Town & Country
I would NOT reccommend this company to anyone and I feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with them. I'm sure there have been positive outcomes with this company however my experience with them was just the opposite.
It's hard to think of where exactly to begin. Over a year ago, when my fiance and I were looking for catering vendors I came across this one and went with my mother because they insisted we come in at there location in Pasadena (Celebrations). They would by no means give a quote or any price information over the phone or internet. So, my mother and I made an appointment and met with Rob. It was about a 2 hour meeting we went through all the possiblities and this linen and you can have a choice of anything you want on the menu...and he said very specifically, that this company over all the other companies out there was "family and love." That they put love into all they do...ah hem. They offered us fancy bottled waters with their company logos and offered us a drink and gave us their special lobster bisque in a cocktail glass. Sat us down at a table and went on and on- I really don't even remember what he was saying because he was talking so much. (And I know I'm doing alot of that as well, but I want to make sure I give as much detail of the experience as possible.)
After the two hours and finially getting to what I came there in the first place for was the cost. So he came up with a bill for me as $22k which included the catering for approx. 100 people at Celebrations. Basically your paying $10k to see water with Curtis Bay in the backround (not a pretty site). Not including the actual wedding ceremony- the whole point of getting married because I was set on having it at a church- traditionally.
I looked at my mother and she looked at me. Well for one thing, my fiance and I were paying for our own wedding- there was no way- even if I had that much available for my wedding I would ever spend it at that location- that's what my new 2010 car cost...that's close to a down payment on a house.
Okay getting back to the story. Obviously, we did not go with this vendor. My fiance and I found a vendor called Town and Country Caterers in Landsdowne. There we met Rita. Again I took my mother as well to have a second opinion. This location was found online and they were known for not adding in the gratituty...letting the customer decide what it should be or whether to give it- that's the point of a tip right? Good service= Good Tip. If it's already added into the price that's blowing the entire idea of the company working for it. So Town and Country had more reasonable prices and had what we were looking for- an indoor facility that's not in shambles, reasonable 'package' prices and friendly attitude. So we went with them.
We signed our contract with Rita and put a deposit down. As our date got closer, we found out that the company had been sold. Rita didn't say who, but she said we would have all the things we signed for at a cheaper rate than the company already offers. We were looking at the linens and they looked exactly the same as the special linens at Celebrations (Uptown). I asked Rita if it was Uptown Catering and she said yes, she was wondering how I knew. I told her I went there already a while back and that their prices were way to high and they weren't offering us what we were looking for.
Rita confirmed that they would honor our contract. Well they didn't. About 2 months before our wedding I called the company directly after leaving messages from numerous calls to Town and Country Caterers. I called Uptown Caterers. **This is the beginning on the lack of professionalism- aren't they suppost to be organized to where they call the customer to schedule and setup tastings/planning meetings?**
I spoke to a secretary who spoke to another person and then they left a message and would call me back because they were in a meeting? -That's basically what it sounded like.
Patiently, I waited, they called and told me I needed to e-mail the planning e-mail address. So I did. Never got an answer. I called back a week later and told them I hadn't got an answer so then the girl gives me another e-mail to try and apologizes for no response in a week. So I go and e-mail this person directly. Within 3 days I received an e-mail from Jeff.
This is where it begins to get fuzzy because of the numerous e-mails and calls I was making. We ended up making a planning appointment with Jeff 6 weeks before our wedding date. Fiance and I both took a day off work because we live on the Eastern Shore...and they only have tastings at their location in Beltsville- how convenient. At the tasting, the entire time, Jeff tried to get us to change our planned buffet service to a seated service. Through the food tastings, we were shown choices of food that we could not even get in our buffet that was already planned and set in our mind. At the end of the meeting I verified some of our contract information. The time- 5 hours- the 'wedding package #3' specificially was a 5 hour event. I brought it up to Jeff at the table, and he said he had to check- so he goes back into a room then comes out saying "no, we can only do 4 hours." At that point I was frazzled. I was shocked that we were just getting this information 6 weeks before our event- invitations were already sent- other vendors were confirmed on the 5 hour time frame and Uptown Caterers was telling me something completely different than what we signed up for in the very beginning.
Not to mention the changes in our menu choice. But Uptown Caterers said the quality of there's was much better apparently. At this point, I went home and thought maybe they aren't honoring our prices either- I was so shocked with the time change I couldn't even remember to verify that when we were there.
After several more calls, e-mails, lack of communication between customer and vendor and vendor employee to employee- excuses saying that e-mail was down, etc.- they gave me lots of excuses and apologizes that were worth nothing because they meant nothing. After all this I got an e-mail saying they adjusted the time back to our original time. (Me thinking- Great! You gave us the 5 hours we already signed for- a part of why 'package #3' cost more- great- your doing your job)
Finially getting our planning webpage up- then seeing they were charging the gratituity- over $1000...on our bill. This was the next big thing. Our contract said, no gratituity unless the customer is happy wih service. Well I'll have you know I didn't agrue with this one- because I knew we would give them some gratituity- we really shouldn't have given them anything- we should have received a discount at the expense of the emotional stress they caused.
