The other day, I was writing an email to a bride of ours who hired us to do design work for her wedding. In working up the detail of the design for her, I was looking at other pieces of the planning process that integrated piece of the design. I was reviewing her catering and rental contracts and noticed some huge gaps in what she had been given.
Now, she had no reason not to trust the quotes or the caterers that had provided them. And, quite honestly, the vendors did not necessarily do anything wrong by giving the quotes they did. Either there was a miscommunication or simply a lack of the knowledge needed for the couple to catch the possible missing piece.
She had two catering quotes, both of which were slightly upcharging her for rental pricing, which is typical and often made up by no delivery fee.
One caterer had quoted her rental package out at $10pp but had not included spoons, coffee spoon, glassware for the bar, napkins, or any of the accessory tables or linens (like cake, guest book, cocktail tables, etc.) and had quoted everything out as round tables when the request had been made for banquet tables.
The other caterer had quoted $17.800pp for the rental package. They had quoted the tables correctly, but had included a ton of cocktail tables which the venue already provides.
In order to get a clear vision for her, we got a quote from two local rental companies for if they were to get rentals on their own that the caterers would use. For the rentals listed in the proposals, and basing things on the HIGHER costs (ie. Round tables vs. 8 foot tables and hammered silverware vs. basic stainless), INCLUDING bistro tables and INCLUDING an estimated cost for delivery, we found they would be looking at $12.79pp or $10.95pp.
If they took the lower quote and just added in the missing items, it would go up 1.75pp unless they also added in the cocktail tables & linens for them, which would make it roughly an additional $2.50-3pp depending on markup. So, with EVERYTHING like above, it would make their quote max $13pp.
That all being said, although they had estimated costs based on the lower quote, due to the fact that it was essentially incorrect, they were left with a deficit for their décor budget which meant they had to take it from somewhere else.
It occurred to me as I was talking to them that most couples do not ever have the opportunity to work with a coordinator to look at the details. See things with an eye of experience that they do not have because they do not do this for a living – there’s no reason they should notice these details. Even a solid day-of coordinator could have assisted with catching this issue, as they looked over the rental orders. Had these details not been caught, their costs would have increased by a minimum of $3 a person at the end of the contract and they would not have even known it was coming. When you multiply that by 200-250 people and your budget has already been allocated, that is not a pleasant surprise!