Natasha was really good. She was helpful in setting up details and providing information. Best of all she was very flexible in giving us want we wanted from place settings to menus. She has the event experience we didn't have to help us refine our time line and consumptions needs. Her greatest asset is her staff, who were warm and friendly to everyone at our wedding.
Personally, I loved the food. I heard a few different reviews from the guest whose chief complaint was that their beef was too rare, but this may just be a matter of taste really. The main course was served late, about 30 minutes, which didn't go unnoticed. It was not a big problem, but it did limit our time for dancing and people were getting hungry.
If I had one thing I would change, it would have been the menu planning. Personally, I didn't want anything to do with the food at the wedding cause it is just too stressful for me. I wanted to give Natasha a head count and a budget and have her generate options from there. We did suggest that we wanted a gourmet burger and fry feast, but we didn't know what else. I could have used more hand holding in this area. So if you're like me and not totally sure what goes with what, be prepared for some back and forth.
So to summarize:
PROS: Very professional and excellent staff. Tasty eats.
CONS: Timing was a little off, and difficult to generate a final menu
We got our cake from For Heaven’s Cake. They were very nice. A few things of interest.
* They work out of their homes. All of our meetings with them were conducted at our local Starbucks. We actually did this with a few of our vendors. I don’t know if Starbucks knows what a meeting place they have become.
* They brought samples cakes to our first meeting. They were tasty. We only tried two places, this and another one, and their cake was better. Our main focus was lemon cake, thought we ended up with alternating layers of lemon then blueberry all cued from Martha here and here.
* Believe it or not we first found them on Craigslist. They are no longer up there and I’m not sure how one would otherwise find except for good old word of mouth.
* They have a lovely page portfolio you can select from or they design as you wish
* A week before the wedding Sean met with them to go over particulars one more time and give them our rather heavy toppers to make sure they would mount.
* Two days before the wedding Rick called me to tell me the orginal choice of blackberry filling we had selected is not available so we ended up with blueberry. *I had actually wanted to use a very particular blackberry fruit spread from Italy, but as I passed this task off to Sean I let that go. I didn’t think I could ask him to run to Whole Foods and purchase multiple jars of imported fruit spread. I wasn’t sure you could use what is otherwise jelly in a cake filling either. If I could do it over, I would have followed this through, largely because the fruit spread is all fruit, real fruit, and normal cake filleing to me taste like chemicals. Our cake however was fine, and I’m not sure anyone knew the flavor other than “berry.”
* The day of the wedding the cake arrived on time no problem. It would not, however, support the toppers. They stood beside it. A little odd since that’s why we gave them the toppers…but in the heat of the moment it didn’t matter as much.
* We got our very basic cake design as all white with alternating layers of flavor and design. One layer was plain with a ribbon tied around it, the other with a pattern of rhinestones. Initially we wanted a cake for 50 people. We requested a dummy layer, not to make the cake larger, but so that the non edible rhinestones would not be a concerned. Three days before the wedding, Rick called to say that they reccently had an experience with a similar dummy layer in the middle and it didn’t work well. Could they make the whole thing cake? Sure. Why would I say no? However, we did end up with cake for nearly 140 people with 55 adult wedding guests.
* The icing was buttercream pure white. I don’t know how she made it, butter or crisco. I didn’t ask. I don’t really care. Truth? I wanted swiss meringue buttercream but never asked for it. My bad.
* The ribbon…it was ugly. When I sent Sean to confirm details I meant for him to ask specifics about the ribbon. He did with questions like who is supplying it and what color will it be. Good ones. I should have had him ask, what will it be made of? In retrospect, I love the real ribbon over icing ribbon. No shame there. However, supply your own double faced satin ribbon. We ended up with that totally plastic ribbon very often used in floral displays. This is not a sin. Really that ribbon was design for this purpose of standing up to dirt and water or cake and sugar. The satin ribbon would have been ruined by the cake, and after some time, might have absorbed oil from the buttercream. Still I assert that a really thick nice ribbon would have looked glam and would have lasted 2-5 hours before possibly showing any signs of gross. Get your own ribbon!
