Quantcast

Small weddings only policy

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

Red Handed Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
263
Reaction score
0
Looking for feedback on my (currently half-baked) thoughts on this.
When we were first looking at our (SMALL) property, the PO told us if we were willing to do weddings, we could get A LOT of business. Hm. Well, that wasn't what we were looking for, so we sort of put in the back of our collective mind. And, having read anecdotal accounts here and at other sources, were even less inclined to bring it to a front burner right now.
FWIW, I had a nice chat with a lady who actually got married in our house. It was a (second) very small wedding, she told me how they did the set up, where she (the bride) entered, which room the couple spent the night in...it was a good little plan, a nice intimate event. I can envision very clearly how our home would be a lovely setting for a small ceremony and light reception or small sit-down meal.
This is coming to the forefront because one of DH's colleagues is getting married and, apparently, our place is the front runner for the ceremony. We didn't volunteer, but turning her away would be tough, not only because of her working relationship with my DH, but because we like her and would be confident in her decisions. Now, we don't know her fiance, her mother, her sister, her future step kids...you get the idea.
SO! It's time to set an official policy regarding weddings.
My first thought is to create a thoughtfully worded statement to the effect that, while our home is lovely and perhaps larger than the average family's home, it can, for reasons of both comfort and safety, only accommodate XX number of people, including children between the ages of 0 and 18. X guests can be accommodated as stay over/breakfast next morning guests, while an additional x can join us for the ceremony and refreshments after in the public areas of the house.
This statement would be followed with information about exactly which parts ot the property guests would and would not have access to, information about meals, accommodating a wedding cake (this is an area of concern for me).
I am leaning toward a contract that would require them to get their own insurance; but I don't see that as being a first line when discussing this. I'm thinking of a nice little brochure with some picture and policies to give a couple an idea of what would be possible.
Does that sound reasonable - or am I missing something that I will get after I live it? TIA
 

EmptyNest

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
8,741
Reaction score
1
I think you are just asking for trouble. If you do it for a friend/ husband's colleague...you will have even less control because they will think because the work together the rules don't apply to them. We never did weddings but I think you know...you have read enough here from others to know the kind of problems you will face. Put it all ...every little detail down in black and white and they MUST SIGN and AGREE before you move on.
Here's an online brochure a friend of mine has. here is her wedding details page.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
I had a call for a small wedding just today. She tried to convince me to do it. Here are the things I can bring to the table briefly...
  • They must rent all rooms. If they think they want the inn to prep and primp they need to rent them the night prior as well.
  • There is an PER HOUR charge if they stay over, they will always stay over. If they have to pay they will get everyone in gear.
  • Are they cleaning up afterward? If so, have that in there, cleaned up BY 4pm or whatever.
  • Have a HUGE % as the deposit and have your cancellation time frame IN STEEL. Ie 30 days to make any major changes or cancellations. Take this deposit and ALSO have them sign a waiver to be paid for damages. They need to SIGN on the dotted line and date it agreeing to your policies, even friends, make them sign.
  • Alcohol. Even at small weddings, it is known that long long relatives hit the sauce if they can find it, HIDE IT until the reception.
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,559
Reaction score
145
You absolutely want to require them to have insurance. We had a thread about this a while back - Father of the Groom was limping and said something to the innkeeper about "falling and twisting his ankle" on the property but the limp disappeared soon after he was informed the Bride's insurance would cover his injury....
 

LA Hostel

Active member
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
38
Reaction score
0
Must have insurance, and must be a perfect diplomat and rhino wrangler.
Honestly - I used to photograph 40 weddings each year - IMHO unless you are desperate, or a full time wedding facility with ,bride & mother, wranglers, you really don't want to play with this.
As for the size of the party, simply blame the fire department, there is a x person limit on the area you are renting not to be exceeded by any amount.
Bride parties think, believe, and am convinced that everything is there for their purpose, they can and will step on, spill on, etc positively anything which can be abused, step on the piano to get a better view and picture. there are a reason most wedding spaces are pretty run down, and the good ones have a little army of wranglers and keepers.
Just my 2 cents as a x wedding professional.
Bo
 

Red Handed Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
263
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, I have considered many of the things you've brought up...and while I really am 100% okay with this lady, I just plain don't know her family...you never know who's going to wig out.
As far as alcohol, we're a "dry" BnB (well, <cough> except for the Innkeeper's quarters...but that's off limits). And that may just take care of the whole issue.
Catlady - I appreciate the links.
Off to ponder. Thanks again.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,358
Reaction score
226
Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, I have considered many of the things you've brought up...and while I really am 100% okay with this lady, I just plain don't know her family...you never know who's going to wig out.
As far as alcohol, we're a "dry" BnB (well, <cough> except for the Innkeeper's quarters...but that's off limits). And that may just take care of the whole issue.
Catlady - I appreciate the links.
Off to ponder. Thanks again..
That should take care of any problems right there...tell them it's a dry wedding and they may just decide to go elsewhere.
Would that be the case for all of the small weddings? That might be a tough sell. Totally depends on the area, tho.
 

