Wedding Planning and Frequently Asked Questions
What if I have to cancel my date? Will I get my money back?
While no one wants that to happen, unfortunately, it does. When you book your date, we block it from the calendar, and it has been reserved for your event. No one else can have it. When asked if that date is available, we say no, and we only do one wedding a day. Once you have booked your date and make the deposit, that payment is non-refundable. Regarding credit card payments, the processing fee for credit cards is currently paid by Sampson’s Hollow, as the Contractor. The client agrees that payments are non-refundable, and they forgo any right to dispute those payments or do a charge-back. You have the option of rescheduling within a calendar year, based on availability and season or date. If there is a price difference, we will modify the total amount. This is because the difference would be added. We realize that the unthinkable may happen; serious illness, death in the family, changes in military status, or canceling the engagement. We suggest that you consider Wedding Insurance if you want to protect against all possibilities. Much like travel insurance, a wedding insurance policy provides reimbursement when life throws the unimaginable at you, and you must cancel. For more information, refer to www.markeleventinsurance.com. Many homeowner insurance companies have the option of adding this type of specialty insurance to your policy. Each company, of course, will vary.
What about Covid-19 and Government Restrictions?
Weddings and/or special events are sometimes canceled for many reasons, including sickness, pandemics, government regulations, restrictions, and/or cancel the engagement between the bride and groom. It is strongly recommended that the client purchase event insurance either online or from their respective insurance company to recover the costs of such incidents when they occur. Payments made as per the contract are non-refundable due to these circumstances. Should the unthinkable occur, and both parties choose to reschedule an event due to pandemics and resulting government restrictions, the following options are provided: The bride and groom can proceed with the wedding ceremony with just the two of them, or whatever the restrictions will allow. They can then pick another date to return and have a “redo” with their original package. This is basically having two events for the price of one. Dates would be based upon availability. The first will not have an additional charge, but payment deadlines still apply. Any resulting changes of date will incur a fee of 25% of the original package price. Should the bride and groom decide to postpone to the next season, the package prices differ (i.e., 2020 or 2021, or 2022). The rescheduled date must be on the same day of the week (weekdays vs. weekends) as their original package, or d. WE cannot guarantee the availability of other vendors who provide services in your package, and each may require a new deposit since they also lost a day.
What happens if it rains?
Sampson’s Hollow has a lovely covered front porch to seat up to 150 in a traditional chapel format. It will be a tight fit, but no one will get wet, and you don’t have to worry about renting a tent.
Following the ceremony, the space can be converted (by your helpers or our staff—depending on the package you choose) for a reception area, with tables and chairs to seat up to 120, depending on how much of the space is used for seating and how much will be used for dancing. Many brides prefer to keep the center open beneath the vaulted ceiling and chandelier for dancing. If so, some of your guests can be seated within the interior of our fully air-conditioned barn. And if your photographer is available and agreeable, the bride and groom can come back on a prettier day for their own personal photoshoot at no additional charge.
Am I allowed time for a rehearsal?
Almost every package includes one hour for a rehearsal, based on availability. The time for this rehearsal cannot be scheduled until six weeks out. The Once Upon a Time package includes three hours, guaranteed on the day before. Our elopement packages, including the smaller Dreams of Romance or Sweet Dreams packages, do not include a rehearsal. Rehearsal time not used cannot be added to your time on the day of your wedding without an upcharge.
Will I need a professional wedding coordinator?
Sampson’s Hollow is not responsible for directing the wedding procession and ceremony unless one of our staff coordinators is included or added to a package. Someone has to direct the ceremony. Someone needs to keep track of time, when, and if the DJ has the music cued up for all those special moments. Someone needs to manage all of the details of the day. Sure, mom can do it, but how much of the wedding is she going to miss while trying to make sure everything is set up as it is supposed to be. Your aunt may have been to plenty of weddings, but does she know what to do in case it starts raining and the ceremony location has to be moved. It’s okay if you don’t have a professional coordinator, but please make sure someone can supervise your special day’s activities. If we aren’t providing a coordinator as part of your package, we won’t be assisting with directing the ceremony.
