Question About Changes in Packages

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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We've been doing very small weddings and elopements for about 6 months. Things are going very well. I have learned a lot about what to do and especially this week, about what NOT to do (had a big cancellation and will now change some policies).

Something came up yesterday that I have not anticipated and would like to get some feedback on. We have 3 different 'packages' they can purchase.

This couple chose our All-inclusive wedding/elopement package. Includes everything. Lodging, ceremony, cake, etc. 50% deposit, full payment 30 days prior to stay.

So here is the situation:

Yesterday I got a call from a groom who booked our all-inclusive package (4 months ago) and said that instead of just the two of them doing an elopement a few others will be there. One of the people coming is a minister and wants to marry them. They no longer need our officiant. There is still 2 months to go before their wedding.

He never mention anything about decreasing the rate and neither did I. Our officiant services is $180 and is built into the package. DH is the officiant, so it's just a good way to increase our profit on the package...we don't have to pay anyone else.

The business side of me says that an all-inclusive is just that...use all of it or not. Don't offer any reduction in price. But the more 'touchy feely' side of me says maybe I should reduce the rate or get them a bigger bouquet or something.

Which do you think?

gillumhouse's picture
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A store in town posted a sale on a 4-place setting on FB yesterday. Between bocce matches I remembered and swung by the store. It had dinner plate, salad/dessert plates, bowls, cups, S & P, and spoon rest (was 219 now $99). Told her I would pay the $99 but did not want the cups or S & P.

 She could not believe I did not wat them - I use MY mugs and have  a wood S with P grinder set. No storage for the cups. We did the deal. Told her she could either sell the cups and S & P and make an extra buck or put together a door prize and she will not be out anything for it. (She bought out the inventory of a store that closed & this was in the stuff.) It was the price - I paid it or left it - did not ask for adjustment".

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I think you came to your decision...a good one and I AGREE.

seashanty's picture
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 exactly ... and no adjustments or refunds (if you are going that route) until it's done.

 

gillumhouse's picture
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After I made a price for a "bare bones" elopement that ended up being cancelled 2 weeks before the wedding, I instituted a new rule - 25% non-refundable deposit and it is the PACKAGE  price - use it or don't use it - their call re the room or any other part of the package. I am not peeling anything out so they can figure out what I am charging for each part of the package. That is why it is a lump sum in the first place.

Madeleine's picture
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Mine are not wedding packages but ofttimes guests will tell me they don't want that part of a package.

A recent guest didn't do a lot of the pieces of the pkg. I refunded only the base price of the items, not the markup as I had already done all of the prep work.

I often think of not refunding anything because it's all in one, but they didn't get the service so I refund.

In your case, I would wait until after the ceremony to give them a refund if you want. You never know what will happen.

Plus, if you don't list the prices and it's all included it's like taking a discount because someone doesn't want to eat breakfast.

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seashanty's picture
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'officiant' whether your husband or not - has set aside time to do the wedding.  i work with ministers and they rely on the additional income for performing weddings.  the most popular one gets booked months (sometimes a year or even two) in advance.  so they decline to perform another ceremony because they are booked.    a month away from the ceremony, if he is canceled because he is not needed, it's not likely he's going to get a last minute call to perform a wedding ceremony.  (we rarely get 'elopement' calls)

for an all inclusive - do you have the flowers ready on standby if somehow the flowers they want to bring - don't happen?  same as cake?  

i had an all inclusive offer out there - was told 'we won't need this, this and this' then - last minute, they needed 'this, this and this' and since they paid for it, where was it?! as if i had a florist shop stocked with lilies and roses, and a bakery with a few cakes to choose from on site.   i tell you --- i was scrambling!  

i'm a little concerned with the swapping out of services - we won't need this, but we'll be doing that instead.  

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Here are the changes I'm making to our wedding/elopement/officiant services:

Officiant services are charged when booked and are non-refundable

All inclusive packages are charged a 50% non-refundable deposit at time of booking. Non-refundable balance is due 30 days before arrival.

Whole house small wedding package will be charged a 50% non-refundable deposit at time of booking with non-refundable balance due 30 days prior to arrival.

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01/12/2013

This has prompted me to include the words "all inclusive" on my elopement packages to avoid any future problems.  Thank you!

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Naw, but I love that you worry about that.  I would too.   But I wouldn't reduce the price, it's not expected, and reducing the price could actually make them less satisfied (er...what else are we paying for that we don't need).  With the new minister, and the "extra people", I'm sure you'll spend some time talking with him, showing him where things are, sending an email, etc.. that you wouldn't have to if DH was the officiant.

