Other Extras that you will need to pay us for...
It's all about Managing Expectations
If it is not included in the Wedding Package, then it is an Extra.
An area where Couples may get confused is 'what does the Wedding Venue decorate?' Some Couples do not realise that what we provide stops at the table linen, napkins, cutlery, glasses and plates, and putting out sufficient chairs and rounds (round tables) according to your table plan.
When it comes to centrepieces and table decor, you either do this yourself on the morning of your wedding (or if the room is vacated, the night before), putting out your own place names, favours, table centres etc.
Or you hire in a professional to do it all for you.
This is not something the Castle will routinely do for you for free, though we can become your 'table decor professional' for a negotiated price if you have not sorted out your own decor company. Yes, we can set up your table decor, favours etc, and put bows on chairs and white covers etc, all by arrangement, all for a negotiated fee - but not for free! We can even have our maintenance team climb tall ladders and put your bunting and balloons up, but not for free!
If your colour theme is blue and you want all the red and gold chairs moved out of the Conservatory and replaced with blue seated and silver chairs, this can be done for a fee, but not for free.
Managing Expectations means getting to know what we do and what you will do.
Reading the Wedding Planning pages will help you understand what each of us will be doing to organise your perfect day and helps us ensure all your hopes for your wedding day come true.
At time of writing, there's a complaint from a 2017 wedding client. They've complained we promised a clean fridge, sterile, for their personal medication as they had multiple and serious allergies.
They also wanted early book-in for all their guests, overlooking that there is a published limit on our Wedding Website of three rooms that can be reserved for early check-in, plus there is a charge of £25/ room for early arrivals. (Guests normally use the Sports Room facilities for early changing in, rather than get into their rooms before the Ceremony - no hotel can have all their guests book in simultaneously at 11 am if booking out is 10.30 am!)
The wedding planner of the day should have 'drawn a line in the sand' at this point. She should have clarified what is on the wedding website, and told them that the only way of ensuring multiple early book-in is to recruit an army of cleaners and charge for the extra labour incurred. This assumes we can even find three times the number of cleaners to clean a 100-bed capacity hotel in an hour when normally it takes us 3-4 hours to get around all the rooms. So either you have 7 cleaners work 4 hours or you have 21 cleaners work one hour!
Also how do you go about providing a medically sterile fridge? This is not a case of a pot washer finding an old fridge and thoroughly bleaching and cleaning every nook and cranny. Even this is not possible for someone with multiple allergies to almost everything, as the cleaning products themselves can cause a reaction. So the only quick fix was for us to buy a new fridge. The planner and the Couple themselves jointly failed to manage expectations and to communicate what was achievable and at what cost. This was an 'Extra' requirement and the Planner, in their desire to please, made promises they should not have made.
Responsibility for failing to manage expectations is two-way, just as communication is.
As someone paying the bills, I know every extra demand on staff labour and every extra item bought should be charged for.
Because this was not made clear by the Planner, we ended up buying a brand new fridge at our expense, and the Managers were all busy cleaning the rooms to keep the Couple happy. Unaware of all this, they still complained, saying we should have had more cleaners!
OK so the planner was at fault for not quoting for this as an extra, but likewise the Couple should have thought, are we really going to buy a brand-new £300 fridge just for a single once-off use by them alone? If it was a specialised extra that needed proper planning by both us and the Couple, the lesson we can draw is we need to be much more careful about what we agree to. Everyone says our staff are so helpful and willing to please, but we all need to learn not just to say 'Yes', to please someone.
We need to tell you what the score IS, not just take the easy route and tell you what you want to hear!
We have to ask, is this something we can do?
And if it is, what should we quote for it? A sterile fridge was an Extra our Planner should have either refused, or sought advice on from a Manager and properly quoted for. Responsibility for training Planners is a Management issue, hence this website is used as a wedding planning resource for wedding clients and wedding planners alike.
We have had some couples give their guests the entire wedding menu to choose from, not reading that they should only offer their guests two choices of each course of the wedding breakfast. This has meant us on occasion having to tell the Couple to go back to their guests with a revised menu!
For a recent wedding that only gave their menu choices five days before the wedding date, we were confronted with 7 choices of main and 7 choices of starter taken from both the Standard Wedding Breakfast Menu and the Superior Wedding Breakfast menu. There was no time for the Couple to go back to their guests with a corrected menu, the Couple had no comprehension they should be paying for the Superior Menu upgrade. On our side we know we have not enough hobs to simultaneously prepare this range of dishes all at once, though by using two staff kitchens and having the Wedding Planners prepare some of the extra dishes in two additional kitchens each with extra hobs, it was done. The Couple will not even be aware the extra work created!
A Wedding Breakfast is not a la carte; it is mass catering of two choices of starter (plus a vegetarian option) and two choices of main (plus a veggie option).
We have had couples bringing their own small bottles in, of wine or spirits or tasty special drinks, as table favours, not understanding that all alcohol brought on the premises has a corkage charge, not just normal sized bottles. We have had couples bring in their own food!
We have also found guests bringing in their own alcohol to the bar, and public areas, hiding their stash of supermarket bottles in the bushes! They are surprised and aggrieved when these are confiscated! Even the tutor I employ for my boys during the holidays attended a wedding and said there were complaints. I asked why and she said she and guests were all unhappy about the Manager not letting the Bride serve her own drinks to her guests. I had to explain why we charge 'corkage'.
Who I asked, pays the wages of the bar staff waiting to serve drinks who are then standing idly by while guests consume their supermarket purchases? Who pays the Rates and Council Tax on the building they are drinking their own bottles in? Who clears away those same bottles along with our own? And who pays for the rubbish collection? Who pays for the heating and lighting, and the insurance on the building? And if someone gets food poisoning from consumables brought on the premises, who covers the insurance claim as we all argue the toss over who was to blame?
The best way to understand who does what is to read the wedding planning pages on our site! Managing Expectations is about knowing what to expect!