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Stones and Flowers is an absolute beautiful venue. The redwoods and the barn are stunning. All of our friends raved about the setting. We live across the country and our out of town guests were amazed. There were some downsides to the venue. You have to pre-pay for the onsite cabins and we had to subsidize the cost because they were very expensive for what they were. They are also mostly twin beds, which didn't work well for our wedding party. There are some rules that seem a little rigid. However, Michael (onsite coordinator) was wonderful to work with. I found Patricia more responsive than other brides that reviewed the venue. Despite the downsides, I would do all over again. It was a magical day!
My niece was married here last Saturday, and as an auntie, I was very involved in the preparations on site at Stones and Flowers.
NEVER have your wedding here. The venue is gorgeous, but working with Michael, the wedding liaison guy there, was a nightmare. He was always lurking around the site, from the moment we rolled in, to the actual wedding itself, to the morning after. This guy is a total noodge....he hovers over all the preparations, advising, admonishing and repeating himself over and over. He completely spoiled the joy of arranging the flowers and setting the tables and blowing up the balloons and all the other fun things.
During the reception, he prowled around the reception, wearing jeans (really, you can't afford a pair of dockers for a wedding????) and taking sound measurements of the music. He was a total derfbo and spoiled the whole wedding for all of us working on it.
His first comment to our point person was, "there will be points of friction between us, but let's take care to keep the mother of the bride and the bride out of it". Really, that is how you start your relationship out????
I held my wedding at Stones and Flowers. The surroundings are truly lovely. The beauty of the redwoods and the ethereal historic barn will fill your photographs with grace.
If you are thinking of renting the cabins on the Stones and Flowers property, expect this process to be stressful and expensive. You must pay for the cabins up front. The venue is not responsible for allocating cabins or for collecting payment. You will have to allocate cabins, remind your guests to pay, and do the accounting. When Aunt Agatha falls ill three days before the wedding and does not come, you will have to pay the cost of her unused room.
Negotiating and assigning cabins is stressful and time consuming, but this project brings its own reward. In contrast, several aspects to holding my wedding at Stones and Flowers were wholly negative. As far as I am concerned, paying a large sum in cash more than a year in advance entitles me to a helpful response to reasonable requests. I did not, in general, receive a helpful response to questions or requests.
My contract stated that amplified music was allowed until 11 PM. The week before the wedding, Patricia emailed me and said that amplified music was now required to be turned off at 10 PM. I had already paid my DJ in full and was unable to modify his contract. I wrote back and pointed out the pertinent clause in my contract. Nonetheless, at 10 PM on my wedding night Michael Stus asked the DJ to turn the music down.
I married in the middle of summer in a drought year in California. I did not expect flowers. When I lived in Santa Cruz I grew succulents, which nourish themselves by collecting fog and need no additional water. However, at Stones and Flower someone had stuck rows of plastic tulips into the ground outside the barn. I can’t believe a venue that charges the purchase price of a new car to host a wedding thinks pink plastic tulips are a good idea.
We used Stones and Flowers for our March 2014 wedding. It took a while to make our initial appointment with Patricia (at least 2-3 weeks due to her unresponsiveness), but when we saw it, it took our breath away. After we visited, we just couldn't imagine our wedding anywhere else. During our initial visit, Michael was positive, relaxed, and very helpful. His clear passion for the property was a big part of the reason we were excited to host our celebration there. He told us that if we rented all the cabins on-site, we had basically "free rein" over the property for the weekend. He said we would have use of the Hidden Falls parking lot, could host a welcome reception/rehearsal dinner the Friday before, and that after our DJ left at 10pm, our guests could plug in an ipod and keep the party going as long as the noise level stayed reasonable.
The actual execution of our event was much different, including hidden fees and a lurking groundskeeper. Days before our event, fees just kept popping up, including fees "per person" for our rehearsal dinner, additional "per night" fees for certain cabins, and fees for the parking lot we were told we could use. Michael lurked around every aspect of our event, patrolling the grounds in a sweatshirt and jeans from the minute our family began arriving Friday afternoon, to the moment he kicked all of our friends out of the barn at 10pm following our reception, adamantly telling our guests that "the party was over." We booked off-season and still found the prices to be on the high end, especially when the surprise, last-minute fees were taken into account.
On the flipside, the day of our wedding it POURED rain, and Michael worked the entire day with a lot of our guests to move things around and make sure the wedding went off without a hitch. I do think the team here means well, but we did not feel we got what was promised, and they were very challenging to work with. Book with extreme caution and get EVERYTHING in writing.
Though this venue is breath-taking, it was extremely difficult to work with due to lack of professionalism. I never even received an invoice (which we paid for the total venue cost up front) that I asked for many times.
