We absolutely loved our wedding at Enoch Turner this July. Stacy and her team were great to work with and executed our plans perfectly. ETS is a very popular venue, but it isnt a cookie-cutter place with a menu of packages. Beyond choosing from their preferred list of caterers, its up to you to design and create the event that you want. That being said, we were extremely pleased with our wedding and can offer some pro tips:
-Catering: When choosing a caterer, look no further than En Ville. Sommer met with us right away, asked us about our story, and designed a menu that incorporated our favourite foods and significant meals in our relationship. We cannot stress enough how smoothly catering went from creating the menu, tasting, and coordinating day-of. We also cannot stress enough how delicious the food was and how impressed our guests and we were with the expert professionalism of Sommer and her team.
-Dcor: Let the natural space and features of Enoch Turner do most of the decorating for you. We had a small guest list (75) and were able to have our ceremony in the original schoolhouse room. We didnt add a single decoration to that room and it suited us (2 teachers) perfectly. We added minimal decorations to the foyer (seating chart, family wedding photos, guestbook). In the reception hall, we had long tables with simple greenery and candles to complement the green posts. We put the bridal partys flowers in vases in the windows behind our sweetheart table. Go for all of the stringed lights- the room has beautiful natural lighting and they create a warm glow for the evening and dance party. Dont stress about over-decorating the space- its already gorgeous!
-Bar: When planning the party part of the reception, we were a bit concerned about our guests leaving the dance floor to visit the bar in the foyer. We had En Ville set up a satellite bar next to the dance floor to solve that problem and everyone danced the night away.
-You need an alcohol permit (SOP) to serve liquor. Its easy to get online. However, if you want your guests to be able to drink outside, youll need an indoor-outdoor permit, and you have to apply for that 30 days in advance. Youll also need to supply a drawing of the space, which ETS can forward to you. Just dont leave the permit too late
We will admit that we found the venue aspects of our wedding planning daunting, but we hope these tips are helpful!
Im a primary teacher, so the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse was an obvious choice of venue for my wedding. It was the second venue we looked at and my fianc was sold as we walked up Trinity St. towards the quaint little building, that had all the history and charm we were looking for. It was early October (we were engaged in September) and after a brief tour of the inside (with Ben), we both felt sure that this venue would be perfect for our Saturday night, cocktail style, dance party wedding that coming March.
We reached back out to the Events Coordinator by email; she was prompt and seemed helpful (I should have recognized that the smiley faces she includes in her email were due to a lack or professionalism - not friendliness). We made some decisions about string lighting etc., signed the contract, and paid the initial deposit. The venue was ours for March 9th. (FYI - There is no discount for off-season weddings). In the 6 months leading up to the wedding, we visited the venue for various reasons approximately 4 times.
Fast forward to the beginning of March. I have a site walk through with the catering company and as I walk up to the building I discover that it is covered in scaffolding. There is a roofing construction project underway. No one at the venue had any answers but I mostly felt bad for the couple who was there (also seeing it for the first time), as they were getting married there the next day. I emailed the Events Coordinator first thing the next morning. I was assured that the project would be complete long before March 9th and to try not to stress. I felt reassured. The next week, I got an unsolicited email from the Events Coordinator, telling me that everything was still on schedule despite the snowstorm. The next week was the week of the wedding. I happen to be in be in the area a lot, and each sunny day, there was no work being done but the construction site and scaffolding was still up?
This is where everything began to really fall apart
Radio silence from the Events Coordinator.
Then I notice, 3 days BEFORE the wedding that my credit card had be charged the remaining balance without my authorization OR any communication with me. (The contract stated April 19th as the last day for payment). I immediately reached out to her requesting a receipt of the transaction. At the same time, my wedding planner was in contact with her re: a status update on the construction project. At which time we were told that construction would NOT be finished. The first word that came to mind was SHADY!!!
