Asking Those With Elope

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gillumhouse's picture
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OK - question for those who do elopements. I had this e-mail today. I really do not want "cherry-picking" as in Oh, we do not want the room so how much will it be. This one has a laundry list - see below.

My fiance and I are looking for somewhere close to get married.  We live in Morgantown and I have been searching for places and stumbled upon you! The piece in the Gazette was wonderful and the video/pictures great! We are interested in finding out if the elopement package can be altered.......we aren't interested in a cake, cider/gobblets, or a night stay as ​we live so close (and work schedule is very demanding). We love that a Methodist Minister performs the ceremony as most other places we have researched just have "officiants".

That leaves flowers, video & stills with DVDs & CD, minister, and log house. I am considering it for $500. What would you folks do as you seem to get so many more of these than I do. (And yes, it drives me bonkers!)

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Gotta love these last minute elopements. We offer officiant services without a package. They can not be married on our property. I got a call on Monday evening to perform an elopement ceremony the next afternoon. They got their license the day of....it's almost like being in Vegas!

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It's funny how someone sees an elopement package and tries to turn it into a small wedding. We state it all over the place, this is not a small wedding, it is an elopement only, he and her, about the bride and groom.

We realize some wish to have their kids from various marriages or non marriages there for it, then they want both sets of parents there, and so on and so on.  We bend the rules a wee bit if say they have three kids and need a parent or both there to watch the kids during the ceremony.  So see that has now grown from Just the Two of us immediately up to 7 people.  Our cake can serve 4, our sparkling beverage serves the two of them. purposely.

This also means kids running around while I am trying to take photographs of the couple, and so now it must include the couples kids...it snowballs. So I fully understand your sentiment Gillum. This is why we have not done an ala carte pick your choices for the elopement package. You can bring your own photog or videographer, but it will take the place of one of your four people (including bride and groom) allowed, or officiant if you BYO. Everything is included in the price, no deductions. 

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

It's funny how someone sees an elopement package and tries to turn it into a small wedding. We state it all over the place, this is not a small wedding, it is an elopement only, he and her, about the bride and groom.

We realize some wish to have their kids from various marriages or non marriages there for it, then they want both sets of parents there, and so on and so on.  We bend the rules a wee bit if say they have three kids and need a parent or both there to watch the kids during the ceremony.  So see that has now grown from Just the Two of us immediately up to 7 people.  Our cake can serve 4, our sparkling beverage serves the two of them. purposely.

This also means kids running around while I am trying to take photographs of the couple, and so now it must include the couples kids...it snowballs. So I fully understand your sentiment Gillum. This is why we have not done an ala carte pick your choices for the elopement package. You can bring your own photog or videographer, but it will take the place of one of your four people (including bride and groom) allowed, or officiant if you BYO. Everything is included in the price, no deductions. 

Yes, these things can get out of hand quickly! We do advertise small weddings, but put major restrictions on them. I'm certainly learning a lot this first year. The one small wedding that grew on me turned out to be 27 people. It actually worked out quite well because they had booked the whole house, so no other guests were disturbed and as soon as the ceremony was over they all got out of here to a restaurant. I will never accept any catering or reception here!

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I decided I can possibly make as much as usual because I will not be doing the cake. I e-mailed her this morning before we left for the motorcycle event (had several calls for rooms tomorrow and said no because of this event).

I told her it would depend on the date/time desired a to if we could do it at all but, for $500 I spelled out what she will get. The thing that is bringing this one to me is that we have a minister for the ceremony. They are getting no cake, no toast, no room, no breakfast. I really have no outside vendors other than the flowers - I do the cake, video, & photos and burn the discs. I added the log house and minister to the top of the list when figuring out my pricing. I thought having the minister and the unique venue would be my hook.

I had a cherry-pick book in April who just wanted log house and minister. Then decided she did want the small cake. They are scheduled in August - I I just got a 2-night booking that her wedding taking the room for 1-night would have messed up - so That one has worked out. She is making her own bouquet.

We are scheduled to discuss this new one on Monday.

