We had our first face-to-face consultation with LaDonna and Darnell on Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 4:30 pm at Starbucks Coffee on Howell Mill Rd. in Atlanta, GA.
During this first meeting, LaDonna and Darnell were able to complete 2 questionnaires:
1) A couple style questionnaire which helps the couple and the consultant understand what their planning expectations, the style and theme of their wedding, size, colors, and feel.
2) A priorities questionnaire which helps the couple and consultant understand from the budget items what is most and least important. Therefore, if money becomes an issue, what can we cut back on and what are the must-haves!
The good thing about these exercises are that the bride and groom are able to see if they have the same ideas and are on the same page in the planning process. For example, the bride might want a large guest list, while the groom is thinking somewhere between 75-100 guests. The groom says the style and decor is high on his priorities list, whereas the bride wants impeccable photos! Or in the best cases, the bride and groom have similar tastes and preferences which makes the planning process a wee bit easier, which is the case with LaDonna and Darnell.
Continuing during our conversation, LaDonna and I had previously discussed venues. However, prior to discussing venues we have to discuss budget. LaDonna and Darnell have a budget of $15-20K for their wedding. They have their heart set on the Georgia Aquarium for their wedding ceremony and reception. However, that venue just may be a bit over their budget. Second choice is The Fox Theatre in the Egyptian Ballroom. I also posed a suggestion for them as to if they are open to holding their ceremony outside and the reception indoors. They said yes, however their only concern in inclement weather, which we can always have a Plan B in those cases. So, other venue options are The Eagle's Landing Country Club and The Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
After speaking with the Sales & Marketing Reps from both The Georgia Aquarium and The Fox Theatre this is what I found out:
Rep. Anne Morgan
Pro: The date April 25th, 2009 is booked, but LaDonna & Darnell's first choice of August 9, 2008 is available. A gorgeous ambiance and scenery for a beautiful wedding.
Con: The cost for the Aquarium exceeds LaDonna & Darnell's budget....by a lot! The facility fee is $5250 on a Saturday evening, plus a $25000 minimum for food and beverage.
The Fox Theatre - Egyptian Ballroom
Rep. Jennifer Farmer
Pros: The cost for holding a wedding and ceremony at this venue is more in line with LaDonna & Darnell's budget. To rent the Grand Salon (for the cermony) and the Egyptian Ballroom (reception) is a total of $7000 for any night of the week. There is also the option for just renting the Egyptian Ballroom for the Ceremony and Reception, and while the room is being converted after the reception, a cocktail hour can be held out on the Terrace.
Cons: None of the dates that LaDonna & Darnell specified are available. Also, all the Saturdays in March and April 2009 are either booked or have holds on them, BUT there is the possibility of challenging those Saturday's that are reserved, but not yet paid for if LaDonna & Darnell want to put a deposit down. Also, there is a $5000 minimum bar charge for Saturday evening events.
After communicating these options to LaDonna, we are still at the drawing board for a venue and most importantly a date! Continue to check back with us as we journal the planning process of LaDonna & Darnell's wedding!