25 User photos
Haley · Married on 06/29/2018
From our first email, Jean was always kind, helpful and responsive. She guided us to have a successful wedding, but always let us put our own touches on things. The day of the wedding Boatwerks looked beautiful and the staff was so kind. They not only offered unique food and drink options, but accommodated dietary restrictions. We are so happy we chose Boatwerks as our wedding venue.Sent on 07/09/2018
Emily · Married on 05/26/2018
Boatwerks and Jean specifically were wonderful to work with! They helped us make sure that every detail was covered and made our day feel super special. Pricey venue, and definitely some unexpected charges along the way. For example, even though a had cupcakes we still had to pay a cake plating fee and we also had to pay the adult beverage package price for guests who were underage. The view on Lake Macatawa is hard to beat and the staff made us feel like royalty. The staff went out of their way to set up my menus and the greenery in them which was extremely helpful.Sent on 06/12/2018
trisha · Married on 10/01/2016
Boatwerks provided catering for my entire wedding weekend! Rehearsal in their Macatowa room, apps and dinner on site, and the breakfast before everyone left, on site. I would definitely recommend them! The staff they have and the managers running the offsite were absolutely awesome! The food was great as well!Sent on 01/05/2017
Paula · Married on 09/23/2016
The staff was not only friendly, but some of the most helpful men and women who I have encountered. In the world we live in today, many people do not want to go the extra mile, but every person I came in contact with wanted to make sure all of our needs were met. It was very refreshing!Sent on 09/27/2016
Also the ambiance on the courtyard with the fire, lighting, and furniture made for such a classy event. The food was amazing, and many people also complimented the menu.
Alaina · Married on 04/16/2016
We are so happy we chose Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant for our reception site! The wedding coordinators were very prompt with responses during the planning process and did their best to work with my schedule for in person meetings as needed. The wedding day went off with no noticeable glitches (if any) and they had great ideas for how to best utilize the space. The director of wedding services was on site for our whole reception and had many great ideas to throw in the mix during the night, like having our first dances on the outdoor patio overlooking the lake instead of on the indoor dance floor. There are a lot of small things that would have been nice to have included in the price instead of being a la carte items (i.e. patio lighting, outdoor heaters in case of bad weather, etc.), but you'll have that at other reception sites too. My only reasoning for not giving them 5 stars on flexibility was the inability to set up the room any time on the day of our event. It's in the contract that you can't get in until 11 so I knew in advance, but that's not a very convenient time since family is all busy getting ready at that point. I had to trust people I'd never met to set up the room since we couldn't be there, but the staff at Boatwerks helped and it looked beautiful! My only other comment for brides in general is to get any pricing your venue quotes you (even for things you may not want added on) put in your contract because you may want it later and the pricing may have increased by the time you want it. Again, we're very happy with how our night turned out and can't wait to see the photos so we can see how everything looked before we got there!!Sent on 04/27/2016
Mallory Murphy · Married on 10/19/2019
They made our day perfect :)
The staff were amazing! We ran into a few road bumps with construction but the staff was great about making sure that everything ended up perfect!Sent on 10/31/2019
Heidi · Married on 07/08/2017
We had a wonderful wedding reception experience with Boatwerks. Jean, the coordinator, was very personable and addressed any needs or concerns we had through out the whole planning process. The staff were very efficient and helpful the night of the reception, we had a great time!Sent on 07/11/2017
Julie · Married on 10/24/2015
We overall very pleased with having our wedding at Boatwerks. The food was amazing! We experienced some communication problems when they turnover in their even coordinators. The food, venue, and view make it a great venue.Sent on 01/23/2016
Jane · Married on 04/09/2016
We used Boatwerks for our reception only and had a great experience. In particular, we had a luncheon reception with no alcohol, and Boatwerks set up a beautiful lemonade/iced tea stand with special syrups, etc., that was very popular. The new glass banquet room is a great canvas for flowers and decorations. Thank you!Sent on 04/11/2016
User4002944 · 2+ years ago
Overall, we are glad that we picked Boatwerks. Our main complaint was with the service at our reception. The food was served somewhat slowly and the last table to get served were our parents and grandparents. We'd also picked 2 flavors of cake so that guests could choose but a few guests have told me that when they asked for a flavor other than what the server presented them, the response was that they needed to serve everyone else first and if they had extras, they would bring them the alternate flavor instead. That being said, the food was very good and that's what we ultimately wanted. We got many compliments on how much people enjoyed their meals and I was happy with the quality, presentation, and portion size of the food.Sent on 03/30/2014
Shari · Married on 09/04/2016
Let me start by saying that our day was absolute perfection for us (the bride and groom!). The weather, the setting, the people we brought with us for organization, and our guests made our day fantastic. Our food was fantastic but there were some areas that could have been better in the eyes of my parents who paid for the day.Sent on 09/28/2016
We were promised several details that were not followed through on.
