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Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, Toronto, Wedding

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shell42 Aug 2, 2008 05:58 PM

I'm thinking about having my wedding next August (2009) at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. It seems that you have to provide everything (tables?, chairs?, cutlery?, booze, food). Has anyone had their wedding there? Is it more cost effective than doing it a downtown Toronto venue that provides everything for a set cost (i.e. Casa Loma, Carlu, Old Mill etc.)?
If anyone has any info on this I would appreciate it greatly!

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    Apple Aug 3, 2008 06:07 AM

    hi - we are getting married at enoch this month. We have to pay for everything but I did alot of research and I felt this was the best option.... you have alot more control over your decor options and esp. for booze - you buy what you think your guests need from the LCBO or amsterdam brewery and you can return what is not used - provided it is not open and you have the receipt. Yes - you do have to pay for the rental of cutlery, etc! but I actually don't think it has been too bad. the other venues I compared it to were Archeo in Distillery; Royal York; Lai Wah Heen; St andrew;s conference center (i think this is the name...). Other venues we looked at were either too big or too small. Also Enoch has a choice of 4 preferred caterers - to help with any price range.

    We didn't actually try to go bargain basement with our wedding, but we wanted the opportunity to have a little bit more decision-making ability with the caterer, decor, alcohol, etc... which having a wedding at enoch allows. this allowed us to splurge in certain areas and save in others.

    the women who work at the venue are super nice and the caterer that I am using is actually pretty good. I will post after our wedding based on a review of her food. But so far - we have been quite happy.
    One donwside:On the other hand, having so many vendors requires a little coordination and I have a planner to do this. If you want to ask me further questions, I would be happy to answer them.

    1. kawarthagirl Aug 5, 2008 07:33 AM

      We got married there 9 years ago... okay, so not a recent thing. It was the best damn day of our lives! Because you have the place exclusively, it is far, far, far more intimate than places like Doctor's House (where you line up to get married) or even Old Mill. The caterer at the time was super, and yes, you do have to do some of the things yourself like extra decoration, table numbering (if you want to do place cards), etc... But the place is so beautiful that it took myself and my 'gaggle of girls' an hour to do it... then the caterer put up the special occasion licence and we popped some bubbly!

      The best part is in fact that we got to bring in our own alcohol - the caterer served it. It cuts your costs tremendously if you can control that (sourcing, etc...) and not having to buy into some package... Our caterer included the cake even...! Everything else: tables, linens, chairs, etc... was provided by the caterer.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kawarthagirl
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        pimentdespelette Aug 5, 2008 11:28 AM

        Gorgeous place, we had our wedding there, but you should be aware of a few ripoffs. First, they made us pay $75 or so for the "flowers" in the schoolhouse. The "flowers" are in fact plastic ivy which is ugly as sin. We asked if we could take it down. They said no. So we paid $75 for ugly plastic vines that are permanently a part of the place. I have a feeling the $75 isn't really for flowers.
        Also, I love the way people always say they have "recommended" caterers like they're doing you a favour. They're not. Those four caterers are the only four you can choose from at that venue. And how does a caterer become so lucky as to be one of only four select caterers? By paying Enoch Turner a "landmark fee," which is the polite way of saying "kickback." It amounts to about 20 per cent of your catering tab.
        So you get a great deal on the schoolhouse, you think. We did, too. And then without anybody telling us this before or afterward, we also paid Enoch Turner an additional $2,800, I think it was—20 per cent of our $14,000 catering bill. And all the sudden the place doesn't look like such a good deal any more. They made, oh, about $4,000 for a ten-hour rental.
        This is Toronto wedding planners' and venues' dirty little secret, and not even the so-called "guides" to venues in otherwise recommended publications (Toronto Life—hello!?) will mention the scheme for fear of pissing off their advertisers.
        There are a few places without landmark fees. The St. Lawrence Town Hall is a gorgeous venue and last I checked it was about $1,800. Seems steep.
        But it's not expensive at all when you count other places' hidden costs.
        Hope that helps.

        1. re: pimentdespelette
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          Apple Aug 5, 2008 06:11 PM

          I can only respond to what I know about my experience thus far... so here it is...

          We haven't been charged a $75 flower fee and there has been no mention of one. We have two separate florists coming in (long story) and there hasn't been an issue...