*SEE PHOTOS ATTACHED*
Our dreams of guests approaching this darling venue, feeling the same sense of welcome we had felt, were dashed. The sight of Tim Hortons cups littering the ground behind scaffolding, a port-o-potty, and red DANGER signs were not the vibe we had envisioned (or paid for) for our special day and NO ONE WAS APOLOGETIC OR HELPFUL IN FINDING A RESOLUTION. In addition, they had already taken my money!
Needless to say we felt completely taken advantage of.
In an effort to not be bogged down with the disappointment, we switched gears and planned to have our guests enter through the front door. This meant scrambling to make the dilapidated planters in the front look fresh (extra money and effort on our part). Unfortunately, UBER delivered all guests to the rear of the building which meant that the FIRST thing they saw was the construction.
In addition to the disaster of a scene outside, we had to request to have the dirty floors and windows cleaned before our wedding. Also, we had to crawl into the construction site to remove shovels and garbage that were leaning on the windows that were visible on the inside. Not something you would expect to have to do when you are paying for use of a venue.
Remember how I said that I had visited the venue a total of 5 times? Every. Single. Visit, including our initial tour, had been scheduled with the Events Coordinator. To this day I have never met her! She never showed. Each time, Ben was surprised to see us but happy to accommodate. I also saw many other couples come in for tours who were expecting to meet the Events Coordinator but she wasnt there for them either. Perhaps you have already had the same experience? Im telling you, this is a sign of things to come!
Upon the return of our honeymoon, We reached out to Director of Corporate Businesses Services for the Ontario Heritage Trust. He was professional and apologetic for our less the ideal experience. We suggested at that time that we be compensated for the stress caused by the lack of communication surrounding the construction AND the principle fact that we DID NOT get what we paid for. We paid full price - $2800+ HST and 15% of our catering budget in the form of a Landmark Fee ~ $1,700. All for the uses of this venue. INSIDE and OUT. Nothing else!
He got back to me a week later with another profuse apology and acknowledgement of where they went wrong, with an offer of $300.
This arbitrary number felt insufficient to us. We asked him to reconsider.
He got back to us another week later with a list of excuses and justifications. The Heritage Trust felt that this number was fair because they are a not-for-profit and we had not been charged for our extra visits and our rehearsal. Ironically, we did not have a rehearsal. The visit to the venue he was referring to was the one we had planned to speak with the Events Coordinator about our dissatisfaction with the whole situation, BUT she never showed. She stopped responding to us after charging my credit card.
We understand that heritage sites require regular maintenance and that they are costly to up-keep, but if any organization is going to take your money - they need to hold up their end of the deal. Clear communication and managing expectations at the very least!
We told him that we did not accept his offer.
We never heard from him again.
If you fall in love with this venue, be prepared that you may not get the space the way you envisioned (or paid for). When you include the taxes and landmark fee - this venue is upwards of $5000 and all youre paying for is the space. When it comes with risk, poor communication, and shady business tactics it hardly feels worth it!
It was the perfect venue for our wedding. Loved it!
Enoch Turner was RAVED about at our wedding. Very impressive venue.
Many thanks, this was an excellent event. I appreciate everyone's help.
We have performed at events at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse several times, most recently two weeks ago for a beautiful brunch wedding. The venue is the perfect space for an intimate gathering, with an excellent team to boot. The baby grand piano in the space was in great shape so it was a treat to incorporate it into our band. Thank you again!
We love this venue. Not only does it suite our items perfectly, it is packed with so much history and charm. Perfect Wedding Venue.
I just did another great wedding here as an officiant.
A truly one of a kind wedding for such an interesting and creative couple at the historic Enoch Turner Schoolhouse.
This soulful venue has so much to offer in creating a memorable evening experience for all your wedding guests. You can even choose from one of their 5 caterers to create a wedding style all your very own. That's pretty terrific!
An evening designed exactly to fit your wedding vision.
The Wedding Coach
Sarah Bunnett-Gibson Wedding Officiant
Applause Kosher Catering