Yesterday we went to see the two golf clubs that I had spotted online. They were interesting visits but our plans are not yet clearer.
First we went to Magnolia Park Golf & Country Club. It is located in Boarstall, which is effectively, in the middle of nowhere. Although this doesn’t bode well for us as many of our guests are out of town guests and won’t have cars, we didn’t let that get in the way of our first impression.
Magnolia Park is set in some impressive greenery and landscape and would certainly be large enough to hold all our guests and then some. They also seem quite flexible with room layouts and decorations and offer chair covers and some centre pieces that can be added to our package.
This brings me swiftly onto my next point: the package. I’m going to side-track slightly here to just talk a little bit about the wedding package. Most wedding venues offer a wedding package. More can be found on this on my Wedding Venue Search Guide.
These packages assume a certain amount of genericness around them. They imply that the day has to include all the bits and pieces that the package offers, This also means that the day has to follow a particular schedule/timeline and should include various activities that run on from one another. These are great if you had always been planning to include all the various meals and parts of the day, but we are struggling a bit with the idea that we are expected to include all the bits and pieces of these packages.
Back to Magnolia Park: we were shown around the entire golf club and then the lady sat us down talked through all the meal options and what they can offer. She showed us their three course meal options, their buffet options, told us about the room layout options, the table linen and even talked us through what we need to get married legally (this golf club would be served by a different register office than the rest of Oxfordshire). She also mentioned all the extras they could add on, such as a round of golf for the men on the day before the wedding.
One thing that was going to be a problem with Magnolia Park was that there was no hotel nearby as yet. They are working on one, and it is very hit or miss whether this would be ready in time for our wedding in April.
Shortly after our meeting, the lady who showed us round emailed over a quote for a slightly altered package as promised. We decided to enquire about a hot buffet option, instead of a three course sit-down meal as we didn’t want everything to be quite so formal, and we also decided to eliminate the evening finger buffet with a view to get started perhaps a bit later than the norm. We have also decided that our number of guests is likely to hover around the 70 people mark, which is great progress! (A lot more than this will be invited but I will leave this to be discussed in more detail in another post).
This is what our offer includes:
- Venue hire until 1:20am (can be extended to 2:00am if required for an extra charge of £100)
- 70 guests
- Civil Ceremony charge
- Welcome drinks for 70 guests
- Sparkling wine for toast for 70 guests
- Half a bottle of house wine per guest with their meal
- DJ & Disco for 5 hours
- Fully stocked, licensed bar, staffed until 1:00am
- Tables, Chairs, Cutlery, Crockery & Glasses
- White Linen Tablecloths and Napkins
- Chair Covers & Sashes
- Cake Stand & Cake Knife
- Wedding Coordinator
The price quoted for this is: £3,715.00 and includes VAT at 20%.
Once you start looking online and asking around, this quote is actually rather good considering it includes all the bits and pieces listed above. But there was something about the place. Something we couldn’t quite put our finger on, that didn’t quite get us excited about the prospect of getting married there.
Off to the Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa then to see what they had to offer! From the outset, this place was nicer, grander, classier, and more expensive! Before showing us round, the events coordinator at this golf club, sat us down in one of their restaurants, offered us a drink and asked us about our requirements, needs, thoughts and wish list.
This was a different approach indeed and although it was nice, it was also quite difficult to say for sure what we were after because we still didn’t really know. We needed someone to show us what could be possible. This didn’t seem to be a problem but this place did seem quite constrained by the wedding packages (unless money is completely no object!). After discussing some of our preferences and various options, we were shown the potential rooms we could use for the ceremony and the reception.
Now this place was nice. It was classier had been better looked after. The clientele was obviously quite different too, considering one was solely a golf club (older men enjoying a round of golf) and the other was a spa/health centre first, then a hotel and then a golf club (think people with enough money to buy time to look after themselves at the spa/health centre/golf round). And this was reflected in the price.
The original package included the following items:
– Summer Wedding Package: available on Fridays and Sundays throughout April, May, June, July, August, September and October 2014
– A complete package for 50 adult day guests and 120 evening guests
– Bridal flowers
– Three course wedding breakfast and canapes
– Reception drinks, half a bottle of wine per adult (with meal), bubbly toast
– Three tier wedding cake
– Evening reception with disco and buffet for 120 guests
– Complimentary honeymoon suite for the night of the wedding
This package is £7,500.00 (inc. VAT).
We asked for a ‘tweaked’ package that essentially cut out the wedding breakfast to have a 2 course buffet (we would have the wedding ceremony later in the day – we love the idea of a ‘twilight wedding’ in the evening). We were misunderstood: she thought we wanted to change the wedding breakfast to a buffet in addition to the evening buffet. It is moments like this that make me say that these places are constrained by these ‘packages’, like you can’t veer away from them too much – it would not even be considered.
We were quoted for exactly the same package for for 70 day guests and 120 evening guests but for a two course hot and cold style buffet + canapes (instead of a 3 course meal). The total cost for this package is £7,500.00 and is inclusive of VAT at 20%. So the tweaked package does cater for 70 day guests instead of the 50 that are accounted for in the normal package. However, both the packages are not available on a Saturday (would cost a lot more), so this would have to take some serious thought.
Many venues have different pricing for Fridays and Saturdays compared with the rest of the week because they know that these days are more popular than the rest for weddings. This venue actually has one price for Fridays and Sundays, a different price for Saturdays and a third price for other days. The minimum spend for a Saturday during the summer months for example, is £6330, however that figure only includes room hire and breakfast menu charges (for a minimum of 70 guests). Drinks, evening buffet and DJ/disco, the bridal flowers, the cake and the complimentary bridal suite are not included in this cost.
This was all an absurd amount of money for us. Yes, you do get a lot ‘thrown in’, but then again, do you need all that thrown in? Would we be able to do all those things without spending so much on them? Just because this Golf Club says that something costs that much, is that actually what it costs or do they also get commission on these things?
We will have to go back to the Bicester Hotel Golf & Spa to clarify our ‘tweaking’ request and see what they come back with. Otherwise, we do like the idea of having our wedding there. It would be beautiful, convenient and we would be able to put a bit of our own stamp on the what is very nearly a blank canvas.
- Wedding Venue Searching – 16/05/2013
- Wedding Package Tweaking – 23/05/2013