          However, they did want to charge us a $100 after hours fee for our rehearsal (anything scheduled after 5pm) - beyond their office hours which I think is steep and unnecessary. (Considering the cost of rental - this should be included - of course, within reason - ie. early evening - since I have never been to a rehearsal that was booked during the work day.
          Hence, we will be hosting the rehearsal in our backyard)

          The caterers are recommended by the venue - and I don't know about kick backs - but they know the ins and outs of the venue and you can use an outside caterer but you do have to pay extra to ensure security and staffing are there to lock up, I think... It was about a year ago since I inquired, but I thought the fee was an extra $200 but don't quote me. We felt comfortable with the caterering list so ultimately, we booked with Enoch. If not - we would have considered other caterers - and ultimately other venues. We wouldn't have settled for less than high quality food. Mr. Apple and I are chowhounds after all... :)

          They did want to charge an extra $150 bucks (or so) I think for an on-site person - but it is a heritage site and I guess they want to ensure we don't wreck the place. They told us this upfront and we factored this into our budget.

          I will confirm after our wedding... - but so far the caterer I selected from the list of four has been wonderful. I will be receiving a detailed invoice from my caterer this week... the food, the rentals from Higgins, the labour hours plus gratuity. I felt the process to date is reasonably transparent. I will post back if this changes.

          I will say the recommended caterers accomodate all price ranges so I think that is fair for people of varying budgets...

          The good news about Enoch is there is no corkage fee and you can bring your own alcohol and that helps keep things out of control. This is where the biggest surprise could be in terms of wedding budgets and I rest easily knowing that this is "under our control"

      2. pinstripeprincess Aug 5, 2008 01:10 PM

        i helped with a wedding at casa loma and would never recommend it based on the liaison they gave the couple. right from the start it was known that a cake was going to be brought in and would have to be assembled with some minor stove use (one burner) on the day of. we were kicked out of the kitchen with at least an hour of work ahead of us by the chef while the liaison ran away with her hands over her ears and eyes pretending that nothing bad was happening. she even failed to actually notify anyone in the wedding party what was going on and left me scrambling to find an alternate kitchen.

        except for the cake and the photographers, everything else was controlled by casa lomo and required heavy premiums.

        1. s
          shell42 Aug 11, 2008 06:00 PM

          Thanks so much for all your help and input!! Amazing!! Best of luck with your weddings too!

          1 Reply
          1. re: shell42
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            Apple Aug 11, 2008 06:34 PM

            Stop the presses, shell42. I was just about to update but I have to confirm something before I post a detailed note. Pimentdesplette was right about the kickback.

          2. m
            MeMeMe Aug 12, 2008 03:10 PM

            We had a set cost wedding at Liberty Grand. Incredible staff, minimal effort (i.e., everything is provided) and it was a stunning success. And from what I know, our wedding cost less than one where everything is brought in separately.

            1. t
              thebutcher Aug 12, 2008 05:42 PM

              I was married there 14 years ago last week. At the time we actually had our own catering company so they made a very very special exception (I think the fact that we were married on a Friday evening helped) and allowed us to cater it ourselves vs using the recommended 4. The whole day was lovely. I do recall that while the pianist was terrific that they recommended and we hired for the cocktail hour, it was hard to hear him over the chatter - odd considering that the venue is actually known for their acoustics. Another point - they want you to hire security for the event - but the Schoolhouse rep at the time forget to mention this - as a result we were scrambling to determine who would lock everything up at the end of the night - not fun after a busy/exciting day and post a few cocktails. Minor annoyances - in all a beautiful venue with delicious (wink) food.

              1. k
                kimmono Dec 10, 2008 06:58 PM

                Hi there, I am getting married at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse in the summer of 2009. I have selected Penny Laines as the caterer but I have not heard any reviews about them anywhere. Has anyone used them for a wedding or function? I have not been able to do a tasting as yet but I am planning to in the near future...any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kimmono
                  kawarthagirl Dec 11, 2008 03:35 AM

                  Okay... 10 years ago but we used Penny Laines for our wedding. At the time, she included the 3 tier wedding cake in the per head price, which was perfect for me (less fuss). It was WONDERFUL! We did hors d'oeuvres while people were meandering around with cocktails, while we had pics taken. They were excellent about following the schedule that I set with speeches and all... It was pretty flawless.

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                  oracle347 Dec 11, 2008 01:54 AM

                  Hello!!
                  I just got married about 3 weeks ago at the Metropolitian Hotel. I've already gushed over it on another post, but I do highly recommend them. Everything is included(except the backdrop!) and there was wonderful service and no hidden fees! If you don't mind paying corkage it really was a great value for the money.

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                    likescrab Dec 11, 2008 05:37 AM

                    I believe that enoch turner does the most beautiful events, simply because you put your own stamp on everything. at the others venues you mention, you just pay and they decide, basically, what you get. at enoch turner you choose the food, decor, music, everything. yes, you pay for it, but you're only limited by your budget and imagination. i've done a lot of beautiful parties at ets and always had a great time. it's a gorgeous, unique venue.

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