I figured if I'm starting with vendor reviews, I should probably start with the most 'exciting.' Like I mentioned before, there are several of you who follow me on Twitter that have heard parts of my story about our venue. And I've promised a long detailed post to fill in the rest of the details, but really this post is more for any brides who landed on this blog because they were considering using Boulevard Banquet Hall as their wedding reception venue. Even if you don't read any further, please just don't make the same mistake I did by choosing to hold our reception here.
If you've been following along for awhile you heard about finding the venue. It started out great because the owner was super accommodating and friendly and was even friends with David's cousins. He (Blake) was really laid back and was open to my decorating ideas. It was a perfect fit for a DIY bride like myself. He would basically provide the building, table, and chairs, and I could figure out the rest. This was exactly what we were looking for in a venue. We'd already chosen a couple of our other vendors and I knew I wanted to do a lot of stuff myself - details, decorating, etc.
A few months after signing the contract, we found out that Blake hired a 'coordinator' to help out. It turns out she wanted to start offering (and I use that term loosely) package deals which would include other vendors and her planning, decorating, and coordinating services. Obviously we weren't going to be very interested. We'd put down a deposit on our photographer, we'd already met with our cake lady, and we'd just signed a contract with our DJ. We also knew what we were doing for food, so there really weren't any vendors that we still needed. Since she was just starting to offer these packages, the vendors weren't anyone well-known or high quality and they weren't giving her very good discounts. Had we went with one of her packages we would've been settling wth vendors we didn't really like and paying more than we were for the vendors we wanted. As soon as we (quite nicely) said we weren't interested in her package deals after meeting with her for almost an hour one day (and over our lunch breaks even) she didn't want much to do with us. There was obvious tension, and even more so when she later decided that we'd have to pay her to use the decorations that I'd already spoken with Blake about even though she wasn't even in the picture when we signed our contract.
We basically decided to just figure it out closer to the wedding. Closer as in the week of the wedding. David called to talk to Blake the Monday before our wedding and didn't get an answer. Instead he got a call back a few days later from one of the vendors connected with the venue. The guy thought David was calling because he was interested in booking the hall for an event until he realized that we were holding our reception there that weekend. It turns out that the vendors were now all co-owners of the venue and Blake is no longer in the picture. We never received a phone call or even an email telling us about the change in management. That's exactly what you want to find out 3 days before your wedding.
When we arrived at the venue to decorate on Friday it was insanely hot in the building. It had been upper 90's for several days, but when we asked why the AC wasn't on they told us that 'since we hadn't paid for Friday the AC wouldn't be turned on until Saturday'. They told us that it would only take about 10 minutes (?!?) to cool down the room that would be holding our 275 guests. The whole time we were decorating we got glares from the owners. No one helped us or even really talked to us until we were having an issue with the projector that we were going to use to play slideshows during the father-daughter and mother-son dances. They had to have Blake come over and figure it out, and that was the only time we saw him the whole weekend. The ladder (that was a liability issue even though we'd already signed a contract with a liability clause) was sitting out, so MOH A's boyfriend used it to hang my paper lanterns and none of them said a word. (Although I guess David's little sister heard the 'coordinator' threaten to tell him to get down.. She never did.) We asked again that they turn on the AC earlier than 5 minutes before the reception started, and we set up a time for my dad and SIL to bring some stuff (ice, last minute stuff, etc) over on Saturday.
When my dad and SIL got to the venue on Saturday at 1:30 (less than 4 hours before the reception was scheduled to start) the AC was still not turned on. When David and I arrived at the venue it was insanely hot in there. We were both sweating and so was everyone else. My SIL went to look at the thermostat and it was at 87 degrees. We later found out they had turned on the AC, it blew a breaker, and it shut off. It was over 95 degrees outside. Our guests were hot, my friend had to leave with her little boy because he was so restless due to the heat, and I'm sure there were plenty of other people that didn't stay as long as they would have because of the lack of AC. When we went around the tables and talked to our guests almost every single one of them said something about how hot it was.
I pretty much ignored everything going on and enjoyed my reception. I had the time of my life and my family and friends did SUCH a good job of not telling me if anything went wrong. It turns out that two of the 'owners' were walking around in tshirts and shorts, eating our food and drinking our alcohol. Now I wouldn't have an issue with them fixing plates for themselves since they were there 'working' as security (making sure the parking lot was fine, not letting kids play outside, etc). However, they obviously made enough of a scene that people were concerned - David's brother/best man told us later that more than one person asked who they were. At the end of the night, 2 whole PANS of extra food from the refridgerator were missing. That's is simply inexcusable.
But you know, I could still get over everything up until this point. It wasn't a good experience, but it wasn't enough to send me over the edge (to writing a novel of a review like this and posting our terrible experience on every website possible). It was what happened after the reception that really did it for me. The two 'owners' were there while my family was cleaning up afterward. Our families were tired so the two guys made a deal with David's brother to finish cleaning up for $100. They tore down some of the paper lanterns and then told David's brother that he needed to get up on the ladder and cut down the fishing wire that was holding them. His brother said he'd take the money back then if he was still going to be the one cleaning up. I guess the guys blew up when he said that yelling about how my family had been complaining all night (uhh, with good reason!). Long story short, one of the guys yelled/cussed at my MOM, in front of children no less, and asked David's brother if he wanted to 'take it outside' to deal with the issue. He honestly wanted to physically fight him outside. A (drunk) business owner who wants to fight one of his customers. Really? It's so ridiculous it's almost unbelievable, but it's all true.
The 'customer service' that we received from the employees of Boulevard Banquet Hall was absolutely awful. No one should be treated like that, ESPECIALLY your customers. None of them know anything about running a business, which was made very clear by their actions. I would not recommend them to anyone, and I'll discourage every bride I meet from booking them for their reception. I don't care if they usually provide decent service to brides who are willing to hand over their wedding day to them. If they provided this type of service to us, it's bound to happen again.
My rating: F
If you made it this far, thanks!! (Now you ladies know why I couldn't tell the whole story through tweets!) I promise none of my other vendor reviews will be this long. Had to get this one out of the way while it was all still fresh in my mind!
Anyone else have a terrible experience with their venue?