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Bear Creek Lodge

Mead , WA
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LOCATION

24817 N. Mt. Spokane Park Drive
Mead, WA US 99021 (map)

PHONE

509-238-9114

WEBSITE

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Wedding Venue

REVIEWS

1.3
out of 5.0
3.0/5.0
1.5/5.0
0.0/5.0
1.0/5.0
1.0/5.0
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Sarah
Wedding:
6/11/2011
1.3/5.0
I got married at Bear Creek this year (2011). Originally, I planned on writing a scathing review because of the hell I had been through dealing with the owners. However, there were changes on the weekend of the wedding that allowed for my opinion to change slightly. Here's the lowdown: I planned my wedding for one year prior to the date. My husband and I signed with Bear Creek after we were offered a family-reunion style wedding from Friday through Sunday that included 15 rooms, catering,and a ceremony and reception venue for $7500. Over the course of the next year I often felt like a huge annoyance because I sent so many e-mails to Sam (the owner) with questions about the venue to help me plan my wedding. Sam answered almost all of them in a very timely manner, however, a few times I was offended by the rude responses (he later said he was joking). Unfortunately, the problems started when I began setting up my family in the "15" rooms at the lodge that I was promised. It wasn't until a separate visit to Bear Creek that my mother noticed that a handful of rooms were connected by an open doorway and shared one bathroom. I almost lost some family members that were not comfortable with this arrangement. I was able to work it out myself but was very angry for the extra confusion. The next problems occurred when we realized that our overall cost was going to be a far cry from the $7500 we were expecting. It did say in our contract that there would be an 18% gratuity added but I hate to say that we assumed that would be within reason. The costs started really climbing when we began adding the 18% to the lodging (there is no turn down service), to the cost of holding our event at the venue, and each and every possible item we had to pay for. The best example I can give is the gratuity on corking fees. There is a $12 corking fee charged to every 750mL of wine that we brought in ourselves. I purchased 3 boxes of wine at WinCo for a total of $31. When you calculate the corkage fee and gratuity for those boxes it came to almost $300! That is an exorbitant amount for that amount of alcohol. The gratuity is also applied to any and all alcohol purchased from Bear Creek. It also became necessary to tell our guests to bring cash if they wanted to purchase anything other than what my husband and I had pre-bought for the reception because, if anyone chose to open a tab or use a credit card, an automatic 18% would be added to their cost as well.
My husband, maid of honor, and myself had a final meeting with Sam and his wife, Karen, a few days before the wedding to make final payments and make sure all the details were in place. At this meeting Sam told me that he had been reading my wedding blog (to be fair, it is a free internet). They tried backtracking about the problems I had faced with the connected rooms by telling me that their website clearly states which rooms are adjoined. I will swear on everything that, at the time I was planning the room set-up, the website said nothing of the sort. The good thing to come out of this is that Sam and Karen have changed their website so there is no further confusion.
At the same meeting Sam brought up some poor reviews that had been posted online about Bear Creek. Without being completely blunt, he blamed me and/or my maid of honor for writing the reviews which we had not done. He claimed that one of the reviews specifically mentioned the date of my rehearsal dinner. Later that evening, either he or his wife forwarded all the reviews to me in my e-mail. I don't know why they sent them to me but I did read them and I realized that none of them had reference to my wedding weekend. I felt extremely angered and stressed just days before my wedding. I had been lied to and was being forced to deal with their issues that had nothing to do with me. At this point, I gave up all communication with either of them and turned it all over to my father who was just getting into town for the wedding.
Now that most of the bad review is out I can explain why I have raised my review from 1 star to 3. My wedding weekend was completely perfect! I'm sure it was obvious to Sam and Karen that both my husband and I were very unhappy and that must have convinced them to try extra hard to please us for the weekend. Their efforts were obvious. The location looked wonderful and Sam was great to all my guests (I had read other reviews claiming that he can be kind of rude or short if people get in his way). The kicker came on Sunday as we were packing up to go. I had forgotten to leave my card with Sam to cover all the corkage fees as well as anything we would be charged for going a few people over on our rehearsal dinner or farewell breakfast. I told my mother that I was going to take care of it but she reminded me that my father was going to handle all the business dealings with Sam. When my dad came back from their conversation he told me that Sam had just said not to worry about it; that we were square payment-wise. It honestly saved me hundreds of dollars. I don't know if he did it because he was just relieved that the whole ordeal was over or because he was still putting in all that effort to make up for the past year. Either way, it was much appreciated. However, I wouldn't expect that regularly which is why I feel people need to be aware of the over-zealous 18% gratuity.
So, overall, it was worth it to me to have 1 year of hell in order to have the perfect wedding weekend. Would I recommend getting married at Bear Creek Lodge? No. I would recommend Belle Victorian Gardens. The nights I cried because I was having such a horrible time with Bear Creek I was wishing we had chosen Belle Gardens. It is an incredible place but, more important, Pam (the owner) is one of the best people I have ever met. I promise I don't know her outside of planning my wedding and I'm not advertising her for any reason other than that she was amazing even after I told her we had chosen a different venue. She always remembered me and was incredibly supportive.
Services Used: Wedding Venue

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24817 N. Mt. Spokane Park Drive, Mead, WA 99021 See On Map
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