Our wedding was absolute chaos. I'll admit that it was partially my fault- after being engaged for 2 years and being a HUGE procrastinator, I left everything until about 8 months before the wedding to get things done.
The day in itself was crazy- a little too much partying was done at the rehearsal dinner and I ended up only getting about 4 hours of sleep. We ran an hour late getting to the hotel to get ready, and then another hour late while I was getting my hair done. Chris & the groomsmen had headed out to the venue in the morning to get everything set up, but sometime between the rehearsal dinner & the morning he'd lost his keys and couldn't get into my car to unload all the decorations. The hour before the ceremony that we'd allocated to get photos of the bridal party was spent setting up all the decorations and getting things in place since the venue had completely set everything up wrong. The caterer & the DJ did an amazing job of getting it all sorted out and set up for us.
Honestly, I don't remember much of the ceremony- it went past like a blur. It was a scorching hot day (yay for indian summers!) and I had felt dizzy throughout most of the day. Half way through the ceremony, I paused the whole thing to kick off my shoes, Chris was sweating so much that hair gel was dripping into his eyes, and Reverend B. Almond had a lovely atmosphere about him as he lead the ceremony.
The reception was a lot of fun. The food was incredible- we had guests coming up to us all night to compliment our choice of caterer, and they all LOVED the DJ- Ryan from Island Sound. Even a month on, people are still talking about how great our wedding was, and how they had such an enjoyable time. The fun atmosphere of the reception melted away any and all stress from the hours leading up to the wedding. The only downside was our awful cake which was NOTHING like we'd asked for.
Overall, the day wasn't too bad but it could've run a whole lot smoother. If I had one piece of advice- GET A DAY OF COORDINATOR! if your venue doesn't already provide one, it's well worth the investment. I wish I'd have thought about getting one and not thought that we could do it all on our own. We probably would've been more on time, the venue would've been more attentive, and overall the day would've been less stress on us and our families.
Ryan was absolutely incredible! When we needed him for an extra hour to do the ceremony music because our musicians pulled out at the last minute he had absolutely no problem with accommodating our situation, and played the music for us perfectly- which was fairly complicated (we had several songs played throughout the ceremony) and required him downloading specific songs that weren't in his catalogue.
During the reception all the guests thought he was great and he got pretty much everyone at our 70 guest wedding on the dance floor at some point in the course of the evening. He kept commenting that he thought it was great I knew exactly what I wanted played, but reality was- he was the one that made it so great and kept everyone entertained. I just pointed him in the right direction & let him go. We started off the cocktail hour with rat-pack classics, then slowly moved into more mainstream pop & classic oldies during dinner & the first part of dancing, then kicked it up with more charts & dance music as the night progressed and the older guests left. Island Sound also provided us with all the pink & blue uplights for the reception room which made the room look drop dead gorgeous!
They were well worth the money!
To say that I'm disappointed in this company would be an understatement.
Based upon the referrals of several friends who got married over the past few years, we decided to go with this company for our wedding cake. We'd tried a few other bakers, but no one was really up to the standard I was looking for- after all, I needed a cake that would really blow our crowd away & be the centerpiece of our reception.
My mother & I set up an appointment & went to meet with them to discuss ideas, what we were looking for etc. They gave us a wonderful sample plate full of bitesized pieces of cake, icings etc. & we were pretty much in cake heaven. The lobby of the bakery is inviting- demo cakes lining the walls, books & photo albums of cakes to choose from, & it's very comfortably decorated. We sat down and began talking with them. Nothing we asked for seemed to be too much- I'd taken a photo of the cake I wanted in with me & explained that I would for our cake to look exactly like that, only changing the colors on it. They said that was absolutely no problem. The meeting went well & a few weeks later, they gave me a sample box to take home with me so that my DH could try it. He fell in love with it as well & that was that- we were going to book them.
2 weeks before the wedding I went to pay the remaining balance & confirm all the details with them. It all ran smoothly. I had purchased my own cake stand, only to find it was too small & they wouldn't be able to use it. Kindly, they offered to loan me one of theirs at no extra cost & I was grateful.
Come the day of the wedding, I get to the reception to find that the cake design is awful. It's absolutely hideous & NOTHING like I'd asked for. It looked... well, I can't find the words to describe how atrocious it was. The general gist of the design was right, but it wasn't anything like the photo I'd given them. I was devastated. Within an hour of the reception starting, the bow on the middle tier had fallen off (and it was NOT hot in my reception room as they claim it was) & smashed into the side of the cake. My mum & the caterer's did the best they could to try and fix it, but it still looked ridiculous.
