earthendenim (earthendenim) wrote in bad_service,
earthendenim
earthendenim
bad_service

Wedding Woes

I started out absolutely, mind-bendingly, righteously furious about this, but the longer it drags out the funner it gets. Wedding reception bad service under the cut.



I'm getting married on June 14, on Mackinac Island. I could say a lot about Mackinac, but for background just know that it's a tourist spot in northern Michigan, including an old fort, lots of historic spots and homes, the famous Grand Hotel, and of course no cars. A lovely, romantic (and popular!) spot for a wedding, and especially nice for us since it's basically a halfway point between my hometown (Dearborn/Detroit) and my fiance's hometown of Escanaba. Yes, that Escanaba.

I'm not going to name the bad-service-giver (the reception facility) just yet, because the situation has not quite reached the point where I'm ready to adversely recommend them to any and all potential guests. Here's the timeline:

Late May, 2007: I begin talking to the facility and get the packages. All communication at this point is through Sarah*, and she does not seem to have ready answers to my questions. At this point the wedding is over a year away and I'm not too worried about details. We are emailed a contract for review.

Early June, 2007: I call one more time to have a question answered before we sign the contract and send the $1200 deposit. I'm told that Sarah is no longer with the facility, and am directed to Laura, my new coordinator. Laura answers my question and we send the contract and deposit. All is well.

August, 2007: My fiance and I plan a trip to the facility (which is 4 hours from our home in Detroit) to do a food tasting and nail down some details, like how the banquet room will be arranged. We call to schedule a meeting with the coordinator. We are advised that Laura is no longer working for the facility, and are directed to Mark. Mark sets up a meeting for the last weekend in September, and asks me to call with our entree choices.

September, 2007: We meet with Mark and are well-pleased; he has answers to many of our questions, and we feel like we've made a lot of progress toward the final event. We determine that we're choosing the platinum wedding package, which is $109 a plate. This price includes the 6-hour bar, plated dinner, and various other lovely amenities. We wish there were a slighly lower-cost alternative, but my mother (and the bankroll behind the whole thing) wants a plated dinner, and the lower options are all buffetts.

(Lest any of you think I'm awfully particular, please let me say I'd actually be happy with burgers and beers at the reception, but my parents really want to have a lovely, formal occasion, which they are paying for, and I didn't argue one bit against it--I'm really pleased and it's going to be a wonderful party. I thank them about once a week!)

Last week: My mom casually mentions that she went to the facility website, where they had posted the new 2008 wedding package info. The packages have all increased in price, including ours which has jumped nearly 50% to $159 per plate. The least-expensive (buffet) reception now costs $129 per plate, which is already $20 more than the original-quoted price.

My mom is kind of horrified at how big the increase is, because while some inflation is expected this seems pretty steep. We're having about 50 guests, so we're talking about an immediate tack-on of $2500--not exactly chump change. However, we also discuss that we're kind of locked in--by this point, pretty much every facility on the island has been booked for just about every summer weekend; we can't change anything without losing all deposits and causing major chaos. My mom and dad are not precisely strapped for cash, and they're determined to plow ahead with a plated dinner, although a buffett is looking tastier to me.

I decided to give it a while before I call the coordinator, but while talking to my fiance I also look up the packages and see that, for all of them, they've cut the bar down to 4-hour service. Upon double-checking the contract, I see the lovely little (well-expected) clause, "All food and beverage availability and pricing is subject to change until 90 days before the event." Well, that's about what I figured, so let me call to confirm it.

Today, 11:15 A.M.: I call the facility and get Marianne. I ask to speak to Mark. Marianne tells me he no longer works for the facility (!) and that Karly is our new contact person. I get Karly's direct number, but before I hang up I ask Marianne if she knows anything about the price change. She reminds me that the contract states pricing can change. Thanks, lady.

Today, 11:20 A.M.: I call Karly. Voice mail. I leave a message, but tell her I'll have to call her back (I work in a call center and can't leave my desk to take personal calls except at break/lunch).

Today, 11:22 A.M.: I call my fiance, who is aghast at learning we have a fourth new coordinator. He tells me he'll call and kick some ass; I tell him to wait until I talk to my mom.

Today, 11:30 A.M.: I leave my mom a (slightly hysterical) message, detailing the whole thing.

...and the calls continued to fly. My mom also left a message for Karly and neither of us got a call back, but I'm willing to allow 24-48 hours, because I know how it goes. However...

I am angry, insulted, frustrated, and disappointed. I understand that there's going to be some inflation of the prices, and I get that people do leave jobs. However, in each case the facility didn't bother to inform us at all. Not even an email, a postcard, a message to let me know I had a new point of contact. They've been unprofessional and not-accommodating throughout the whole process.

I understand that the coordinator (whoever it is at the time) probably has 15 different June brides to handle, but the whole idea is that this is a very, very special occasion, and OH BY THE WAY, my family and friends will be all staying at the faciliy, which means we'll be bringing in something to the tune of $20-$25k to the facility for this shebang, and I'd appreciate it if they'd appear to care at all, even one speck about my special day.

I am trying not to be emotional, but we're pretty much stuck with whatever service and pricing they offer, but it's really discouraging that I have to deal with this sort of crap when planning for an occasion that is not only special but once-in-a-lifetime. Thoughts? Thanks for reading!



It's somewhat tldr; I'm a nut for detail and it's rather a saga at this point. May bore anyone who doesn't care about wedding drama and associated bad service.
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