Ancestral Acres Lodge is a six bedroom historic mansion situated on 450 acres of beautiful nature preserve. Our nearly 5,000 square foot barn was recently renovated to host receptions for up to 335 people. We have three peaceful ponds, a large two-acre flat lawn giving you plenty of options for your ceremony location, as well as beautiful photographs. The home boasts a third floor ballroom with cathedral ceilings for weddings with up to 80 guests.
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1 Reviews for Ancestral Acres Lodge
Recommended by 36% of couples
Ashley · Married on 08/03/2019
Not worth stress, regardless of its beauty!
Sharing a very honest account of our less than pleasant experience with William B. and his wedding venue – Ancestral Acres Lodge & Barn in Bronson.Sent on 09/03/2019
We booked in June of 2018 for our August 2019 wedding – the initial introduction was friendly, informational and welcoming, which is what drew us to reserve the barn for our reception. Before we signed a contract, we had several questions about the pricing and how that would work if we booked the highest tier (301-350) and ended up in the second tier (225-300). We were told that the amount (that had to be paid in full 3 months prior to the event) could be reconciled if we booked higher and ended up in the lower tier. This was false – and we didn’t get any refund for overbooking, given that our headcount was well under 300, more like 240.
In the months after the contract was signed, when we indicated we had no desire to book the lodge, we were harassed by William at all hours inquiring if we were going to book the lodge. We had several guests look into renting rooms, as he continued to have the lodge listed as an AirBnB – each phone call would immediately lead him to call us and ask if we were going to rent this space, again, each time we said no. We told him to rent the rooms to guests individually – but he wasn’t interested.
William continuously confused us with other brides/grooms – in May, he called our coordinator demanding a headcount and table layout, because our wedding was in 3 weeks. Our wedding was always booked for August 3, 2019. In July when I emailed him our table layout, he asked if I would substitute banquets for rounds, since he had them on hand and it would be easier for him this way. As many former brides know, by the month prior to your wedding you have centerpieces purchased, table layouts done and are likely working on your seating charts (If applicable), so swapping tables to make it easier for the venue you’ve paid over $3,000 for is not an option. He was going to have to rent a few more banquet tables to accommodate the layout we put together, which was all included in the originally contract we signed. THREE DAYS before the wedding, he called my (now) husband and I both, to confirm that we only had 175 guests based on the letter he was sent. We never sent him a letter, never discussed anything less than 250, and had no idea where he came up with this information. This letter was from another party, we learned later. His phone call was indicating that he was set for 175 – we became very concerned that 75 guests would be without seating. He assured us after I sent an email to he, the rental company and our coordinator, that he had adjusted the table number and all would be well. But who wants to deal with this three days before your wedding?! No one. In an effort to make peace, he then offered the bar (which we had already had rented) and a hand washing station (we had rented a restroom trailer and had no need for those extra facilities).
The day of the wedding we went to pull in the main drive to make our grand entrance and he stopped us from coming up the main drive and told us to go park all the way at the end of the guest parking – furthest you can get from the reception barn. Appalled by his rudeness, we headed that way but noticed a space in the grass next to other cars, near the pedestrian path – so we parked there. He promptly marched over and proceeded to yell at us for where we parked, as the bride was getting out of the vintage ride, and claimed he had no idea who we were. Now, wouldn’t you think you’d know your bride and groom? Whom you’ve met with a couple of times, but most importantly are in a white dress and vest/tie? Apparently, William either wasn’t aware of traditional attire or he didn’t care. Regardless, our entrance into our own reception was mortifying.
William requests parking attendants for the event – we provided two, but he yelled at them upon their entrance with items from our ceremony, and was already parking cars himself, so they left him alone. They stayed for the entire event. However, William was left parking cars for the duration of the evening, and we heard from several guests that he was rude and condescending. William also withheld part of our deposit for this reason.
When we inquired about getting our entire deposit back, we received a response that we would be getting half of our deposit back for three reasons; failure to have parking attendants, failure to keep glass out of the garbage, and the cleaning up of cigarette butts – as he states this is a non-smoking property, but has no signage around the property to indicate such things to the guests. He was walking around all night and never once said anything to anyone who was smoking. We also took all of the bags we could find that had glass, and took them off property so they wouldn’t be an issue because we knew he requested no glass or liquids be put in the trash.
Summary: Yes, the venue is beautiful but the headaches and stress caused by William Berkman in the months and days leading up to our wedding was unnecessary and an example of poor customer service. We had no issues with any other vendor! He never once apologized for his actions towards us when we arrived, only when I responded to his deposit refund of $250 with all of the problems we had (this list of things), did he ‘apologize for causing a hurdle early in our marriage’ – truthfully, he doesn’t even deserve that much credit.
Brides/Grooms & business owners the like, I would run as far away, as fast as you can, because no amount of beauty is worth working with William. Until he hires someone to manage the place for him, this will not be a thriving business.
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