Wedgewood Weddings

Wedgewood Weddings 1

A strong culture and family values help Wedgewood Weddings

deliver quality service to vendor operators and wedding clients.

By Staci Davidson, Managing Editor at Knighthouse Media

Weddings are regarded as happy and celebratory affairs, but it is common knowledge that planning those celebrations can be stressful and expensive if in the wrong hands. At the same time, venues wants to keep their businesses profitable while providing space for couples to celebrate their matrimonies. Wedgewood Weddings’ vast experience in the hospitality industry helps to deliver “the smart way to say ‘I do,’” for couples, venues and high-quality vendors.

Husband-and-wife team John and Linda Zaruka formed Wedgewood Weddings in 1986. John Zaruka had worked in the hotel business for many years all across the country, when he and his family decided to turn a struggling golf course banquet hall into a premier wedding venue location in Ventura, California.

“I played a lot of public golf, and this was a blue collar golf course with a fine-dining restaurant,” Founder and co-owner John Zaruka says. “We put all of our money into it and converted the failing fine dining room into a prime wedding space.”

Wedgewood Weddings infoFor years, that was the family business. John managed the food and beverage operations, Linda Zaruka managed the wedding and event coordination and sales operations. Eventually son Bill and daughter Stacy were working weddings and events as well, serving dinners, pouring drinks and washing dishes. From this beginning, Wedgewood Weddings became what it is today – a family-oriented, full-service provider of all-inclusive, customizable wedding packages, operating nearly 40 venues around the country and hosting thousands of events each year.

Initially, in 2000, John Zaruka planned to expand the family business by consulting golf course owners and operators. The idea was to help struggling businesses improve their asset value by running a successful food and beverage operation. In 2002, Bill joined the family business and together they developed relationships with business owners in markets across California, consulting and improving their bottom line through food and beverage operations.

“Our expansion started with the understanding that golf course operators didn’t have the specific experience in food and beverage that our family had,” co-owner Bill Zaruka explains. “We were doing a lot more banquets and events than other courses, and we provided better, faster service with a higher rate of profitability.” In a very short amount of time, businesses saw an increase in bookings, a higher level of service quality, and an increase in profitability.

After five years, and a proven track record of successful revitalization of the food and beverage bottom line, it became clear that this business model could translate across the industry. Over the years, many golf course food and beverages businesses have flourished, and the Wedgewood Weddings brand continues to grow its portfolio of wedding venues, ranging from golf courses to historical venues, beach and city locations, while still remaining a family business.

“We realized we could be successful in any wedding venue because our business model would translate,” Bill Zaruka says. “Now we have expanded our efforts with a variety of locations outside of golf courses and country clubs. We knew our expertise would translate to any venue that executes special events.”

The ValSerVenience™ Promise

The trademarked “ValSerVenience™” tagline is found throughout the venues, promising Value, Service and Convenience to couples and guests. Offering an affordably priced, personalized and stress-free experience, couples customize all-inclusive wedding packages to meet their needs. Originally, this idea included food and beverage services and a DJ. Over the years, package offerings grew, and now include preferred and proven-quality vendors ranging from florists, to bakeries, invitations, a DJ, an officiant, linens and chairs - all of the things couples need for their dream wedding. Couples who book their wedding with Wedgewood Weddings now get exclusive savings on all their wedding day elements not already included in their package. The Bliss Benefits™ program offers a range of services from nationally and locally recognized wedding partners, including wedding attire and honeymoon services, transportation, stylists, furniture rentals and more.

Wedgewood Weddings 2“It’s more than just a pretty location,” John Zaruka says. “Our couples love how easy it is to plan their perfect day, how affordable it is and how much fun they had planning every detail. Just like our couples, every wedding is unique and different. We believe our couples’ experience is of the upmost importance and we pride ourselves in creating not only the perfect day for all of our guests, but that they know they’re part of our family.”

“We have been doing this for 30-plus years and we have a lot of units, so we’ve received a lot of feedback on what works and what doesn’t,” Bill Zaruka adds. “Our systems and procedures are tried-and-true. We ensure the weddings are personal and unique, but also that certain standards are met so they are organized.”

This organization is due in large part, he says, to the people of Wedgewood Weddings. Bill Zaruka says the company hires on energy and personality first, because this can be a high-stress industry with clients who are nervous and anxious. This is their investment, and Wedgewood Weddings works hard to put their minds at ease, and create a comfortable and warm environment for their guests. As a result, teams are fun, customer-service centric, empathetic and patient.

“It’s an amazing culture,” John Zaruka stresses. We recruit people who are hospitality oriented, fun, friendly and service-focused. We are a family, and all of our employees build lifelong friendships here. Having this type of dynamic is truly unique.”

“Our people have the freedom to make decisions for the betterment of our couples, and it’s amazing the level of creativity that comes with that,” he adds. ‘I always walk into an event and think, ‘who came up with that?’ Every time there is something better than the time before.” Our team is dedicated to each and every guest, and it’s apparent when you walk into any one of our locations.

Wedgewood Weddings is constantly adding new services to its packages and stays on top of the latest in design trends, because it wants to ensure a high level of value in its events. As a result, the company continues to expand, and is looking into properties in Arizona, Colorado, Chicago and Boston. Its ongoing goals are to ensure profitability and stability for venue owners, as well as memorable experiences for its wedding customers.

“When my mother and father started this business, we had just a couple of locations and our family touched every customer,” Bill Zaruka says. “Our customers were always very happy, and we were worried about keeping that level of service as we grew the business. It turns out that our employees do as well as we did if not better at taking care of our customers. Now we have almost 40 locations and our customer service reputation is fantastic. We win awards for what we do, and you look at our chefs, our coordinators, everyone – they all have the same love and care for this business that are family does.”

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