Tom

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 11, 2009
Messages
864
Reaction score
8
B&B mentors have told us that weddings can be a big profit source, but an even bigger headache -- and the only aspect of a B&B that annoyed the neighbors (loud music, parking conflicts).
Advice here is all good (book all rooms, big deposit) and I'll add: don't let caterer or guests in your kitchen.
Wedding size for us is mainly lack of parking. But 30 people sounds like a manageable crowd.
Our first wedding is next week, so we'll find out first hand!
 

wendydk

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Messages
1,656
Reaction score
0
Not the least bit interested in weddings...of course we are far too small to accommodate even the smallest affair.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
All the best Tom, give us your review of the experience when it's all said and done. :)
You know the PO's here did that, that was their niche, weddings, and you think, where? But I have an album chockfull of photos where they had lovely tables in lace on the porch for cake and punch, and all sorts of odd configs that made it really cool. They also had to hire additional staff - sometimes just to tell people to use a coaster and not destroy the furniture inside and direct traffic. But they made it worth their while as he was the photog, she was the florist and baker. But hiring five extra people to work it? How did they make any money I ask.
 

LA Hostel

Active member
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
38
Reaction score
0
All the best Tom, give us your review of the experience when it's all said and done. :)
You know the PO's here did that, that was their niche, weddings, and you think, where? But I have an album chockfull of photos where they had lovely tables in lace on the porch for cake and punch, and all sorts of odd configs that made it really cool. They also had to hire additional staff - sometimes just to tell people to use a coaster and not destroy the furniture inside and direct traffic. But they made it worth their while as he was the photog, she was the florist and baker. But hiring five extra people to work it? How did they make any money I ask..
I think possible there are another way of looking at the wedding question. (and by extention other multi use events.)
Keep it simple, figure out what your product is, then focus on that product.
don't confuse the customers, and even more, don't confuse you self and your marketing effort.. make sure you know what you want to sell and then focus on that.
If somebody specilizes in weddings, that is one thing and probably very successful, however these events (and mother in laws) can be a HUGE distraction to your business.
there are BIG money to be made in weddings...! (I know for sure from my own life).
But nobody make money doing a complicated event once, you need to do this repeatedly, specialize in the execution and have your contract nailed down rock solid. doing one wedding is like a test case and 100% sure to cost more than it makes one way or another.
.
 