* We liked For Heaven’s Cake because their cake started at $2/slice. That is not totally easy to do. As I mentioned above our cake was a simple design with simple flavors. However, we discovered that there is a 100 slice minimum for a cake. There is just no way to get out of a cake for less than $200. We fist asked for 70 slices…which would cost $3/ slice for $210. If we got 100 slices at $2 each, it was only $200. I strange narrow margin to be in.
* There was a small mistake in our cake but only Sean and I knew. Not even my mother knew. Our heart was set on lemon cake. The other white and blueberry layer was a total after thought and really just for whatever fool might not like lemon cake. With all the flavor switching and dummy substitions, what we got ON THE DAY was four layers of cake, a 14” blueberry, a 10”blueberry, an 8” lemon, and a top 6” lemon. Do you see the problem? People were asking for lemon but we totally ran out. We saved our top, so that only meant 8” of lemon to a total 24” of blueberry, and we didn’t really care about blueberry. We had told everyone about the awesome lemon cake we were having. Did the baker just have lots of frozen white cake? We never asked. Whatever. Next time, get one flavor.
We had our rehearsal dinner here. It was laid back and fun. In fact, we couldn't believe how well it went off, cause we really put little planning into it. We called ahead to reserve the room, and called the day before to confirm. They had everything set up very nicely with our own waitstaff. There were a few other tables in the corner of our room, but it just made us seem like movie stars with a fan club. We called ahead and ordered pizza cause they take a while to bake. Just get a variety. Guests could order apps or salads from the menu and few did. If I had more energy I might have reprinted their menu with just those items in cute wedding paper - but I didn't. Everyone got drinks like tea or coke, and few pitchers of beers went 'round. They turned the sports off while we were there, but right at the end a few folks requested it from that table, and the complied happily. I can't rave enough about it.
I don't know how many people think pizza for a rehearsal dinner. We wanted something very Houston, Houston only, and this budget friendly. In fact it was friendlier that we planned. It think it was less than $15/pp and that's after tax, tips, drinks.
This place is charming. Everyone loved it, and because it is so beautiful you really don't have to do much to decorate. It is a garden club and not a wedding venue, however. That means we had to bring in everything! Chairs, extension cords, tables. Everything was rented. We had a Thursday night reception and wedding which cut into their rental fee saving $1400. That made renting everything not so bad. But the club doesn't really care about having weddings there (their words not mine) and they are just only so helpful. They have a lot of rules to follow, some silly some not. You have to hire HPD security, which will cost you $400. First we were told the rentals had to be picked up that night (late night charge of $300), but 2 days before the wedding we were told just the dishes needed to be gone. Although we had a different vendor for dishes, we had everything picked up.
They have awful business hours, M, W, Th 9-3:30. In our experience these were followed 50% of the time. The day our photographer met us at the site, they were closed during normal hours. Reaching them on the phone was difficult so I often left messages "saying I'm coming by tomorrow, if you won't be there please call me." The day before the wedding we had to do our rehearsal at 2 and be done by 3:30 or pay an additional "key fee" of $175. After making arrangements to do be done by 3:30, I was told *the day of* that the building manager wanted to be done by 2:30 so she could leave early. My bridesmaid handled that after I melted into stress tears. Three days before the wedding I outlined the time line for the manager regarding staff arrival and delivery time lines and she made no objections. On the day of the rehearsal however, she told me that if my rentals arrived at 3 (the latest I could get without paying overtime charges of $150) I would be over my 5 hour time limit and would need to buy extra time. Of course at the 11th hour I had no room to think of options and just had to fork over a check for an extra $250.
I have highlighted the worst interactions here. Sometimes, the manager was beyond nice. I think the worst part was knowing when I walked in there, that I had no idea what to expect - super nice manager or difficult balloon popping manager.
Still I give it three stars...cause it was beautiful, with parking. In some ways we got fee-d to death to meet all the requirements, but we didn't have to pay a valet. There were no charges for bringing in our own alcohol. You can't dance inside, but otherwise you can create the wedding of your dreams there.
The people at this hotel were simply wonderful. Everyone waited until the week before the wedding to book their hotel, which was no fully booked. Still they found them other rooms. They offered a shuttle to the wedding if we wanted it. They were great. Oh, and they accept dogs!
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