Simply a wonderful day. The bride was breathtakingly beautiful and everyone was having a great time. That being said, it's just a day - It goes by really fast and the best times are truly yet to come. Don't get caught up in the details because in the end they whiz by. We tried to make it our day (the guys wore suits, not tuxes; we had cookies, not cake; ect, ect...), which added to the fun of the day. Enjoy yourselves, but remember...just a day in your hopefully long life together - Look forward to years to come, they are 100% more fun than wedding planning! Haha...
Everyone from start to finish were really great to work with. They let us pick our songs and matched a DJ to fit our needs. Price is comparable to most.
It was 85 degrees on our wedding day and the air conditioning went out on the party bus, which I understand happens. The owner, Ken, was super apologetic and I believe honestly would have had another bus for us if he had one available, however, all his buses were out. Okay, no biggy. Then there was a our driver. Our driver started out out by being five minutes late - Not a big deal, but then he later denied it - Big deal, don't lie to me or your boss. Then he got lost every-single-place-we-went. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. folks. He had a GPS, our itinerary which included addresses and two hours from the time he dropped the gals off the at the church to the time we headed off to the Arboretum for pictures (with hot air blowing on us). My father-in-law ripped him a new on and so you think he would have gotten his act together and got his directions down. After the ceremony me, my wife and our maid of honor asked, "Do you need directions to the Arboretum?" "No, no, no...I've got it." Guess who was giving him directions about five minutes later when we missed our turn? This guy. We are a nurse and a teacher who decided to splurge on getting a bus so our wedding party could all have a little special time together and not have to worry about who was driving who's car and how to get to the reception - It was and has been a disaster. It would have been better to take a Madison Metro bus. So then there was the phone call I made to the owner while on our honeymoon. He hung up on me. I called him back when we got back and he hung up on me again when he thought I was a telemarketer. When we finally were able to talk like grown-ups he informed me that the driver said, "I gave them an extra hour." We were late getting to the church, pictures and the reception, so why we wanted another hour on a bus without air conditioning, I'm not sure. Needless to say it's a big bunch of "he said, he said" with the owner in the middle and us out over $1,000 we could have used on new windows or a hundred other things. Case in point: It was the worst part of our day and the thorn in my hind end since the wedding day. They said they are willing to refund one hour only if they find the driver is lying, which requires us to drive over to Milwaukee, play more he said-he said and cross our fingers. I called him when I could spare four hours to drive to and from Milwaukee and have it out with these jokers and guess who couldn't be found? The driver. Haha, how ironic! I contacted the Better Business Bureau of Milwaukee, me and the owner went back and forth without any progress and they left it "Unresolved." I was asking for a one hour refund (approximately $250) for a totally ruined experience, he said he could give me a gift certificate...like a nurse and a teacher are going to be getting a limo again - Especially with them! So I'm out to make sure they loose 100% more than $250. Tell your friends Churchill Limo is a joke. I'm not saying the air/heat will go out or that the driver will be late or get lost, but what I am saying is that if something does go wrong they will NOT stand by their product or service. I would have given them a 0/5 stars but it wasn't an option.
We had an incredible experience with Goodman's, talk about a good old fashion jeweler. The owner, John, is always around and often is one of the many smiling faces who greets you at the door. He and his staff are very knowledgeable when it comes to jewelery and never once did they try to out-do my budget, which was established from the get-go. I wanted a very specific sized diamond, which was just a fun little way to help remind us where we had come from and make it a bit more special. After looking at a couple diamonds which didn't make my heart pound the woman I worked with from start to finish (March to April of the following year - God bless her soul!), Carol Ann, suggested we ask John if he would be able to pick a diamond out on his upcoming trip to South Africa. Without questioning it for a second John was happy to oblige and sat down with me to take down the specific specs I wanted in an engagement diamond as well as the diamonds I wanted for the wedding band. The diamonds he brought back (for no extra cost) were absolutely breathtaking! What made it all the more special is the pride he took in picking out the diamonds and the excitement he and the others at Goodman's shared in experience. In fact, my mother who had been looking for a new diamond for literally five years came up to Goodman's and found an incredible diamond and had a ring custom made within months. Five years of multiple trips (from central Illinois) to St. Louis, Chicago and every larger city an hour from our town, all of which she did in a few months at Goodman's. Which leads me to the next part of the story, the actual ring! They patiently helped me (not an artist at the least) create and design a custom engagement ring and wedding band. Did I mention I'm incredibly indecisive, not an artist and that they were so patient with me? Lauren's ring turned out perfect! The experience was everything I hoped it would be. There is a reason the store has survived on State Street for over 75 years. A rating of 5/5 doesn't do the experience I had justice, they deserve a 10!
We were very happy with our ceremony, however, you will learn in the mandatory marriage info meeting that, "Blackhawk Church does not do weddings, we do marriages." We found such an idea to be awesome, it takes the focus off "the big day" and places the focus instead on your marriage (God willing, the rest of the 50+ years you are going to be together). As regular attendees of the church will be matched with a marriage mentor couple and meet with them 6-8 times and discuss a verity of topics, learning from the experience of your couple, another wonderful idea we found.
I went to go check out the facility after my wife and mother-in-law had raved about the place and was greeted by some guy in a PGA sweater vest (in the summer, mind you), blatantly looked up and down, then asked, "Are you members?" On the account my then fiance had such a wonderful experience and seem very excited about the place, I refrained from taking this guy by the PGA golf sweater and telling him there's a real world beyond paying for your friends. Needless to say, I never saw that guy again and we had a night and day different experience from that day forward. The staff were terrific and wonderful to work with. The venue is nice, but not over the top, though can only hold up to 220 guests comfortably. As for the food - Outstanding. We love food and wanted it to a big part of the day. We were able to do a lovely tasting with our parents and came out with, as one of our guests in the food business said, "The best wedding meal I've ever had!" Nakoma worked out perfect for our needs. Now, if I see Mr. PGA sweater vest again he's going to get a piece of my non-member mind.
Uncle Bill says, "It's the only place I stay when I come to Madison." If UB says so, it's the law. Great place if you're wanting a fun downtown Madison experience.
Wonderful! Our families have stayed here numerous times and have always been satisfied with their stay. Very large, beautiful rooms, great breakfast, and perfect location.
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