to say sitting here in my armchair just daydreaming.

I succombed to a light refreshments small gathering here at the inn (this month) after a Confederate Soldier Statue dedication/special event.  People are coming from all over for this event (relatives) none are staying here except this couple, thus far.  It is only coffee/tea and dessert. So far I have been in contact with this gal 15 times.  The 10 to 15 people grew to 50, which I declined and said 10 to 15 from 2 to 4pm, afternoon tea. Only.  Then she wanted to know if the little children were allowed, since our website states no children.  No, they are not. 10 to 15 adults from 2 to 4pm, only.

Then she wanted to know WHAT the dessert would be, I gave her a couple choices and stated to mail the check and we can firm it up.  

Oh it ain't over til it's over...

and this is NOT A NEW LIFE BEING FORGED, this is just an afternoon tea.  But she called during October our busiest month and if I did not return her call immediately DURING BREAKFAST HOURS she would then email.

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 My innkeeper friend is the offiicant and photographer. He limits his size to 10 guests @$10 extra a person. The flowers and the cake he has arrangement with locals to provide. He offers several packages. We are a destination and close to DC metro area so it is appealing to many folks. Our town was named #2 best location to get married...so that the town capitalizes on as well.

Yep it brings in the $$, but along with it..he still gets many many bridezillas and more headaches than I could even begin to share here. I know why he does it...but I still wonder why??? Guess it pays the mortgage and that is a good motivator.

Madeleine's picture
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This kind of goes back to the DIY thread. If you hire out the cake ($50), the photog/videographer ($500+) you're not realizing the full potential. If you have a good group of associates you could do it on hire.

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Madeleine wrote:

This kind of goes back to the DIY thread. If you hire out the cake ($50), the photog/videographer ($500+) you're not realizing the full potential. If you have a good group of associates you could do it on hire.

If anyone buys my inn they can do as many small weddings and elopements as they wish! I get calls at least once per week to have a wedding here. The prev owners DID do weddings, I got all the cake making gear (which I gave away) and they catered, did the photography, flowers and the whole nine yards. I have photos of some of the weddings. AND YET, they still had to hire people to manage the people. Hire people to direct to the bathrooms, to the parking, this that and the other. They had to hire 3 or 4 additl people for every event!  Not to mention all the extra work (There goes any revenue!)

But this was before the internet, so guidebooks and local referrals were the main stay.  I have met many locals who "played a harp in the garden at your B&B at a wedding" and so on...

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