Red Handed Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
263
Reaction score
0
All the best Tom, give us your review of the experience when it's all said and done. :)
You know the PO's here did that, that was their niche, weddings, and you think, where? But I have an album chockfull of photos where they had lovely tables in lace on the porch for cake and punch, and all sorts of odd configs that made it really cool. They also had to hire additional staff - sometimes just to tell people to use a coaster and not destroy the furniture inside and direct traffic. But they made it worth their while as he was the photog, she was the florist and baker. But hiring five extra people to work it? How did they make any money I ask..
I think possible there are another way of looking at the wedding question. (and by extention other multi use events.)
Keep it simple, figure out what your product is, then focus on that product.
don't confuse the customers, and even more, don't confuse you self and your marketing effort.. make sure you know what you want to sell and then focus on that.
If somebody specilizes in weddings, that is one thing and probably very successful, however these events (and mother in laws) can be a HUGE distraction to your business.
there are BIG money to be made in weddings...! (I know for sure from my own life).
But nobody make money doing a complicated event once, you need to do this repeatedly, specialize in the execution and have your contract nailed down rock solid. doing one wedding is like a test case and 100% sure to cost more than it makes one way or another.
.
.
LA Hostel said:
I think possible there are another way of looking at the wedding question. (and by extention other multi use events.)
Keep it simple, figure out what your product is, then focus on that product.
don't confuse the customers, and even more, don't confuse you self and your marketing effort.. make sure you know what you want to sell and then focus on that.
Bo, I think those are excellent points, particularly about what we need to get clear in our minds (and informational materials).
In my previous career, I worked a lot of weddings (church weddings) from the ceremony side, so I've seen that part. OTOH, both my brother and I had very, very small ceremonies (for me, I'd seen enough and knew what was important to me - my brother's wedding was my all time favorite). DH & I had 8 people at our wedding & dinner - including ourselves. My brother's wedding meal had more guests, but was still untraditionally small.
I think we could offer and very nice option for couples looking to go such a route. I just want make sure that any potential brides (& MOBs) are clear on what is offered here. Sometimes, I think, people look at the web page or call on the phone and see/hear what they WANT. I'm reminded of the man who called and kept saying they wanted a nice downtown they could walk around and shop, go to lots of restaurants. I kept TELLING him that was not our town, but he wouldn't give up (We have no stop light, does he think there are places I've missed?). He finally got it when I told him, "You won't be happy here, you need to go to <name of a different town with what he wanted>." I can easily see how a lack of such frank and assertive communication could be disastrous with a wedding party.
Off to ponder some more.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
RHJ, you have a good insight into what and what you are not willing to offer. There are many B&B's offering small intimate ceremonies, let us know how it turns out. Like Bo said, once you have the whole protocol down it should be fun.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,358
Reaction score
226
All the best Tom, give us your review of the experience when it's all said and done. :)
You know the PO's here did that, that was their niche, weddings, and you think, where? But I have an album chockfull of photos where they had lovely tables in lace on the porch for cake and punch, and all sorts of odd configs that made it really cool. They also had to hire additional staff - sometimes just to tell people to use a coaster and not destroy the furniture inside and direct traffic. But they made it worth their while as he was the photog, she was the florist and baker. But hiring five extra people to work it? How did they make any money I ask..
I think possible there are another way of looking at the wedding question. (and by extention other multi use events.)
Keep it simple, figure out what your product is, then focus on that product.
don't confuse the customers, and even more, don't confuse you self and your marketing effort.. make sure you know what you want to sell and then focus on that.
If somebody specilizes in weddings, that is one thing and probably very successful, however these events (and mother in laws) can be a HUGE distraction to your business.
there are BIG money to be made in weddings...! (I know for sure from my own life).
But nobody make money doing a complicated event once, you need to do this repeatedly, specialize in the execution and have your contract nailed down rock solid. doing one wedding is like a test case and 100% sure to cost more than it makes one way or another.
.
.
LA Hostel said:
I think possible there are another way of looking at the wedding question. (and by extention other multi use events.)
Keep it simple, figure out what your product is, then focus on that product.
don't confuse the customers, and even more, don't confuse you self and your marketing effort.. make sure you know what you want to sell and then focus on that.
Bo, I think those are excellent points, particularly about what we need to get clear in our minds (and informational materials).
In my previous career, I worked a lot of weddings (church weddings) from the ceremony side, so I've seen that part. OTOH, both my brother and I had very, very small ceremonies (for me, I'd seen enough and knew what was important to me - my brother's wedding was my all time favorite). DH & I had 8 people at our wedding & dinner - including ourselves. My brother's wedding meal had more guests, but was still untraditionally small.
I think we could offer and very nice option for couples looking to go such a route. I just want make sure that any potential brides (& MOBs) are clear on what is offered here. Sometimes, I think, people look at the web page or call on the phone and see/hear what they WANT. I'm reminded of the man who called and kept saying they wanted a nice downtown they could walk around and shop, go to lots of restaurants. I kept TELLING him that was not our town, but he wouldn't give up (We have no stop light, does he think there are places I've missed?). He finally got it when I told him, "You won't be happy here, you need to go to <name of a different town with what he wanted>." I can easily see how a lack of such frank and assertive communication could be disastrous with a wedding party.
Off to ponder some more.
.
I think I did pretty well as the MOB twice. I let the daughters handle everything and I showed up at the appointed time, told everyone everything was wonderful, cried at the appropriate time and thanked my lucky stars I didn't have to do anything. (Altho, I will admit I 'crashed' one daughter's wedding, but she thanked me afterwards.)
 

egoodell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
3,023
Reaction score
0
I think you are just asking for trouble. If you do it for a friend/ husband's colleague...you will have even less control because they will think because the work together the rules don't apply to them. We never did weddings but I think you know...you have read enough here from others to know the kind of problems you will face. Put it all ...every little detail down in black and white and they MUST SIGN and AGREE before you move on.
Here's an online brochure a friend of mine has. here is her wedding details page..
We are planning to do ceremonies only. We have a vineyard and all the wineries take the big weddings and people are still in this day spending the equivalent of a down on a house for them.
So I am working on the ceremony in the vineyard, cake, bottle of Virginia sparkling wine,and weekend stay with wine tour. Probably no more than 10 people. I'm looking for the people who want a pretty wedding without the cost. I will probably get a good camera and learn where to stand to take the photos.
NO exceptions or additions. No makeup artists or hairdressers. Just a simple package.
Riki
 
Top