Battle of the (wallet) bulge
Posted: Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Brittany Sajbel is an associate attorney in Concord. Her March wedding planning has hit quite a few bumps in the road, but she remains positive and sane with the help of her amazing fiance, Neil Love, and their two furbabies, Gemma Bean and Kitty Caroline. Contact Brittany here.
I am not a blogger.I am not a writer, a reflector, or a thought-provoker. Writing each week for an audience is extremely intimidating for me and having my weight broadcast across the web is not any little girls dream. But there comes a point when we all have to step out of our comfort zones and confront our shortcomings, so I force the little extrovert out of me each week to talk about my weight loss and wedding planning. Or weight gain, as the case actually was this week. +1 pound. In good news, though, I looked back at my past weigh-ins and realized that I have actually lost more overall than I thought. So even though I technically gained a pound this month, I lost 4 more. Its all about staying positive.In terms of staying positive, wedding planning has had more ups than downs this week. Neil and I finally got to visit our venue this past weekend, and it was gorgeous. The weather was perfect, there was a beautiful wedding already set up there, and the coordinator was sweeter than I could have imagined. We put down a deposit for the venue and the photographer, but the catering is still up in the air.When we first starting researching the venue, we learned that the site has two preferred caterers, and we had to use one or the other. We found incredibly positive reviews of Caterer A, but mixed reviews concerning Caterer B. Caterer B offered a much more attractive set-up for a cheaper price, but that price was apparent in the menu offerings. Whereas Caterer A planned to wine and dine the guests with a prime rib carving station and five amazing canapés, Caterer B came back with an offer of miniature corn on the cob. Dont get me wrong, we told them that we liked corn, but my guests arent going to be eating food with their fingers. It was a cheap and awkward addition to a menu that was not Southern, barbeque, or casual. Caterer As corn recommendation? Creamed corn with bacon. Hello, Heaven; Goodbye, Diet.So the choice for the catering seemed obvious to us from the selections offered, especially when a tweaked Caterer B menu came back within $100 of Caterer As proposal. But upon closer examination, there are some major differences. Caterer Bs menu includes the wedding cake for our estimated number of guests, which is a huge cost consideration. Caterer B also includes many props and decorations for the event and is a full-service florist, so we could bundle our centerpieces and bouquets. In terms of extras, Caterer B took the win.In terms of sampling and options, however, Caterer B took a walloping. Have other brides out there paid for a tasting? I would agree that charging for a menu tasting is acceptablecaterers cannot individually prepare menu samples for hundreds of couples that may or may not book with the company. However, the price for a tasting with Caterer B was $65. PER PERSON. I am not sure how that possibly equates with a menu that they quoted at approximately $30 per guest. Perhaps theyre going to prepare the entire beef tenderloin for us so that we can make sure no inch of it is overcooked. Maybe they cant make mashed potatoes without the entire ten-pound bag. Its possible I missed the part where the asparagus is sprinkled with gold dust. But $65 per person for a sample was quick to knock them down the totem pole, especially when we were informed that they are too busy on the weekends to prepare a sample, but [we] could come to a group tasting on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Caterer B is not winning Miss Congeniality in our wedding pageant.Also taking a hit in the payments category, Caterer A wants 50 percent of the proposed fee up-front to secure the date. Now, I didnt go to business school and my fiancé didnt go to business school, but were not the kind of folks that would back out on a deal over $1,000. We wouldnt back out on a deal over $500 or even $200, but we dont want our caterer hanging in the balance until we can come up with several thousand dollars. Does a 50 percent deposit/retainer seem ridiculous to other brides out there? I havent come across another venue, photographer, or even other caterer who wants 50 percent of an as-yet-to-be-determined final amount to secure the date. The point of paying a retainer is that youre retaining a companys services for a specific date, not starting to pay for the costs of the product and production. Given that all business for our venue must come from one of two caterers, youd think they might cut us a little slack. That said, Caterer Bs deposit is only $500, which might unfortunately be the sole deal-breaker.So catering is still up in the air, which is a major pain in the neck for me. My heart and tummy are pulled in one direction, whereas my wallet (okay, my fathers wallet) is clearly being pulled in the other. I want the decision to be based on taste, but if Caterer B wont let that happen for under $130, its not going to be a possibility.Brides out there, what would you do or what have you done to make a close call on a vendor? What should be the most important consideration for the Big Day?
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views. Read moreRead less