We had an absolutely wonderful wedding all thanks to my many family and vendors that helped along the way. The first week in August is when we decided to get married and it decided to DOWNPOUR right when the ceremony was suppose to start. After an hour it quit raining, the seats were wiped down, and I did "the walk". Even with the rain everything went perfectly. Rainy season in Billings is July - Early August, but by August the showers are fairly short. All the hotels were a 10-15 minute drive from DanWalt Gardens (except the Heights area hotels of course). There was plenty of parking and the guests had a blast. I truly feel blessed to have had such an amazing day to start off the rest of my life with my wonderful husband!
If I could give no stars I would. I got Abby's Catering information from an event she catered. The food was AMAZING so I decided I wanted her. BIG MISTAKE!
For one she takes weeks to respond to any emails or phone calls, which is stressful while trying to plan out your wedding meal. She required a $500 deposit which is quite a bit compared to other caterers in town. When we finally sat down to pick out our meals I said I wanted to do a buffet with a chopped salad and a few dressing choices. She told me buffets were tacky for a wedding (we had a bunch of kids coming, no way a sit down dinner was going to work) and that she only does a tossed salad with her signature dressing and she didn't seem to care we had pomegranate allergies in the family, it was her way or I could take my business elsewhere. Another things I thought was annoying was she charged per head, it didn't matter if they were adults or children. Most companies I talked to had a reduced rate for children. The final straw was when she quoted us $26 a head for two appetizers, three meats, three salads, rolls, coffee, and lemonade. I thought that was awesome, until she sent us the final bill at $48 a head! When I called her out on that she sent me a "Revised" menu to fit the budget at $26 a head which included a salad, a side, rolls, and one meat...no appetizers, coffee, or lemonade!
Needless to say one month before my wedding I had no food and lost $500. Honestly that was bargain to not have to deal with her again.
I chose Bull Mountain Grille as my caterer after the first one fell through. With only a month to go before the wedding they went above and beyond to pull our dinner together!
We had a two appetizers, chopped salad w/ four dressing choices (including their specialty huckleberry vinaigrette which is tasty and awesome), four sides, two meats including cut-to-order prime rib, and two rolls (cheddar herb biscuits and regular rolls). When they gave me the estimate I was shocked as it was under budget and incredibly reasonable!
They catered the wedding from setup to clean up and were all dressed appropriately for my style wedding. To this day people still talk about how incredible the food was and my uncle says that was the best prime rib he has EVER had. All my guests had plenty to eat and none of the food ran out. They also charged reduced rates for the children, which was a big plus since we had 25 of them attend.
Bull Mountain Grille saved my reception, provided an awesome catered dinner for my guests, were completely reasonable in the price department, and did I mention how great the food was? I highly recommend them to anybody and everybody. They are willing to customize the meals and add new recipes (I gave them a recipe for a dip I like and they made it as an appetizer). If you want to check out their food, visit them in the Heights!
Tiny's Tavern did the bar service for the wedding. One reason I went with them is that they allow you to provide your own wine, soda, water, and specialty drinks like that while they handle the hard liquor and beer. Their keg prices were the best in town when I was checking.
They sent out one bartender and he did an excellent job mixing drinks for everybody.
The way we had it setup is our family and wedding party had wrist bands and they billed us for their drinks ($3 bottled beer/hard lemonade, $4 for a mixed drink, $5 for a premium mixed drink). Our guests had free beer, wine, water, and soda but had to pay for their hard liquor drinks. It was a complete success and none of our guests were upset at having to buy their own mixed drinks.
The only reason I gave them a four-star review is because they ran out of whiskey about towards the end of the reception and weren't able to supply anymore. Not a big deal since there was only an hour left, but it was a minor annoyance mostly because I had one whiskey drink and by the time I wanted another they ran out. They cleaned up everything though and I had no problems with the bar service.
Absolutely perfect! That is what Dan and Walt strive for on your wedding though. Honestly they did everything possible to make sure my day was stress-free and perfect. Even when we had the hour downpour of rain, they were out there with the wedding party wiping down all the chairs. They also handled all the decorating for the ceremony which included white folding chairs, draperies on the gazebo in our wedding colors, and handing baskets of flowers in our wedding colors. Walt handled the ceremony music perfectly from the CD I made for him.
Here is how my day went. We were able to setup most the reception hall the night before since there was no event scheduled. In the morning my aunt and mom finished up the decorations while I organized the bridal suite. I went off to get my make-up done as Dan and Walt coordinated with the vendors who showed up to start setting up. I got back and hung out in the bridal suite, which was big enough to hold six adult women and two little girls comfortably. It was air conditioned which was awesome as it was HOT before the rain. There was also a private bathroom, so I didn't have to walk to the pavilion to use the facilities and the groom's suite was elsewhere so there was no chance of us seeing each other.
After the rain, Dan got the wedding party ready to go and sent everyone on their way. When it was time for me to get ready to walk, Dan came and escorted me to the bridge before handing me off to my father (the bridge is the beginning of the walk). I made my way to gazebo where my husband stood in awe staring at me. It was the best moment of my wedding day!
After the ceremony we took pictures which, it being a giant garden there wasn't lack of good photo opportunities (just a bad model, which is me). After photos we did our walk into the pavilion, which was decorated perfectly thanks to everyone's hard work, and started the reception.
The pavilion is big enough to seat 120 people comfortably, has a nice kitchen for the caterers, and two very nice bathrooms. Dan and Walt provided all the tables and chairs. Between the ceremony decoration, the table, the chairs, and the pavilion it really is a deal to use the gardens (plus it is gorgeous in the beginning of August with all the flowers that are in bloom). Dan and Walt did what they said they would...they made my wedding day perfect!
We used the Wingate by Wyndham for the out-of-town guests and for our bridal suite. I blocked off rooms and booked the bridal suite in February before my August wedding.
Some guests complained about the price and found their own accommodations, but not without airing their grievances to me first. I didn't think the price was that bad, $70 per night for that caliber of hotel sounded like a good rate. The guests who did stay there LOVED it as there was a continental breakfast and The Reef waterpark for the kids to play at during the days. They appreciated the kid-friendly enviornment and were happy to have a way to occupy the little ones without having to drag them all over Billings.
When I called to see how the whole bridal suite was going to work, they told me they lost our contract and that both the bridal suites had been rented. I was pretty perturbed at this since both were booked after me. After emailing them my contract and then arguing with the manager for an hour to get it straightened out they finally relented and gave us a normal suite to use for the night. It was lovely and they provided champagne and strawberries, but it would have been nice to have the in-floor jacuzzi tub.
I gave it a three-star just from dealing with the manager. Even though I presented him with a paid reservation, he only want to give us a normal king-sized room without charging us less (I paid $126 for the suite). My cousin who is a great negotiator had to get involved in the end. It was a headache to deal with right before the wedding. My advice would be to call them a month to two weeks before if you pre-book the bridal suite.
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