It’s a real challenge for a bride to do all that an experienced coordinator does and to be able to enjoy her once-in-a-lifetime day. If you are working within a budget, then cut back on favors, or expensive flowers, or even wine and champagne—but don’t compromise on enjoying a well-planned wedding celebration assisted by an experienced coordinator.
May I use my own minister?
Each of our packages includes a licensed and ordained minister who will perform a traditional Christian ceremony, including prayer. Should you prefer to use your own minister or choose to use a non-denominational or non-religious option, you may certainly provide your own and pay for that choice. It is required that our minister be present to witness and sign the marriage license as a witness. And if used in this capacity, he would not be a part of the actual ceremony. It does not change the price of your package.
Who is responsible for submitting a marriage license to the state for filing purposes?
The responsibility of submitting the marriage license following the ceremony falls upon the minister or official who conducts the actual ceremony. If a bride or groom chooses to submit that document themselves, then it becomes their responsibility to make sure it is done within the allotted amount of time as directed by the state to avoid penalty. If our minister is serving only as of the witness and not involved in the legal part of the vow exchange, then he is NOT responsible for submitting the paperwork to the appropriate state office. The coordinator is NEVER responsible for submitting the documents.
Are pets allowed on the property?
Pets are allowed on our property, but not within the buildings, including the cabin. If you choose to bring your fur baby to be a part of your ceremony, they must be on a leash and under the supervision of someone you trust. We are not responsible for your pet if it chooses to chase a scent or critter in the woods and gets lost. This has happened to our own animals that are already familiar with our land. The woods hold lots of adventure, especially for certain breeds of dogs, so while we welcome them, we don’t want them to get lost. If you plan on having your pets attend, please make us aware of that before the event. And, as with any public place, please “pick up” after your pet.
Are we required to use Sampson’s Hollow for catering?
Unlike many venues, you are welcome to use any food service you want, whether a licensed caterer, food trucks, or your family/friends bringing in food, as long as we have prior knowledge and event liability insurance provided by the food service provider. However, we do have a policy for outside food service, which is detailed in the contract. Please refer to that document for specific information.
Due to the global pandemic, we can no longer allow anyone uninsured to provide food for their guests. Professional caterers are required to have liability insurance no matter where they are providing food service. We must now require any unlicensed person (s) to obtain a day of event liability policy naming Sampson’s Hollow as the event venue. Food will be provided by family, friends, and/or acquaintances. The value of the liability coverage should be no less than $500.000. This can be purchased through your insurance agency, typically as an umbrella add-on to your homeowner’s policy.
If we use SH in-house catering services, how long will food and beverages be served?
To maintain our food’s quality and freshness and adhere to food safety concerning food temperatures, there is a limit of time for our food to be left out for your guests to enjoy. Therefore, guests will begin to serve themselves at the designated mealtime. Afterward, guests will have had the opportunity to refresh their plates (with a new plate). The food will be left out for no more than 30 minutes. After that, the caterer will close the foodservice and clear any remaining items. Beverages which the caterer has leftover will be left for guests. Beverage service by the caterer does not include the remainder of the property time (such as for dancing).
Will beverages be served after the meal is completed?
The beverages that are included with your catering option will be left out until the wedding cake (or whatever is being used) has been cut and served. After the cake has been enjoyed by your guests, whatever remaining beverages, if any, will be left out, but not replenished. Beverages are NOT provided as part of the catering package for the entire time of the package, but can be added, if needed, for your guests to enjoy while they are dancing and enjoying the remainder of their time on the property. As a courtesy, we will provide water in a pretty self-serve dispenser with small, disposable cups.
Who is responsible for garbage removal?
