Our reception venue was Ault Park Pavilion. I saw it for the first time during a run on Sept 1, 2007, and knew it was the place! It was very difficult to communicate with Historic Management Properties (HPM), which is the company that manages Ault Park, as well as other parks in Cincinnati. I would call and would get different people each time, and none of them talked to each other; it seemed like they didn’t keep a general file for each wedding. Finally, I realized what was going on and latched onto one person and stuck with her: Raven. I was fairly proactive in planning with her, since the reception venue is pretty important. Therefore, I was usually the one contacting her, asking her when the floorplan would be made, when the rental pricing list would be published, etc. I will say, that if you consider having your wedding and/or reception at a HPM location, you need to stay on top of things. Besides communication, there was also the issue of the rental prices.
Renting the venue is one flat cost, but along with that, you need to rent awnings if needed (tents on one or both sides of the pavilion), tables, chairs, and lighting. You are responsible for having a police officer on the premises (for alcohol) and that costs $/hour. You also need to rent linens, flatware & glassware if you’re not going through you’re caterer. This all adds up quickly, so it’s imperative that you’re aware of what you will be charged for each of these items. The rental prices increase at the first of each year, so if you book in Sept 08 for a Sept 09 wedding after seeing the rental costs for 08, you have no idea what the rental costs will be for 09. It’s pretty risky! After the first of the year, be sure to ask what their rental prices will be for that year.
We also had an issue with the cost of the awnings. We needed two awnings, one for each side of the pavilion. Each of the awnings were $1000. Since we were a Friday wedding and there was a Saturday wedding that weekend as well, I asked Raven in the beginning if we could split the cost of the awnings, since they were the same rentals (one setup/breakdown for two events). She said yes, but when she quoted us for all of the rentals 3 months before the wedding, she charged us full price. She said that they had changed their policy & there would be no tent sharing. That’s where my day-of coordinator was a HUGE help … she was coordinating another wedding at Ault Park and they were having the same issue. She got HPM to stick to their previous word for us, saving us $1000! I was so grateful. So, one more thing to be aware of with HPM: make sure communicate through email (or follow-up a call with an email) so that everything is in writing … it makes things a lot easier if they change their policies in the middle of the year and try to make them retroactive.
The last month of planning was a complete turnaround from the previous months. Raven was easily reachable, very helpful & cooperative. She met with me, Joy (Village Pantry Catering) and Sara (day-of coordinator) a few weeks before the wedding at the pavilion to go over everything and that was great. The huge windstorm actually happened 5 days before our wedding day, and apparently there were trees & branches down everywhere around the park, and the fountain wasn’t working. Raven was great about making sure everything was cleaned up for Friday … including a working fountain! (I was adamant about that!)
The night of the reception was amazing. As far as I know, everything went smoothly. Everything was set up perfectly. Raven was not there that night, but Mark was, whom I had never met, but after talking with Sara after the wedding, was very very nice & helpful. My florist (Julie with Petals n Glass) actually didn’t have vases for the bridesmaids’ bouquets & Mark just happened to have some stored at the Pavilion – he let us use them!
If you book here, make sure you have family and friends lined up to take things home at the end of the night. Part of the reason why I had potted greenery for centerpieces was so guests could take them home and we wouldn’t have to worry about returning rentals. Michael’s parents were instrumental in coordinating this effort … getting all of the leftover alcohol, gifts, leftover centerpieces, candles, etc. Sara also helped coordinate this. For me, this was one of the main concerns with having this venue … I didn’t want to burden family and friends after we had left the party. They were happy to help out, thankfully!
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