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Couple 'fibs' to venue about hosting their wedding to avoid 'exorbitant' fees. AITA?

Couple 'fibs' to venue about hosting their wedding to avoid 'exorbitant' fees. AITA?


"AITA for fibbing to the venue about hosting a wedding?"

My husband Victor and I recently got married. We started planning a traditional wedding but we weren’t looking forward to it so we scrapped those plans and chose to do something a little different instead.

We found a small, rustic type of resort/almost like an adult sleepaway camp in the mountains. It seemed to be run just by one older couple and their son (?). They had a lodge where you could rent suites or you could rent a cluster of 3-6 cabins that were semi private (other guests on the property but the little “neighborhoods” are well spaced apart).

You bring your own food and drinks, there’s a couple snack bars on premise but no real meals. We talked with our immediate families and closest friends and we booked 6 cabins for 18 people. We booked it as a “family retreat."

I did see the part on the website that said “contact us about wedding rates and packages!” with a link to their partner vendors for catering and stuff. But we didn’t need any kind of wedding package for what we wanted.

I wore a simple but pretty dress & my sisters did hair and makeup for me and anyone who wanted it. Our dads went into town and got takeout from 3 different places, champagne, a bunch of grocery store flowers and 5 pies.

My brother married us in the little clearing by the cabins and then we spent the rest of afternoon and evening eating, drinking, talking and playing games before everyone dispersed for the night to their own cabins.

It might’ve been a “wedding” because we came out of it married, sure but I don’t think we did or needed anything that merits the exorbitant wedding tax that gets slapped onto everything the moment you whisper “engaged." We didn’t bring any outside guests or vendors or do anything that required extra cleanup so what exactly would I be paying for?

So we just didn’t tell them. We all stayed for 5 days and otherwise, the trip was very much like a family retreat so I didn’t feel that bad about not being fully transparent I was really happy with our trip so a couple weeks after, I left a review on google.

I slipped up and mentioned “an amazing start to our marriage” and got a snarky email a few days later that unapproved events on the property were a violation of their policies. I replied that I meant it was a family trip intended to celebrate our engagement and they replied back with an apology and a congratulations.

This makes two times that I have lied to these people and I don’t know if I should feel bad or not. Is my wedding looking so much like a family trip to celebrate an engagement that they didn’t even question it not proof enough that we didn’t need the wedding bells and whistles?

I just feel morally torn because I don’t like lying, especially to individuals just trying to make a living. But I don’t feel like I should be obligated to let myself get hosed either so I'm just really unsure of how I feel about my choices here and would like some objective perspectives.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

themehpatrol said:

I worked in the wedding industry for a decade so I am qualified here. In THIS particular case, NTA. It sounds like your party was respectful, very low-key, and simple. Simply implying a wedding will cause venues to bleed you of thousands you never needed to spend; eighteen people and a small party is very reasonable.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend anyone else try this. For many venues utilized for weddings, there are so many more moving parts that the average person would NEVER even think of. It requires a very high level of coordination, more staffing, and as another Redditor mentioned, unapproved vendors or your general drunken partygoers can wreak absolute havoc that the venue has to deal with.

I once worked a wedding in a similar setting where they did something similar to you and one of the little ringbearers, unsupervised, stole a golf cart and drove it into the lake directly in view of the ceremony location! He sustained injuries (iirc a broken arm), his family had to shell out a lot of money, the ceremony had to be delayed and then it started raining, the staff was PISSED.

They are no longer welcome back, the family had been going to this place for literal generations. If they had been informed it was a wedding rather than a family event, a staff member would have been summoned to watch the small children and the whole thing could have been avoided.

Please also keep in mind, many of these venues are not raking in the big bucks after their own bills/payroll. Many only do weddings because it helps keep the lights on, so it’s worth the risk. Nobody likes the absolute shitshow of wedding production. Even when they agree to it. The money is often the only reason we deal with your MIL, your bridesmaids, your knucklehead best man.

Many times preferred vendors are the ones they can trust. Lots of predatory vendors exist who don’t care about anything except providing the bare-minimum definition of what’s in a contract and not what you think you’re getting, or will show up late and half-a%s it all. I’ve seen some not show at all, knowing it won’t be worth it for the married couple to pursue in court. Anyhoo, NTA, but please people, don’t do this at home.

Inevitable-Pick-7866 said:

NTA. This was not a reception, it was a quiet gathering of friends and family (all of whom were staying there) to celebrate your nuptials. It was not a "wedding." You didn't need catering or any of the stuff that would be required for a reception. Don't feel bad.

My partner and I are getting married soon and we are just hosting a small thing but the venue is aware and thankfully it is not considered a wedding, but more a gathering. It boggles the mind that vendors charge so much just because there is the word "wedding." I understand MUA and Photographers (because there are additional things required for such events) but anything else is just a rip off.

Better-Turnover2783 said:

NTA You all camped and vacationed there. Very low key, casual arrangements. You bought takeout for your meal and cleaned up after yourselves. No need for caterer. You didn't have a white dress with a 10-foot train.

No need for florist, $1k tiered cake etc. A nice non-traditional "we're not bothering you and we're minding our own business type of thing. It must have been lovely and congratulations.

For all they know it could have been a cosplay event. If they had charged wedding prices, they probably would have lost business since if it was too expensive, you would have gone somewhere else.

gigantor_cometh said:

NTA but it's a lesson in not saying more than you have to. Even now, there's no reason to respond to their email. What are they going to do, bill you the price of the wedding package after-the-fact? No, there's no upside to engaging further. You used their facilities and paid them what was agreed. There's no benefit to talking about it afterwards.

ThatHellaHighHobbit said:

NTA- You didn’t invite extra guests, you didn’t require extra facilities or services. You’re good and congrats on having a magic wedding experience without drama and stress!

Gilolitan said:

NTA. I also had an extremely small get-together for my wedding with no outside professionals hired whatsoever. ((I was just lucky enough to have a lot of cool moms I already planned to invite, who did photography/baking/wedding planning/decoration, or had already signed up as an officiant; and they were SUPER excited.)) I cut out many “needless wedding traditions." too.

And my wedding planner had a Hard Rule. It was that when we purchased/rented (almost) anything for the wedding: we Did Not Tell Anyone It Was For A Wedding. Because it would needlessly elevate prices. If an event description was required, we were to describe it as a “family event!"

Which I mean, given what “wedding” usually entails and the assumptions that come with it, family event is probably actually more accurate, anyway. I imagine she would have advised exactly the same for your wedding.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for these newlyweds?

Sources: Reddit
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