A Private Affair: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Getting Married at a Private Estate
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With so many things to consider, it’s comforting to have a pro orchestrating everything. At GP Events, Gianna Provenzano provides a five-page contract between clients and homeowners that spells out exactly what they should expect from each other. It’s a legal and binding document, and something along these lines is certainly in order when costs are high and risk is a factor. And yes, risk is a factor. One of the biggest, experts agree, is renting from someone who isn’t authorized to represent the estate. Cautionary tales abound about homes up for sale, rented without owner permission, or caretakers renting out properties for events when the owners are out of town. “Client and homeowner both need to be fully aware and informed as to the details of their agreement,” says Gianna. “It’s good to have someone knowledgeable to troubleshoot and work as the interface.”
Above all it’s important to remember that while having a wedding at a private estate is, in many ways, a personal commitment between homeowner and wedding couple, it’s primarily a business interaction and should be treated as such. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate the two. For example, you never, ever, want to treat the property owners like hired help. Steve Sarna suggests inviting and including property owners and neighbors if possible, and reminds his clients that having a wedding on a private estate is a privilege. Owners are proud of their properties, and they’re protective.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to enlist the services of a reputable and experienced planner for these events,” says Gianna Provenzano. “It can be a lifesaver, especially if the parties are nave about the nature of the transaction. It’s easy to let a dazzling property blind you to the expense, so make sure you have sufficient funds set aside for all the extras. Most of all, find someone who respects your budget, grasps your vision and can make it happen.”
Is it worth it? Many would say, YES! With the right planning and the right planner, a wedding at a private estate can be the event of a lifetime. When the band is playing softly, the lights twinkling brightly in the trees on the Gatsby-like grounds and you’re basking in the moment, surrounded by 250 of your closest family and friends, you’ll be glad you opted for such an exceptional place.
For more information on the specifics of planning your private estate wedding, and how to protect yourself, read this article.