If there is a chance to do something extra with some of the $ that calls to you, I'm sure they'd love it if you did it (but don't stress about it)- with a little note congratulating them and letting them know of the little extra - on you. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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CafeMae wrote:

Naw, but I love that you worry about that.  I would too.   But I wouldn't reduce the price, it's not expected, and reducing the price could actually make them less satisfied (er...what else are we paying for that we don't need).  With the new minister, and the "extra people", I'm sure you'll spend some time talking with him, showing him where things are, sending an email, etc.. that you wouldn't have to if DH was the officiant.

If there is a chance to do something extra with some of the $ that calls to you, I'm sure they'd love it if you did it (but don't stress about it)- with a little note congratulating them and letting them know of the little extra - on you. 

You make a good point about the less satisfied issue. If you take away the officiant fee, then the cake, and all the other goodies added to the room don't seem like much for a little over $600.

 

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Everything stays the same price. If they bring their own bouquet. same price. if they bring a man to play the harp. same price. if they bring their own beverage or special cake. same price.

That is what we have said here and need to stick with it. I would encourage you to do the same, they aren't renting your grounds for a wedding, now that changes the whole ball game. Now it will grow from 2 friends to 10 people and you are hosting a wedding now. Which you offer, so they can do that if they want to pay the $ additional to do that.  I would question if that is what they are trying to do. They are lowballing and turning it into a wedding.

I have a return guest who wanted to do this, she said they would rent the whole inn for relatives and renew their vows, bring their own minister along as well. Well, gee that is NOT an elopement package for two now is it? We are not wanting to do weddings, pure and simple, elopements (and an elegant renewal for the two of you) only.

My thoughts.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Everything stays the same price. If they bring their own bouquet. same price. if they bring a man to play the harp. same price. if they bring their own beverage or special cake. same price.

Now it will grow from 2 friends to 10 people and you are hosting a wedding now. Which you offer, so they can do that if they want to pay the $ additional to do that.  I would question if that is what they are trying to do. They are lowballing and turning it into a wedding.

I really don't think that's happening with this one. He seemed very disappointed that it wasn't going to be just the two of them. Also, I suggested that if his family wanted to visit them on our property then we should change rooms to the separate cottage at no additional charge. He exclaimed "NO! We don't want them there!"  Gotta love that attitude! We don't want them here either! 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Everything stays the same price. If they bring their own bouquet. same price. if they bring a man to play the harp. same price. if they bring their own beverage or special cake. same price.

That is what we have said here and need to stick with it. I would encourage you to do the same, they aren't renting your grounds for a wedding, now that changes the whole ball game. Now it will grow from 2 friends to 10 people and you are hosting a wedding now. Which you offer, so they can do that if they want to pay the $ additional to do that.  I would question if that is what they are trying to do. They are lowballing and turning it into a wedding.

I have a return guest who wanted to do this, she said they would rent the whole inn for relatives and renew their vows, bring their own minister along as well. Well, gee that is NOT an elopement package for two now is it? We are not wanting to do weddings, pure and simple, elopements (and an elegant renewal for the two of you) only.

My thoughts.

I hear you JB. Your definitive answer with including the bouquet,etc. is just what I need to hear. I have another couple that have purchased a whole house small wedding and they have chosen to get their own cake & own flowers! Why in the heck did they purchase an all-inclusive? So, I guess I just can't make that may problem. enlightened

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As difficult as it is to use the business side of my brain sometimes, your package says "All Inclusive".  Just as breakfast is included in the rate and they choose to eat their own food with no reduction in price, I don't feel you should reduce the price of the wedding.  If I go to an all inclusive resort and don't participate in some of the activities, or eat all of the meals that they offer, I don't expect a discounted price.

I tell people that the deposit on our weddings is to secure the minister.  It is non-refundable because if they cancel, the minister has lost out - not us.  For some reason, people seem to understand the minister not wanting to lose money, but not me!  If they don't know that DH is the officiant, perhaps you can use this line if there is any question of that partial refund. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Thanks Banana...one of the policy changes I'm going to firm up on the website is what you have mentioned; Officiant services is non-refundable once booked! We are getting a lot of couples who are buying our 'officiant services only' and we just meet them at the beach and do a quick ceremony. These folks never set foot on our property.

They do know that it's DH doing the officiating, but I really hesitated with this one because they will be staying with us.

Thanks for your input.

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