I know this review is long, but it is extremely important for anyone booking at this location to read my review thoroughly.
Initial meeting with Chris and Rosana Vaughn was wonderful. They showed us around, told us about their packages, and we discussed cost.
Chris always seems preoccupied. When we talk or email, he never seems to remember what we previously discussed. I would recommend keeping a file on each bride and making detailed notes. I know it is MY most important day and not his, but it would be helpful if he remembered instead of asking the same thing several times. Chris even went so far as to confuse our wedding date…multiple times, even after us reminding him each time.
I deal with contracts each day, so I understand the importance of getting specifics in writing. There were multiple times that he would not commit to something in writing. If I asked a specific question in an email, he would completely skip over it instead of answering it.
Chris quoted me $16 per person (in writing) for a Ribeye dinner with potato, salad, bread, drinks for rehearsal dinner. Several weeks later he quoted $22 for the same. After I reminded him of his previous quote he became irate. After intervention and negotiation from my future Father in Law, we settled on a price of $20 per person. Chris stated that the $16 price was for 8oz Ribeye (which he does not like to cook), and the $22 price was for a 14oz.
I have only discussed pricing of Wildscape products with Chris. No one else. Early on during one discussion he said that pricing over 100 people would be $11.75 for the food, and $3.50 for the ceremony. I wrote that in my DETAILED notes. I brought this up later on down the road and he said he never gave me that price. I went back to my notes, but could not remember what day we discussed it and I did not have it in writing. He speaks to different brides every day. His prices have changed multiple times since we first met, and as stated before he seems to be forgetful. I know I did not make a mistake.
Three months before the wedding I sent him an email requesting written confirmation of several items. Not only did not even hit “respond” on my email confirming he got it, but typed a completely new email requesting a sit down meeting.
At the meeting was myself, my fiancé, FFIL, Chris, and Rosana. Rosana did not speak the entire time and since she does not seem to make any decisions in relation to the business I am not even sure why she was there. Chris would not commit verbally or in writing to pretty much anything that I had questions on. He did mention in the meeting that he felt he was being taken advantage of. When I mentioned my hesitation on the fact that we were three months out from the wedding date and I could not get answers on important items he stumbled a bit and looked shocked (what I can only believe to be his once again misunderstanding of our wedding date).
Even the additional guest price he said he would have to get back to me on. I asked how much it would be for 25 people over 100, and he could not give me a price at that moment. Several days later I received a price quote for an additional 25 people of $561.25 for food, ceremony, tax. That works out to $27.19 per person. After I turned in my final count with only 18 additional people, he sent me an invoice for $418.31 which is $23.24 per person…WHAT?!?!?! I mean I am NOT complaining, but come on now!
At our first meeting I was told that we could set up Friday at rehearsal, finish before the wedding on Saturday, and take down everything on Sunday after the wedding. That changed later on down the road to only Friday and we could not come back on Sunday. I had to leave all that clean up and hard work to my friends and family to take care of after the wedding. I know that is what they are there for and they don’t mind helping, it just was not what we were originally told. Chris led us to believe that it would be an open door for decorating and setting up prior to the wedding.
Our package included free engagement pictures with his wife Rosana. She shot our pictures and they were generally good…but not good enough to justify her asking price of $800 for wedding day photography. I had spoken with her several times, but had never given her a definite answer on if we would be using her. At the sit down meeting in which she did not speak at all, I reminded her directly of all the things her and I had discussed and what she had agreed to. At that moment Chris shot her a dirty look (kind of like “why are YOU making agreements without my say so”) and he told me at that moment that Rosana was not available to shoot our wedding. They also have a statement in their contract saying that no outside photography may be done prior to the start of the wedding unless you pay THEM $200 an hour.
During the rehearsal Chris said he would cut back the tree near the dock as it was hitting our groomsmen in the face…he didn’t, so in all the pictures the groomsmen are ducking or hidden by the branches.
My package also included a complimentary professional DJ. I was not allowed to meet or talk to the DJ prior to the rehearsal. The DJ that showed up at the rehearsal was anything but professional and looked to be more like a high school student. During the rehearsal she ran through the music and pretty much botched it up. When the DJ was transitioning from one song to another it was very choppy. I spoke up about it and told her how I wanted it. She ran through it a few more times until she had a decent transition.
On the wedding day as we were waiting for guests to start arriving I noticed my music started playing early. I went directly to Chris to find out why the music had started early. His response was in my opinion “snappy” when he said he didn’t know what songs I wanted to play and at what time. I proceeded to show him the list of songs (that was sitting on the DJ table) and what time they were supposed to start. My list was so detailed that a monkey could have followed it. At that time they readjusted everything and had the correct music playing. Right after the bridal party walked down the aisle the DJ was supposed to transition into my bridal song. Once again, she completely botched it and there was a long pause with no music, and the beginning of my song was completely cut off. After the kiss, there was a long pause when the music should have started back up as we kissed. Nothing major, but something a “professional” should have been able to avoid.
We met with the wedding day coordinator at the rehearsal. Chris had said her duties were very specific (so basically she wasn’t there for me, she was there for him). I gave her a detailed list of the events that we would be doing and the approximate times I wanted to do them at (cake cutting, garter toss, etc.). Multiple times during the evening she would come up to me and ask me when I wanted to do something…we would then look at the schedule together, and I would say, ok, we can do this now. Then she would start to gather everyone back into the reception area. With a detailed list, she should have been able to come tell me, we are about to do this, and then go get everyone inside and coordinate with the DJ. Just one more thing that was very unprofessional.
The rest of the reception went pretty normal. The DJ did pretty well at reading the crowd and adjusting the music accordingly. When it came time to leave I was reminding my family of everything to grab and pack up and then we got ready to make our exit. We chose to do a sparkler exit and later on I was informed by my friends and family that at one moment the coordinator was taking sparklers back from the guests. My friend that was there helping me was passing them out to the guests because our coordinator was not doing it, and the coordinator was taking them back. It was just very confusing.
When we returned from our honeymoon I was told that the arch that we had was forgotten and so I contacted Chris. Not only did he already delete my number from his phone and had to ask who I was, but he then proceeded to tell me he had no idea where my arch was. He said that someone from our group more than likely grabbed it. I had already spoken with everyone and no one had it. He said he did not know where it was and had not seen it and that he was not responsible for anything left behind. I told him I didn’t expect him to be responsible for it, but how in the world do you not see a 7ft tall wedding arch covered in flowers and ribbons. It isn’t something that just got stuck in a corner and forgotten.
My husband called on June 6th regarding the whereabouts of our deposit. He was told by Chris that it was more than likely mailed to us on either on the 3rd or the 5th, but he would have to check with Rosana. We did receive the check a few days later (postmarked June 6th).
My final thought is that someone working in the wedding industry should maintain a level of tenderness and care when dealing with brides on their most special day. We were assured by Chris and Rosana that they had been doing this for several years and had held dozens of weddings. They also stated that it was a learning process and they were always adjusting to new ways of doing things. I hope that they continue to grow and learn in this process of hosting weddings because their facility is truly beautiful.
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