Jennifer and John's Wedding

Vendors & Venues Reviews

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Hilton Garden Inn
Williamsburg, VA
Hotels/Accommodations

Well managed. Met expectations. Clean, nice rooms. Very reasonable prices. We also had a brunch there on Sunday - all very well done.


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Willow Manor Country Estate
Providence Forge, VA
Ceremony Sites

I would not recommend this venue as a location for a wedding. It was very unclean. It lacked basic facility maintenance. The owner was extremely difficult to work with. The venue did not deliver on several commitments – both contractual as well as verbal commitments.

The venue was not clean, in spite of several promises from the owner. If you tour the location, make sure you look at the kitchen – in the refrigerators, corners, and closets– it won’t get any better than you see it. When we toured it in the winter, we were told that it was just cluttered because it was “off-season” and a deep cleaning would be done before wedding season. We went back during wedding season, and the venue was dirtier. We were then told that it was dirty from the last wedding, but a full cleaning crew would come do a deep clean immediately before our wedding. It never got any cleaner. The kitchen was extremely unsanitary. There was at least one dead mouse found in the home. The owner told us that she would not do any cooking in the kitchen, but this was untrue. I believe the facility is under investigation by the health department- we asked the owner about this, and she said it was because “someone saw some ants when a drink was spilled”. After our experience, I do not believe that is the sole reason for the investigation.

The venue lacked basic facility maintenance – things that you would expect to go without saying at an event venue. The heat was not turned on for our entire rehearsal dinner (on a 40 degree night). At the end of the evening, one of our guests had to work with the owner to find the pilot light in order to start the heat. One of the bathroom doors did not close due to water damage that expanded the wood. The doorknob on the inside of the front door fell off in guests’ hands. Closet doors had fallen off their tracks, and were just leaning against the walls. Driveway lights were broken. Again, if you work with this venue, please be wary of verbal commitments. We flagged many of these issues in the weeks and days before our wedding, and the owner consistently reassured us that they would be fixed before the wedding.

Several verbal commitments that the owner made were not met. The owner spoke of many “little touches” that she does for her weddings. None of these happened. These included: having a parking attendant, pre-planning drink orders for the couples’ families for their wait during photos, never running out of food on the buffet, getting a discount on rental equipment that was used by the last wedding, and having “roaring fires” in all of the fireplaces. Again, I would stress “buyer-beware” – if it’s not in the contract, you may not get it – despite the owner’s promises.

In addition to verbal commitments, we had many issues with our contracts with the owner. She was consistently late in when she responded to us, and typically it took at least 3 phone calls / emails in order to get one response. Our contracts called out the number of staff and hours they would work. We were supposed to have 5 staff for the rehearsal dinner, and we had the owner and her assistant – she said the 3 others were there earlier, but we know from our family who was there decorating that this was untrue. We were supposed to have 12 staff for the wedding, and I saw only 2 staff, in addition to the owner and the bartender.
We paid extra for “wedding coordination” services. The owner is very good at planning and directing the wedding ceremony and seating. However, the other portion of the coordination contract was to coordinate with our vendors during the week of the wedding. The owner told me that she had called and confirmed with all of our vendors. I had two vendors tell me that they had never heard from her.

One final caveat – like any venue, the costs will add up. If you are looking at this venue, I highly encourage you to request pro-forma invoice as soon as possible. We were a bit surprised at the bottom line. This is likely not unique to this venue, but if you are working with this owner, you will need to push hard to see the real numbers – and not be misled by the owner’s promises to “save you money.” In addition to the facility rental, you will have costs for catering, catering-staff, gratuities, tax, and equipment rentals.

It is unfortunate that we had this experience. This location has a lot of potential to be a beautiful spot for a wedding, and the owner clearly has a passion for weddings. However, the condition of the facility and professional interactions with the owner were absolutely not in line with what we expected.


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Busch Gardens-Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
Attractions/Entertainment
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Merchant's Square, Downtown Williamsburg
,
Attractions/Entertainment
179553 l
Prime Outlets At Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
Shopping
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Buonamici Pizzeria Inc
Williamsburg, VA
Restaurants
209290 l
Willow Manor
Providence Forge, VA
Ceremony Sites

See above - very disappointing. Dirty, poorly maintained, poorly managed. Would not recommend to anyone else.


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