The costs add up quickly (there's no parking for guests unless you rent additional cabins which are WAY overpriced); the lack of service and help really makes planning a wedding a challenging. They don't recommend vendors or advice unless you pay an additional fee for help.
I couldn't believe how long it took to get responses from the venue wedding coordinator, whom I never even met or spoke to on the phone. She was very difficult to reach, and she would not meet with me in person to go over the contract…which was a nightmare. It wasn't until a couple of weeks before the wedding that she began to be more friendly and more responsive via email.
If you are extremely organized, detailed, have lots of time on your hands, you can make SFR work without AS much stress and headaches that already accompanies wedding planning. Otherwise, either spend the $$$ on a very professional planner/coordinator or wait until this venue gets their act together.
I do have to cut them some slack since they are still new in the game as a wedding venue and the property manager was really nice…but still if you offering a service then try to be more professional.
Agree with the previous review. Patricia needs to up her game.
Communication started off well, when we went to look at the venue. Originally, we had Patricia's phone number. A couple of months later, her number was no longer in service and we were confined to only e-mails. She would exchange e-mails with me very frequently when we were hashing out the contract; then, once I sent in the check, it would take her 3-4 weeks to get back to an e-mail. She would make a ton of excuses when I'd follow up with e-mails and it was pretty obvious that she didn't care as much about couples that have already booked the venue compared to booking tours for potential weddings.
The dumbest part was when we were scheduled to come to the venue to do a walk-through with Michael (site coordinator), as it is explicitly stated that we have two hours of Q&A time with him before our wedding. When we went to schedule an appointment, Patricia made it extremely difficult, saying that Michael had tour appointments all week long, and if we wanted to come to the property, we could just do so but Michael would be touring. When we finally DID make an appointment with Michael, she cancelled at 11PM the night before, because the fire department was doing a surprise fire inspection that day. Fire inspection=not her fault. Cancelling @ 11PM=totally her fault. 3 people had to move work schedules just for this and she cancelled last minute.
Our coordinator then told Patricia a meeting wasn't necessary if she could just speak with Michael on the phone. Patricia refused to give out Michael's phone number...
In the end, we had our meeting with Michael and our wedding day went smoothly. The property is absolutely gorgeous, but kind of a hassle to get to. I highly recommend NOT booking the Hidden Falls parking lot because it's an absolute waste of money. Hire Michael, he's worth it. Unless she gets her act together, you're stuck with Patricia and her crappy professionalism/responsiveness.
If I could, I'd split this review into two pieces. The venue is GORGEOUS. Our wedding went off without a hitch the day of thanks to the amazing site manager Michael. Our wedding day (both ceremony and reception) was absolutely everything we dreamed of when we decided to get married at Stones and Flowers.
HOWEVER, the communication and responsiveness of the owner, Patrica, was atrocious. We never met her -- everything was done through email. There was a point when I didn't hear from her for a month (and we were only engaged for six months). She had no contact phone number because she wanted to do everything through email. Which was nearly impossible when she wouldn't respond. Her records were not kept well, which lead to a panic about parking three days before the wedding.
SO, if you want a gorgeous venue and don't mind fighting for it every step of the way, Stones and Flowers might work for you. But if you expect a responsive, helpful venue, you'll want to look somewhere else.
I completely agree with everything said before about this venue & the owners. Despite the lack of communication and hidden fees that kept popping up, Patricia did eventually respond to emails and was thorough in her answers. She was also true to her word when we reminded her of the original costs she had told us before signing the contract, and she did not make us pay these fees that kept popping up (i.e. for the Hidden Falls parking lot)--- I think we booked this place before it started getting super popular and before they got crazy busy, and they were a lot more flexible to start with. Definitely there is a HUGE lack of organization and they are super hard to get ahold of (i.e. don't respond for weeks at a time).
And forget trying to get any response after you've had your wedding there---I emailed Patricia three times about a lost piece of family jewelry and an incident that happened during our wedding-- one of the cabins flooding out--- that Patricia's husband Mark promised my husband some sort of reimbursement for, but of course no response at all.
With all that being said, our wedding weekend was absolutely magical for all our of family and friends, and we are really glad that we had it there. The location is beautiful and our wedding was really a "DIY" adventure-- so if that's for you, then definitely do consider this venue. As said in other reviews as well, Michael was a TREMENDOUS help during our wedding weekend on site at Stones & Flowers and 5+ stars would be given to his professionalism and work ethic. Perhaps after all of these reviews, maybe they will hire additional administrative help so that they can be a more organized and efficient business. My advice if you are interested in this venue is to make sure everything is down in writing from the get-go--- be up front about all costs that might incur and if something suddenly pops up after you've signed the contract, be up front about that as well.