We do not have an on-site garbage service/dumpster. If Sampson’s Hollow provides in-house catering, we will be responsible for disposing of the garbage related to food service. If you have hired a bartender, part of the alcohol policy/contract fee will cover the cost of removing the bottles and disposing of them. If you have someone else providing the food, you or that caterer is responsible for removing the garbage. We have a $40.00 fee to do this if the garbage is not taken away, and this charge will be applied to your credit card on file.
Can we bring in our own soft drinks and bottled water?
Of course, you can. However, you will need to bring disposable cups and ice unless you choose to bring a large cooler of ice and keep the products chilled for consumption. You may also want to bring bottled water for the rehearsal, especially in warm weather, as we won’t have bottled water as part of your package for rehearsal time.
Can we arrive earlier than our contracted arrival time to decorate (also known as “if my property time starts at 2:00, what time can I get here to decorate)?
Whether it’s six, eight, or ten hours, the time you have paid for includes all tasks that need to be completed, from decorating to saying goodbye and cleaning up your personal stuff, if you are having someone else do your food, their clean-up must also be done within the time frame you have selected and paid for. When a bride has one of our property coordinators as part of her package, this coordinator usually gives extra time to helping get things done ahead of time, saving you from paying for additional hours on the property at a much higher per hour rate. For example, while they don’t do decorating unless you add that service with them, they can make sure that linens are placed on tables, centerpieces have been put out, favors have been arranged, and other tasks take time to do.
What happens if we have to delay the ceremony time? Does this affect how long we have the property?
Yes, it does. We attempt to be as flexible and accommodating as we can be with the time you have purchased. However, if we are paying staff by the hour, the minister is waiting and has to be somewhere else, the caterer is delaying the foodservice and has staff to pay, and you have booked our DJ, then they will expect to be compensated for the extra time just as you would if asked to work overtime. While we, as the property, can offer a short grace period to allow for delays, we can’t provide additional time on behalf of other paid vendors and our staff. As of late, it seems that several of our brides have been delayed for one reason or another. Whether it’s because she didn’t anticipate how long it would take to have hair and make-up done, to waiting on bridesmaids or groomsmen to show up, to having a plane delayed and grandparents haven’t landed, these actions affect the time frame, and the schedule has to be adjusted. Unfortunately, this usually results in a shorter time for the reception unless property time is added and vendors will be paid for their additional time. It is a tremendous benefit to have one of our property coordinators assist in sticking to your scheduled timeline.
Where will my guests park their vehicles?
We will have staff in our lower parking area to direct your guests as to where to park. To reserve this more convenient parking for your guests, we ask your bridal party and immediate family to park in the upper section designated for overflow. We can park approximately 55-60 vehicles in the lower area, depending on the size of the vehicle.
We have lined spaces for parking. In addition, we reserve two to three spaces closest to the handicapped ramp for easier access for your guests who need special assistance.
I have decided to serve the permitted, alcoholic beverages, as per the alcohol policy and contract. What must I provide for the bartender, or have the bartender provide?
We will provide one six-foot rectangle table for this service. The bartending group (or you, as the client) is responsible for providing ice and glassware for the beverages that they are serving. We do not have an extra supply of cups or glassware for them to use. If a bartender asks to use our disposable cups, the guest will be charged for this expense. In addition, please confirm with your bartender who will be bringing the wine, champagne, cider, or beer. Most of the time, the bartenders we use ask that you bring the brands you want to be served, but you need to confirm these details.
What must I provide for the bartender, or have the bartender provide?
We will provide one six-foot rectangle table for this service. The bartending group (or you, as the client) is responsible for providing ice and glassware for the beverages that they are serving. We do not have an extra supply of cups or glassware for them to use. If a bartender asks to use our disposable cups, the guest will be charged for this expense. In addition, please confirm with your bartender who will be bringing the wine, champagne, cider or beer. Most of the time, the bartenders that we use ask that you bring the brands that you want served but you need to confirm these details.