When my husband and I cut the cake, we were appalled to find that there was nearly 3 inches of buttercream on the outside of it. The "slice" of cake that we were supposed to feed each other was nearly all buttercream & we couldn't even tell if they got the interior correct.
Talking to my dad the day after the wedding, he said he thought they got the fillings incorrect as he couldn't taste anything but buttercream. (we were supposed to have chocolate cake with chocolate ganache & strawberry mousse on the bottom layer, lemon cake with raspberry puree & lemon curd on the second tier, & chocolate cake with creme de menthe mousse for the top tier) Both my sister & MIL said the same thing. However, I did finally manage to track down the left over pieces of cake & taste them for myself- the bottom layer was correct, however the second tier was missing the lemon curd & I have no idea about the top tier as it got devoured at the wedding.
When I called to ask them about the situation, they were very standoffish with me about it and refused to entertain the idea that it could possibly be wrong. I spent an entire day going back and forth with them on the phone about the situation. Since I needed to go past and drop off the cake stand anyway, I set up a time for my husband and I to sit down with them and talk in person.
I showed them photos of what they'd given us and what we had requested. They admitted they looked nothing alike and couldn't explain why there had been such a big mistake in the design. When I pointed out that I had given them the photo of the cake I wanted, they claimed there was nothing in my file. They also swore up and down that the interior of the cakes were perfect- however, it turns out that the girl taking the order had never written down that I wanted lemon curd in it. The only compensation they offered us was to make another 8-inch cake for us. I DON'T WANT MORE CAKE!! I'M SICK OF FRIGGIN' CAKE!! I told them I wanted a refund of half the cost of the cake. They refused to entertain it- they would give me $45 for the cost of the design or an 8 inch cake and nothing more. That's not enough for me- after all, no amount of money is going to make up for the fact that I spent my wedding night bawling my eyes out in massive fits of sobs because my wedding cake- my one splurge in our excessively tight budget- was completely wrong and I could've made a better cake by myself. I paid $2k for photography- and now I have 25 photos of a cake that's hideous and not even mine. It's not the photographers fault. I can't go after him for that money back. It's their fault. The only response I got was "we can't do anything. it's up to the owner & she's not here right now."
I'm still fighting with them about this a month now & I'm determined that it'll be resolved.
After looking at nearly every venue in Wake County, we opted to go with Lake Johnson. It was well priced (just over $1k for 10 hours rental), a blank canvas as far as decorating it to our tastes went, a natural but pretty area, a perfect sized meeting room and an easily found location.
They were easy enough to work with as far as booking the venue and reserving the date, however when I got home I found we'd been heavily overcharged for our rental- The events coordinator, Clay, seemed to be quite ignorant of the rules, regulations and charges for the venue. I ended up speaking with Coley, the park manager about the situation who knocked nearly $2k off the price of the rental.
Clay was terrible to work with. Every question I asked him couldn't be answered without umming and ahhing for 5 minutes trying to find the answer, he seemed baffled by a lot of things I requested from him (ie- room dimensions & layouts, what could and couldn't be done to the venue, etc.) and most of their contracts were vaguely written. It's sad when the bride knows more about the rules and regulations of the venue than the events coordinator.
The day of the wedding nothing had been set up correctly, if it had been set up at all. We understood that it was our responsibility to set up the decorations etc. and the groomsmen were out there early in the morning getting lights and decorations strung. however, the venue were supposed to set up the seating for the ceremony & the tables for the reception. The caterer & DJ ended up forcing them to get things sorted out as there was no where for them to set up when the tables weren't properly done. They also ended up rearranging the room and the ceremony site so that it was correctly laid out as they didn't follow the layout drawings I'd given them.
Once everything was set up right, the place looked amazing, especially as it was a cloudless, sunny day and our guests loved the scenery. It made for some lovely photos and the juxtaposition of our sleek, modern theme against the natural scenery was breathtaking. I'd recommend the venue, but only if you're planning on having a smaller wedding (less than 70) and you have immense patience with people as it can get rather irritating having to deal with a bunch of men who barely understand what you're asking and don't have any interest in weddings. We're actually considering renting the space again for our 1-year anniversary and hosting a smaller party there to celebrate.
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