Jul 26, 2008
J Scott Catering was the sole caterer for our venue and so we looked at caterer and venue as a package, since our other top venue also had a sole caterer. We chose J Scott because they gave us more food options and worked with us on pricing. Our wedding was in the height of summer and we had a number of vegetarian guests, and so I didnt want it to be a lot of heavy meat options. They were happy to add other vegetable options, while still giving us meat alternatives. Since we were only going with one chicken entre. They suggested adding shredded salmon to the salad bar and our risotto station had meat options as well. Although the competing sight could offer us the ability to bring in our own alcohol, which would have been a big money saver, J Scott worked with us on their price and with the venue on its bar price to get to a place that worked for us. They also do not include a mandatory 20% service charge, but tax is already included in their price, which made it much easier to judge. However, when it comes down to it, be sure to read and question the final bill. The final bill I got was only about $70 less expensive than the original contract for 100 people, despite the fact that the head had dropped to 91, which is almost 10% less than the original count. She responded saying she hadnt adjusted some of the equipment needs for the lower head count. Had she not already messed up what I owed the venue for the bar fee, I might have chalked this up to a simple slip up, but it would be nice to check over those figures so you dont overcharge people. It makes me wonder about the calculations done that I didnt have information on and couldnt check. Their representative was very nice and was responsive via phone and e-mail when I had questions or concerns, but she was also the person who wrote up the additions to my contract with the venue, which later came into dispute, and despite the fact that an additional charge was not written in the contract and the contract was signed by the venues representative, the catering person still called me (two days before my wedding) to convince me that this was a normal fee and I should pay it. I found this to be very unprofessional. Beyond that she was very nice and continued to be very nice, but the real problem was that she dropped the ball quite a few times and the details were not there. My parents are divorced and so I worked very hard on a seating chart that would give my mother and my father their own tables that were still equal distance from our sweetheart table. The catering group managed to mess up the table numbers and put my dad back a table. The chairs, which I had asked to be set up as ten rows of five on either side of the aisle, thus ten rows of ten, were set up as five rows of ten on either side of the aisle. There were a number of reasons I needed shorter rows and a longer aisle. I did catch the problem before the guests arrived and they did fix it. Other things were more randomhere are a couple example: At the salad bar, the lettuce was on one end of the table and the plates were on the other end with the other toppings and dressing in the middle. The caterers had made a big deal about the fact we wouldnt get to eat much, but that it wasnt a big deal, because theyd pack us a bag with a little of everything that we could take home that night and eat. They gave us the remaining layer of cake, but no doggie bag. At the tasting, I took notes on things and took pictures of their presentation to remember. Some of their dishes changed. The tomato, mozzarella salad that wed be served with great grilled red onions in the middle no longer had the red onions. I had been talking to people about how good they were, but they werent there. There was an appetizer at the tasting that we thought was a little dry, so we asked if it could be served with a horseradish sauce. We were told that would be no trouble, but despite the fact I saw that appetizer being served, I never saw any sauce.
Services used: Catering
Radnor Hunt is a beautiful facility. We married outside under a big tree with rolling hills in the background. Cocktails were outside and inside in a small ballroom. Dinner and dancing were in a larger ballroom with stations set up around both ballrooms. Both ballrooms have walls made of huge windows that allow you to enjoy the rolling hills and lovely setting. The first floor is air conditioned for hot days. There is a nice room upstairs with a big bathroom for the bride to get ready. The room has a window air conditioner, which didn't work too well for us. There is also a room for the groom and groomsmen to change, but it does not have an air conditioner or bathroom. Radnor Hunt currently has one caterer, J Scott Catering. (for information on them, see my review) Radnor Hunt has an antiquated contract that serves for the rental of the facility. Parts of it actually contradicted other parts. I had to have them go back several times. Radnor Hunt also does its own bar and charges either per person per hour or per drink. You choose before hand. Since we were not familiar with the wines they would be using, we asked to taste them and they were very accommodating. The problem is, they don't include the bar information in the contract. I had to specifically ask them to include it. The only thing the contract says about it is that half of what you owe them is due two weeks before the event and the other half is due one week before the event. The entire facilities fee is due when you book. I never got a bill for either of the payments outlined in the contract, and since my final counts weren't due yet, I was bit unsure of what I owed, so I checked with my catering contact, who was the person I was dealing with for the facility too, and she calculated it for me based on my initial head count. The problem was that she estimated wrong and after I'd made both payments and was checking my budget I realized that I still owed money. By that time, I'd gotten the e-mail address of the Radnor contact Jean and I e-mailed her asking if she wanted me to put a check in the mail right then or if it could wait until I was there in a couple days for the rehearsal. She sent me the first bill I'd gotten, which included a 20% service charge. I'd read all the books that said to check for caterers and places that added gratuity, but I'd checked the contract and it was not mentioned in the contract. So, two days before my wedding I started an e-mail back and forth with her about this charge that I had never agreed to pay. In the end, after many tears, I paid the amount, which I was not contractually obligated to pay, because I didn't want them to mess up my wedding. The bottom line is that they don't live up to their contracts.
Services used: Wedding Venue
Dave Tavani Freelance Photography
Our freelance photographer, Dave Tavani, was great. He was able to give us what we wanted. Photographers offer a range of products and services and they all do things differently, so it can be hard to compare them. I knew that I wanted a professional photographer to take pictures before the wedding, through the wedding and formals after the wedding, but that was it. I had family and friends who took over the photography from there. I plan to compile all the photographs into a photo book, so I didn't want to be paying for a photo album from a professional photographer. Although I think Dave usually works with a partner, he scaled it down to what we were looking for and included the camera files, as well as retouched jpegs so I could play with the files or just use his when making my photo book. He was early for every appointment, very professional and took great pictures.
Services used: Photography
Circle of Sound
Craig was great, from start to finish. He told us up front that he would happily play anything we wanted, but that some songs will get people dancing better than others and our choices may not be those songs. We worked pretty hard on our song list because it was something that was important to us. He told us that our songs were very danceable and he should be able to stick with it to get people dancing. We gave him a free hand, but asked for him to stay to the list as much as he could, and he mainly did. It was great, and everyone was up and dancing. We had our wedding at the same place as the reception and Craig was very good about doing the music for the service as well. It took us a while to figure out if we were going to have him do it or if we were going to get live musicians. He was perfectly happy to leave that up in the air for a while and then did not charge us anything more to provide music for the service as well. His Web site includes a great list of songs for weddings if you're looking for suggestions. Craig seems like the kind o guy who genuinely enjoys what he does for a living.
Services used: DJ