- May 25, 2014 at 7:26 pm #440782
My fiance and I were engaged at the end of last year. We were really excited to start venue shopping earlier this year. One of the first venues we looked at was Balgownie Estate. We made an initial email enquiry, downloaded the information packs and eventually toured the venue.The thing that attracted us to Balgownie was that there was no minimum spend or minimum head count. The only time a minimum head count was mentioned was in relation to accommodation- the bride and groom would get a suite included in the package if they reached 50+ guests. As we had a guestlist of 55-60 we thought this was perfect for us. At the tour, we asked if there was a minimum spend or minimum head count. We were told ‘no’. In fact, the woman doing the tour even went as far to say that Balgownie Estate ‘prides itself on being all inclusive’ and had ‘no hidden fees’. Great, we thought. Over the next couple of months we looked at other venues in the Yarra Valley area but continued to email the wedding coordinator at Balgownie with various questions. We finally decided on Balgownie and started saving for the deposit (20% is required to secure the booking). We then contacted the wedding coordinator and advised her that we wanted to proceed with Balgownie. She told us she would send through a ‘proposal’ with all the details and pricing and we had to OK it before she would send a contract for us to sign. The proposal had a breakdown of the fees and as we scrolled down the page- SURPRISE! we were hit with a $15,000 bill (even though we had told them 55 people, at $160/head- so we were expecting $8,800). When we questioned this we were advised that Balgownie DOES have a minimum spend. We were told that this was a ‘new policy’ and they would not give us the original pricing as ‘it was not in writing’. We said that we were told there was NO minimum spend/head count, but all we got back was ‘sorry for the miscommunication’. Its like if I went to a car dealership, got a quote for a car, came back to pay and they have increased the price. Their website TO THIS DAY still has no mention of minimum spends/head counts and neither does their wedding info package. The way we see it, they have either;1. Started a new policy but didn’t tell us until we were about to pay, and refused to honor the original quote2. Deliberately didn’t tell us from the very beginningThis whole experience has left us completely disappointed and we feel that we have been lied to. Moral of the story brides- CONFIRM EVERYTHING IN WRITING and DO NOT TRUST BALGOWNIE ESTATESeptember 13, 2014 at 11:05 pm #453588
<p>That’s really disappointing. I’m looking to have a small wedding of about 40 in the Yarra Valley, and most venues seem to have minium spend/head count, but getting that information out of them seems to be a struggle across the board. Several emails, phone calls and even visits later before they can tell me that kind of information. Did you find somewhere suitable in the end Nancy?</p>
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