DO NOT BOOK YOUR WEDDING OR EVENT HERE. I am an average person, with an average point of view. In fact, I am in Project Management, where my job is to deal with difficult people under tight deadlines. That being said, I found it intolerable to deal with the staff of the River Oaks Garden Club.
I was married here in late 2011, and while the event went flawlessly and it was the best weekend of my life, it was absolutely no thanks to the staff and board of the river oaks garden club. It was an absolute horror story. The price is right (even though they will find ways to bill you more than the original contract amount after your event is over), and it is indeed an aestetically pleasing place with a great atmosphere. However you will regret the incredible pains and stress that the staff will burden you with, including their foul mouth and complete lack of respect for you as a person.
Read Sean and Jaclyn’s review. If the staff of your wedding venue makes you cry once, it’s not worth it. When my bride asked for a place to hang her dress, the building manager just said “There is no where and you don’t need to do that anyway”. When we insisted that there must be somewhere to hang her dress, the manager said “One wrinkle ain’t gunna hurt anyone”. This is an example of only the smallest atrocity perpetrated by their staff.
In the interest of not writing a book on this review, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to share further details.
We had our wedding on one of the rainiest weekends in Houston's history. All the roads were flooded, and we were worried about vendors making it on time, etc. We selected the ROGC because of the gorgeous gardens and I was really sad at the idea of us having to stay inside the whole time :( BUT, about 30 mins after the ceremony, the clouds finally parted, and we were able to go outside and open up the tent walls and take some photos in the beautiful gardens here. I could gush on and on about what a great little venue this place is. What we liked about it was that you bring in everything - your own liquor, your own caterer, florist, etc. They don't have any rules on what vendors you must use. The cost of renting this place for a Saturday wedding is a fraction of what similar bare-bones venues charge in Houston. I have had so many people see our photos and say "WHOA - where IS this place? That's not in Houston, is it?!" because it's so stunning, and when we tell them it's at the corner of Kirby and Westheimer they are always shocked. Sherry McCarty is the building manager so you do all your scheduling through her. She can be a little tough to get a hold of, but if you're persistent she will call you back. Also, the ROGC hours are 9:30-3:30 Mon, Weds, and Thurs, but you should call ahead because they're not always actually open during their hours. Having a wedding here may take more legwork because you have to make all of the vendor arrangements yourself, but if you have the time to put into it you can have a spectacular wedding on a very average budget. Oh yeah, AND they have ample parking so you don't need to hire valets or anything.
This place is charming. Everyone loved it, and because it is so beautiful you really don't have to do much to decorate. It is a garden club and not a wedding venue, however. That means we had to bring in everything! Chairs, extension cords, tables. Everything was rented. We had a Thursday night reception and wedding which cut into their rental fee saving $1400. That made renting everything not so bad. But the club doesn't really care about having weddings there (their words not mine) and they are just only so helpful. They have a lot of rules to follow, some silly some not. You have to hire HPD security, which will cost you $400. First we were told the rentals had to be picked up that night (late night charge of $300), but 2 days before the wedding we were told just the dishes needed to be gone. Although we had a different vendor for dishes, we had everything picked up.
They have awful business hours, M, W, Th 9-3:30. In our experience these were followed 50% of the time. The day our photographer met us at the site, they were closed during normal hours. Reaching them on the phone was difficult so I often left messages "saying I'm coming by tomorrow, if you won't be there please call me." The day before the wedding we had to do our rehearsal at 2 and be done by 3:30 or pay an additional "key fee" of $175. After making arrangements to do be done by 3:30, I was told *the day of* that the building manager wanted to be done by 2:30 so she could leave early. My bridesmaid handled that after I melted into stress tears. Three days before the wedding I outlined the time line for the manager regarding staff arrival and delivery time lines and she made no objections. On the day of the rehearsal however, she told me that if my rentals arrived at 3 (the latest I could get without paying overtime charges of $150) I would be over my 5 hour time limit and would need to buy extra time. Of course at the 11th hour I had no room to think of options and just had to fork over a check for an extra $250.
I have highlighted the worst interactions here. Sometimes, the manager was beyond nice. I think the worst part was knowing when I walked in there, that I had no idea what to expect - super nice manager or difficult balloon popping manager.
Still I give it three stars...cause it was beautiful, with parking. In some ways we got fee-d to death to meet all the requirements, but we didn't have to pay a valet. There were no charges for bringing in our own alcohol. You can't dance inside, but otherwise you can create the wedding of your dreams there.
Click on each tool to see a sample.