May members of the bridal party have alcoholic beverages while getting ready?
We want you to have a wonderful celebration and understand that the bridal party may want to enjoy wine, or mimosas, champagne, or beer while getting ready. You cannot have alcoholic beverages in the cabin or upstairs in the loft before a licensed and insured bartender being on a property to legally serve and monitor consumption. If you choose to do so, you must make arrangements with the same bartending group serving during the after-wedding activities. We recommend that you consider getting ready off property, perhaps in the Powell Farmhouse next door or in a nearby Airbnb or Cabin, to self-serve. Keep in mind that the minister or official will not perform the ceremony if either the bride or groom has overindulged too much while getting ready.
More Alcohol-related information:
Alcohol service to your guests is not available on the property before the wedding. Guests may not leave the property and then return with alcoholic beverages of their own. Likewise, they may not return if they have gone off-property to drink and then return to the event. Guests may not go back and forth to their vehicles while on property. After the first couple of times, security will alert the bartender to stop service. We understand that couples with infants or young children may need to go back to their vehicles, which does not apply to them.
Can we leave our “stuff” on property on the day/night of the wedding and come back to pick it up the next day?
No, unfortunately, this isn’t possible. The chances are that we have another event scheduled for the next day, especially if it is a weekend. After your event has been completed, our staff begins to immediately do a more thorough clean-up and resetting for our next client. If you have provided your own catering, or an outside caterer has been used, we have to go through the cleaning and sanitation process within the kitchen. All that oftentimes includes designating your bridal party and/or family members to assist with gathering all of your personal property to save time, instead of trying to do it all yourself when you are supposed to be leaving for your honeymoon.
Who should I tip? Should I tip my wedding coordinator?
As with most service-based businesses, this is completely up to you. Some people believe in tipping. Others do not. There will be several staff people on property to do all they can to make your day go as smoothly and as stress-free for you, as possible, including parkers, runners, and others, such as the DJ, caterer, and servers—depending on your package. Much like a restaurant, cruise, or resort, service people are there to take care of you. It is not required that you tip (unlike a cruise), but it is a token that shows our staff that they have done a good job in your opinion (and that is the most important). For example, suppose your package includes catering; the administrative fee covers the cost of linens, garbage removal, clean-up, and rentals. It is not a gratuity for the staff.
If your wedding coordinator did the amazing job, she always does and saves you added anxiety, lightens your workload, goes beyond the call of duty, then it would be a much-appreciated gesture if you did give her a tip. As part of your package, they are paid for meeting with you for consulting, being at the rehearsal, and all day long and beyond on the day of your wedding. In addition, our coordinators often take care of setting up for your days or hours before your official property time begins. They answer emails, calls, and texts at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes they handle situations you may never know about to avoid causing you more anxiety. So a tip and especially a “thank you” from the bride and groom, as well as parents, means a great deal to a tireless wedding coordinator who has worked many hours behind “the scenes” before your wedding date.
Corporate Mission Statement
Sampson’s Hollow is a faith-based enterprise owned by William and Janice Livingston and their family. We believe, by faith, we have been entrusted as stewards of this property by our Heavenly Father. We believe it is by God’s grace and provision that Sampson’s Hollow has endured. God has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future. We are committed to honoring the Lord in all we do by operating this faith-based enterprise in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. As a testimony to our stewardship and reflection of our commitment to honor God in all that we do, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of service to our guests. In keeping with our commitment to honor God in all aspects of our Operation, we adhere strictly to a Biblical tradition and view of the Sanctity of marriage as a holy estate consecrated by God and Defined as the union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony. We hold this immutable truth of scripture to be central to our tenets and religious beliefs. Offering our property or services in a manner inconsistent with this core value would unquestionably violate our sincerely held religious beliefs. 1
1 This corporate mission is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 42
U.S.C.A. § 2000bb. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 2767, 189 L.
Ed. 2d 675 (2014).