Dearest Brides. We really do love you. You are the reason we exist, after all. The advice in this post is going to seem mundane and common sense to most of you. However, in light of the bride and groom running around cyberspace posting nasty things about our customer service and “unexpected charges,” I feel I need to take our own little soap box to clarify things and provide some advice to those of you in the planning stages.

This couple…for the sake of privacy, let’s call them Sadie and Rylen …were shocked to discover the price of alcohol after their wedding, and equally shocked that we retained their damage deposit for three violations of our liquor license. (Note to self, ladies, at face value, a case of PBR snuck into the groom’s chambers is indeed much cheaper than purchasing alcohol legally through the liquor concessionaire per state liquor laws. However – that case gets super expensive if it’s discovered by staff and we have to take the measures outlined in the contract for violating our liquor license. So, in the end – not really the place you want to look to to save a buck.) Moving on, Sadie and Rylen’s advice (if you’ve read any of the posts online under multiple fictitious names and dates) is to talk to Harvest before your event to discuss alcohol pricing, and to read the Pavilion contract before signing it.

Um, funny…that’s ours, too.

This is going to sound harsh, but because of Sadie and Rylen’s reaction, we need to reiterate to the other 99% of you that probably know to do this – Please, READ THE CONTRACT. (I’m not really shouting…just kind of saying it louder than I normally talk, in a somewhat exasperated tone.) If you have any questions about the language, policies, or procedures outlined – especially the items related to alcohol that are in bold, underlined print – please discuss it with us.

By nature, Blair and I are not very confrontational people. Blair in particular is fun and charismatic. It’s so much easier for us to have a grown up conversation with you about certain policies as you’re making decisions and preparations than it is afterward, when you’re super upset because we actually enforced rules that you wanted to pretend didn’t exist.

Part of Sadie and Rylen’s posts have to do with prices, so I feel the need to spend a moment on budget, too. Your wedding should have one. Regardless of whether you can afford to spent $2 million, or $2,000, you need to sit down with your fiance and your parents (if they are chipping in for anything) to go over what you plan to spend on everything from venue to alcohol to food to flowers. The Knot has a great interactive budget planning tool to help you set the intial budget, and keep track of it as you go.

Oh, and one last thing…if you’re reading this, presumably it’s because you’re considering our venue for your wedding. So here’s our contract: Pavilion contract – 2010. You’ll get a hard copy to peruse at your leisure if you take a tour with us, but this will give you a jump start.

Happy planning!

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