Recently there was a location that portrayed every sketchy venue stereo type in not valuing a client's business due to the fact that they would probably never return. For privacy purposes, we will call the referenced venue the "Mountwest" Country Club.
Upon entering the venue with my client, there was a feeling it would be trouble. With the four hosts (aka Guard Dogs) inquiring about who you are, where you are from and who you are seeing, I knew we were in for some headaches. Focusing back to the pre-event meetings, anything additional, like a strawberry was an "upgrade" and a verbal price. It always makes me nervous to work with a venue that doesn't use or correspond with email (YES, in 2008!) and doesn't have a breakdown of additional costs in writing. Could that be that we would then have documentation and a full understanding of their pricing?
Fast forwarding to the day of the event, my assistant and I are welcomed on site to a rude and condescending older man calling himself the Event Manager, he was scream at us across the room about my client's cake topper and cocktail napkins asking where they go. Mind you, I was questioned in detail about each item I brought in for the bride and where they would be placed. Apparently, this "Event Manager" also chose not to communicate with their office.
In between the yelling and arguing about my staff and I being stupid, I was witnessing their sales manager walk client after client through our bride's ballroom selling our work and designs as their own. By the second couple I smartened up and gave the new couple my business card...I might as well get that credit. Immediately I was scolded by the sales manager since they have "preferred vendors" and THEY can do the same creation we designed, better.
In between requesting the removal of the furniture from the prior event that took over 2 hours to facilitate and begging for a 4' table for our candy bar, we were then welcomed to dirty flatware on the table. Apparently this is a common thing according to the "Mountwest", since the items are reused often without the proper cleaning. Something very new and peculier to me, I thought once you use plates and glassware, whether it be chargers or champagne glasses, they should be cleaned? After bringing this to the venue's attention with disgust and threats to call the health department, they replaced the dirty items (with reluctance) only after informing us that the guest's "don't really use them". ICK!!!
Now, each bride I work with, we have a rehearsal prior to the wedding. The "Mountwest" didn't allow us space to do that so it was handled at my client's home and a detailed agenda was submitted to the venue. Then on site, the venue event manager called my assistant stupid, got in the middle of the bridal party line and started interrupting our line up & changing it before my eyes as he pushed the girls down the aisle.
At that point, I needed a drink.
The rest of the night went pretty smoothly based on the hell we had already experienced. The militant serving of the food and lifeless personalities of the staff did help to get the group out not a minute after 10:30 PM.
At the end of the night, I was greeted again by the sales manager (in flip flops) informing me that they have preferred vendors here and if my clients wants to order chairs, decor, etc, they need to handle it directly so THEY, not I, can mark it up. Once again, the money hungry sales manager had yet to realize my clients pay for those items direct and I actually PASS ON my discount to them. With egg on her face, she stormed off.
In talking to other vendors and colleagues, apparently this is a standard of the "Mountwest" Country Club and I felt the need to inform my past and future clients of their treatment. As a client, your day should be special and unique, and not like another factory event. Keep this in mind when choosing your venue before cutting the check! If in doubt, check with your event planner and listen to their experiences, it can describe mountains.