Venues in the Lansing Area

Happy Sunday Everyone!

One of the questions I get asked most often is, “What is a good place for a reception in the Lansing area?”

Of course, I always have to ask a series of questions in order to accurately answer the first question. How many people do you plan to invite? What style of wedding do you want? What is most important to you – budget, style, food, drink, other? Answers to these queries help me to pick the right venue for the right client.

There are pros and cons to every venue in the Lansing area – and I would dare say, everywhere. It’s really a matter of picking the one that has the best features for you and the least disadvantages for your event.

Of course, there are venues in the area that I prefer. Either for style, budget or service. There are also venues that I actively steer clients away from – almost always because of a service issue. I cannot over-emphasize how critical good service is. You can have the most beautiful venue, but later on find that due to a regimented adherence to certain irrelevant restrictions (irrelevant because they truly don’t impact the venue greatly, neither through safety, money nor time), you are unable to execute a key vision for your day. You can find that the people who run the facility are very nice, but as soon as that contract is signed, you become an afterthought. There are other venues of course where the management is pretty upfront about the fact that they care little for your event. Believe me, it does NOT get better from there. The unbelievably gorgeous budget-friendly venue can quickly become the choice you regret the most if it is run by people who really don’t care about what a special day your wedding is.

I, of course, won’t go into naming names in a public blog. All I can say is, if you are shopping for a venue on your own, go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling from the salesperson who is showing you the venue, run. Consider other options. Non-traditional. Do research. Investigate. Making the right choices in reception site and ceremony site are the two biggest decisions you are going to make about the wedding (other than your spouse). These  choices will set the tone, and either help to keep your stress at a minimum or make you wish you had eloped.

On a positive note, I would love to give a shout out to a venue that I feel exemplifies excellent customer service. I have a client who is having a rather high-end wedding this summer at the University Club in East Lansing. The bride and I have been working very closely with Janice out there, and she is so on top of her game. She really understands that this day is a big day in the life of the bride, and not just another Saturday for the U Club. They are a joy to work with.

But have no fear, you can find great customer service at other venues that fit all economic needs (future blogs to come!). If you’re interested in more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (989) 906-4332.

Happy Planning!

Addicted to bridal shows?

I admit it – I’m a bridal show addict. I watch them nonstop. I rationalize it to my friends by saying it’s research, but for the most part, it’s just a guilty pleasure. In addition to all the fun they provide, occasionally I get some really great inspiration from the work I see.

Of course, I am often a bit shocked by what I see also. For example, on the most recent episode of “Rich Bride, Poor Bride,” the two planners on there were not very respectful in my opinion. I understand that for most weddings, the bride is the VIP, but that doesn’t mean that the groom should be disrespected. I’ve dealt with some penny-pinching grooms as well, but rolling eyes and mocking tones aren’t the best way to mediate. I understand it was probably over-acted for the camera, but I can’t imagine talking to a client in that manner, and being filmed while doing it no less! Surprising…

I also love to see the different features incorporated into all of these weddings. For example, in this vineyard-themed wedding, they did a “cake” assembled out of wheels of cheese. Fantastic idea. But of course I don’t see anyone mention the logistical details behind this (but I can’t help thinking about the ten steps behind any design choice). For example, #1) when was the cheese served? Was it served during the cocktail hour, when most North Americans (they had to be Canadians, based on accent) are used to eating cheese? And if so, was it a complete waste of money, because the display would have been torn down so early? Or was it served in its traditional course, after dinner? At which point, did most of it go to waste, given that traditionally we prefer sweet things at the end of the night? #2) Who was responsible for slicing it up? How was it served? #3) What happened to all that leftover cheese? Because I can’t imagine that much cheese was consumed by their guests – that’s an incredible amount of cheese. These are the details that I find myself inadvertently thinking about when driving down the street or waiting in line. I want to know.

So how about you? Did you see the episode? What did you think? Canadian or American? Planners – rude or just catering to the bride? Cheese wheel – worth the investment, or could there have been a more cost-effective but equally cool (and perhaps more logistically-friendly) presentation? I look forward to your thoughts!