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We do lots of elopements and I have a set package and I learned to stick to my guns and not do any changes.  One time I let them take out a couple things, then they were trying to add back in a couple of them and driving me nuts.  One woman actually booked just the room and then sent me an email that she was going to elope while staying with us so could I send her the "name of a fun JP."  I called her back and she said she wasn't getting married here on the property so it wouldn't bother us at all, she'd find a pretty place here in the mountains.  Told her OK, but I wasn't getting involved at all and gave her phone #s of 2 other JPs - not the one I always use as I just knew this wasn't going to turn out well and didn't want my JP being driven crazy by this woman.  Two weeks before the date she calls and the JPs hadn't called her back and she needed my JPs # and oh by the way could she just use the pergola area for the 5 minute ceremony.  At that point I said sure but we aren't takings photos, etc. you're on your own.  Guess what - as she headed out for the day to get her hair done, she knocked on my door to let me know that she was having flowers delivered and that they'd be by about noon - that I'd have to accept them as she was going out and wouldn't be back until about 1/2 hour before ceremony.  I told her to call her florist and tell her it was OK to leave flowers outside by the front door in the shade as I had made a chiropractor appointment for both of us and we wouldn't be here.  She was ticked - but I didn't care, she expected me to stay and accept her deliveries, but wasn't paying for my time for anything including welcoming the JP and letting her in and getting her the license, etc.  I never change the package anymore - you get it all or nothing and that locks me in for the day to be here for all of your needs.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Totally agree about the packages. Take it or leave it. If they want our officiant only service, it is NOT on our property unless they rent a room. They don't have to buy the whole all-inclusive package, but to be married here, they at least have to stay with us.

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06/24/2008

K, you should do what your gut tells you.  I have done the cherry pickin wedding once but found out quickly it was to be abused. 

We will do package or just ceremony but nothing in between any more.  Our ceremony only is different than yours as we do not involve 3rd parties or other properties, all is in house. 

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Copperhead wrote:

K, you should do what your gut tells you.  I have done the cherry pickin wedding once but found out quickly it was to be abused. 

We will do package or just ceremony but nothing in between any more.  Our ceremony only is different than yours as we do not involve 3rd parties or other properties, all is in house. 

 

We also don't use any 3rd parties, so we're able to keep all revenue. Correction...we do have an add on for a professional photographer at an additional charge, rather than just me taking their photos. It's a family member and he's incredibly cheap because he's building his portfolio and still has a day job but would like to do it full time. So, we're helping each other.

I really think that you need to figure out what your market wants. We've been surprised by how many couples want just the officiant service. No extras. We've priced our officiant service the same as one of our suites. 10 minutes work and it's equal to cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. for 1 night lodging. What a deal. We have a date coming up where we've booked 3 of them in one day. It's as if my 4 room b&b is now a 7 room b&b for that day.

K., I know you can't do that because of your outside vendors, but maybe you can come up with some package where you do the coordination and take a nice fee that would be worth it to you. It's a lot easier to make money as a coordinator than it is to run up and down those stairs of yours and get up at some of the unbelieveable hours that you sometimes do.

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10/07/2008

It is your package, they are trying ot cut the rate it seems, have them contact the minister themselves, or stick to your package.

In this state here we cannot charge more than $50 to officiate a wedding, so that means we KEEP the package as is. I know there are a few others who do ceremony only, and one reason is cost, another is they have a big reception somewhere else. So perhaps they don't want a "religious" event, it in a church, but not in a courthouse either for many diff reasons.

Our package here is inclusive, if you can't spend the night, then that is up to you, but right now that is what the package includes, as well as everything else.  We aren't a vegas drive in wedding chapel, although........ haha

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05/22/2008

I know several officiants who charge more than $50. Is that some sort of state rule? If so, who checks on you?  

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EmptyNest wrote:

I know several officiants who charge more than $50. Is that some sort of state rule? If so, who checks on you?  

Yes it is in the code of Virginia. I know, I agree, I also know plenty.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Probably more since I will not have the ingredients & time with the cake. I just wanted to get another opinion because I hate cherry-picking when it is a PACKAGE! It is not a menu.  I have one scheduled next month that was a Spring reserve and was cherry-picked but that has turned out good because last night I got a 2-night rez for that weekend.  Maybe this one will turn out similarly.

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01/12/2013

As long as their requested date/time for their wedding does not interfere with check ins/outs, or any other duties that must be tended to, I would do it.  If they are going to be so particular about how they want things, you probably wouldn't want them there as guests anyway.  Take the money and run! Smiling

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05/22/2008

Friend tried this a couple of times...QUIT right after them! Too many PITA's all wanting more more more and no commitment for a room. Unless you are going to make say at least half the cost as profit I wouldn't get into this.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

How much would you personally make if you did this for them for $500? If you would make at least the amount you charge for one of your rooms, I would do it. Otherwise, forget about it!

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