I mean at one point I was calling in to Uptown Caterers and they were adding additions to my guest list then I would go into my planning site and find that the guest list doubled because another employee somewhere along the line didn't get the notice from the first employee who already adjusted it. Lack of communication- unbelieveable.
We mailed our payment in Thursday before the 14 days so it would have plenty of time to arrive. I mailed the DJ's payment the same day- it went all the way North to Bel Air and they had received it and it was already back at my bank on my statement on Saturday. Well Uptown Caterers lost ours...that's the only time they started calling me. It was being mailed straight from my house to a P.O. box. It was a week later...Thursday the next week...they didn't have our payment and I pretty much went nuts at this point. By 4pm that day they had found it well, in their words...it came in the mail. (Thinking- yeah it came in the mail almost a week ago and it's been sitting there. Thanks.)
Another moment came when we had added extra guests on to our list after I sent in the payment (which on their site says you can add guests until 3 days prior- and it was about a week before). I called up trying to figure out how they wanted me to pay this addition. On their website it states that other arrangements can be made for making payments. So I'm over the Eastern Shore...I call in and speak to a girl. Well I wasn't going to mail this because of what happened with the first payment...and I knew that was out of the question anyway. I asked first if I could drop it off at their Pasadena location...No, they have events going on was the excuse. I asked secondly if I could drop it off at our reception facility the Wednesday before the event- because that's when I was dropping off my placecards, table numbers, centerpieces etc...No, that's too late. Okay...so then I ask what she wants me to do to get the payment to them. The girl was not pleasant. She said, all payments have to be made at their location in Beltsville. My mind starting racing because the whole point that this was late was because they first lost our original payment and then found it the same day and I was waiting to find out the additional bill amount because they hadn't added it into our billing page online. I mentioned after this that it's late because they couldn't find the first payment then I just broke down on the phone and started crying- I couldn't even talk at this point I was so upset with them.
So the next day, I changed my entire morning and drove 2 hours (from the Eastern Shore to Beltsville) to hand deliver this cash payment (they would not accept a check). I didn't say anything. I gave the payment got the receipt, saw Jeff in the back doing the same shin-dig with another couple. And then I left.
Then on our wedding day. I was very apprehensive about the entire reception because of the poor attitudes, lack of communication, lack of organization, lack of flexibilty, lack of professionalism. The food was good, but not up to the standards that the company goes by. And they added almonds to the green beans- my dad is highly allergic. The menu does not say almonds on top- and we weren't offered this at the tasting- so how was I to know? I was quite upset with that. And all the kids did not get kids meals- what was the whole point with that? At the end of the reception Rita directly told me that we should not have paid the gratituity because it wasn't on our contract to. I just told her I was done. Just done.
Other points to make about the setup of the reception room. I dropped off all the stuff on Wed. and the next event was mine. I found out they were setting up about 2 hours before and were expecting to find out information from my mom who dropped by that morning on how to set things up. I explained everything in detail when I dropped it off as well as had a list explaining what was there and where it goes. At least it all was set up when the time came but it shows a lack of organization if your questioning someone the day of.
The entire experience was extremely overwhelming and stressful with this company- they created the stress for me...and I was paying them to take on all of this. All in all the day turned out okay however I got that bad taste in my mouth from the company a while back and didn't get rid of it so I have to say I really didn't enjoy my day as much as I would have if all of this hadn't happened.
It was a bad decision that I made but I didn't know they would sell the company. I really wish that they had made us aware of what was happening and let us know who we should contact, etc. And if the company really didn't want to honor things, I wish they had just given us our deposit back a 10-11 months before when the company switched over. It was very poor quality and for them to say they are family and they include love in their receipts or whatever.- yeah.
I would NOT recommend this company to anyone. "Town & Country Caterers" is now run by "Catering By Uptown". We had our contract with the previous owners who went out of business. Uptown took over and we had no idea. We had several discounts that the previous company advised they would give us and the owner (Suzanne) of Catering by Uptown said, "I don't care, we are not honoring that contract". She didn't tell me this until about 6 weeks or so prior to the event. We were given a few of the discounts that were promised but not all. That was not acceptable to us. We felt our contract should have been honored as written and if not, they should have told us months prior that they were not honoring it so we could go elsewhere. As for the day of the wedding, the place was decorated nicely. Eileen, the coordinator, was fine. The food was so-so with the meat items cold and dry. I would not recommend this place to anyone.
Our wedding was made even more special by the staff at Town and Country Ms. Eileen could not have been more nice and helpful. The rooms were decorated perfect. Everything looked amazing, I wish we could do it again so I could relive one of the most special days of my life and that was made much less stressfull thanks to many people including the staff at Town and Country I would recommend them for any occasion.