Ridgewells Catering == Evil

I know I said I wasn’t going to do a lot of wedding-related whining over here, but as Jenn Larsen said to me last night at the MBDC meetup, “thousands of women across the city need this information!”

As you may recall, Tom and I chose Glen Echo Park as the site for our wedding reception. The National Park Service has granted an exclusive contract to Ridgewells Catering to be the only caterer allowed in the park.

Ridgewells has a reputation for being, shall we say, a bit more high-end than the picnic-in-the-park kind of event we’re going for, so before we committed to Glen Echo, Tom called Ridgewells just to get an idea of what the cost would be like. He spoke to Polly Ernst, who handles all the events at Glen Echo Park. When he asked for a ballpark figure of what we could expect to pay for a barbecue-type reception there, she said “$50-$75 per person.”

That seemed a little high to us, but since the park doesn’t provide things like tables and chairs, we figured it was worth the money for the rentals and whatnot.

We decided to put down a deposit at Glen Echo Park, budgeting about $6000 for catering in our plans. Then Tom called Ridgewells to get a firm quote.

Two days later, Polly got back to him. Suddenly, magically, the quote was for nearly $100 per person.

So let me get this straight. Before we committed to a venue at which Ridgewells has the catering monopoly, we were told $50-$75. After we locked ourselves into the Ridgewells monopoly, the price nearly doubled. In the space of a week.

Fuck off, you deceitful bastards.

Now we’re reconsidering the whole plan (for the event, not for the marriage!), which may involve a reschedule, venue change, and severe curtailing of the guest list, all because one of the biggest players in the local Bridal Industrial Complex hears “wedding” and sees an opportunity for price gouging. Thanks a lot, assholes.

4 Comments so far

  1. Wedding Planning 101 (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2005 @ 5:26 pm

    NEVER inform any vendor from which you are solicting services from that you are having a wedding reception. The mere mention of the words will bring in more markups than you can believe. Describe the event as a party or celebration, and keep the “wedding” aspect on a strictly need to know basis. As a general rule, caterers don’t need to know, so don’t tell them. Let them find out after everything is signed, and let them find out on their own.


  2. Tiff (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2005 @ 6:00 pm

    *eye rolling* Yeah well, I’ll be sure to remember that for my next wedding.


  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on November 4th, 2005 @ 8:41 am

    I tried “family gathering” first, but eventually they sucked it out of me. I knew I should have kept it curt.


  4. Mike (unregistered) on November 18th, 2005 @ 6:02 pm

    hmmmm. sounds like fraud to me.



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