Intimate Weddings, or not?
Tonight I was at a respectable place, respectable in the sense that they do a good job, they are established and try their best to do a fine job. However, this particular catering hall is basically organized chaos. I’ve been to nearly every catering/wedding venue in North Jersey, and this one is a factory. They have at least 3 floors and by an underestimate, the can accommodate at least 6+ weddings a day or even at the same time. I can’t be sure, but the place is surely like a labyrinth or maze. While I know most of the rooms/exits, its still confusing. But, this is what it is, its a wedding place, and if you book there, don’t be surprised if you are in the garden or gazebo and there are 3 other wedding parties being photographed. I don’t want to judge, everyone has a budget, and not every bride cares if she is not the only one in that place at that given time.
However, if you DO want an entire venue to yourself with no other weddings going on, please be sure to express that to the place where your reception will be held. Many are good about that, conducting 2 weddings at once but isolating them by rooms far apart and staff with wireless communications to communicate when the bride is in which room so they don’t run into each other. Then, there are places that don’t care, and just let photographers, brides and guests just run rampant with no supervision from the staff to fend for themselves just like a kindergarten jungle gym.
Personally, I would not be so upset, I would prefer a budget wedding because I am older, and do weddings for a living and know what this is all about… however, if I were someone (or my wife to be) wanted to feel like a princess and the only person in the world that needed catering to, then you need to consider a venue who only does one or two weddings at a time. Some do one in the morning, one at night, or one in late afternoon that ends and the next starts from evening till midnight. Its all a personal preference which also involves a catering hall/venue who can deliver what you want. One example would be where there was a wedding in one room a Prom in another and of course a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in another. Sure, the room are far enough apart, but the bride needs to decide what her limits are for one of the most important days of her life. If she has no problem with another wedding a football field away, that is fine, but if there is a prom with a DJ blasting rap music in the room next door, it will be an issue.
When you sign a contact, be sure and be specific about what you want, what you need, and what your expectations are. If you want full access to the beautiful grounds of that reception hall, let them know that you will not be restricted from taking photos in that area regardless of what other events are taking place.
Not everyone can have an intimate wedding of 100 people or less, but if you have the money, make demands and know what to expect so you do not wind up disappointed. If you have less than 100 people, there are tons of venues, restaurants, and even catering/reception halls which can feel you isolated, but first determine what you want and what you are willing to pay for.