-We were told the event room would be ready for us at 11am, and by 12:30pm our florists, baker, and mistress of ceremonies were setting up the room on their own.
-We were promised to have a slip for our boat for a grand exit and my mom was shooing people off on the day of for space
-We were promised that NO boats would be allowed in the backdrop of our ceremony on the patio and moments before the ceremony, a 150' yacht showed up and boatwerks made no attempt to send them away.
-We were promised grey goose vodka with our premium beverage package and on the day of, they were using ketel one.
-Our appetizers were placed inside and they refused to open the large doors until the temperatures cooled and the sun set, our guests (215) had to file through one small door to get inside.
-We were very specific in wanting to avoid lines at the bar and were promised that there would not be based on the number of bartenders we hired. Throughout the evening the bartenders were not present at the bar and the ones who were could not even open a bottle of wine. They also carded (and hand stamped) my 86 & 87 year old grandparents which seemed silly
Overall, it was a lack of organization and communication that led to many of these details being missed. As a bride and groom, we were unaware of these issues the day of, but my parents felt that the money they spent should have been honored with better service and follow through. Don't get me wrong, we wouldn't change our day for anything. My best advice is to ask questions, be very organized, and have good help!
Alex Turnbull · Married on
Our wedding day
Very nice place to have a wedding, great food. Could have used some extra time in the morning for girls getting ready, and also direction after the ceremony, etc. Needed more direction for valet parking. All together had a great time.Sent on 10/16/2019
Maggie · Married on 04/09/2016
We used Boatwerks as our reception location and catering service. They were not the easiest to work with during the planning stages, as there was a lot of miscommunication on their part. Thankfully, our wedding planner was able to help us out a lot when there was an issue. The day of ran quite smoothly: the ballroom was beautiful and set up correctly, and the food was very good, although it could have been served a bit warmer. Apparently there was an issue when several kids moved to another table and my mom was confronted and told the kids meals couldn't be served one table over, but thankfully my wedding planner swooped in and took care of it (seriously, who bothers the mother of the bride on her daughter's wedding day?!). Overall, I'd recommend the venue if you have a wedding planner who can help with the logistics and communication with the Boatwerks team, but if you're looking for a venue that's a bit easier to work with, then I'd look elsewhere.Sent on 04/25/2016
Allison Didominick · Married on 02/17/2019
Beautiful Venue, delicious food-prepare to snubbed, nickeled and dimed by ungracious Event Director.
Sent on 02/17/2019
Let me start by saying, we had a beautiful wedding at Boatwerks. However, we paid a heavy price leading up to our wedding this past fall.
Here are some of the worst struggles that we faced:
Appetizers: We specifically requested to reduce the number of cheese and crab cakes. Jean Ellis refused our request to lower the total amount served from 100 pieces to 75 quantity.
**For over $20,000 you’d think we’d be able to select the appropriate appetizer quantities….not at Boatwerks**
Cocktail Stations Bars: We paid for 3 bars and 3 bartenders. Only two bars were setup and the outside patio bar closed for dinner and never opened back up. (Essentially this bar closed 4 hours early) ** You’d hope you get great service on your wedding….not half staffed bars like at Boatwerks**
Tip Jars: We discussed in great detail with Event Planner, Jean Ellis that the Event bartenders already received both an hourly fee and 20% on service and gratuity on Total Food and Beverage. Based on these facts, we agreed that no additional tip jars were to be placed on the bars.
Jean “forgot” to tell the day of staff and consequently the bartenders were tipped twice (their 20% payout from Boatwerks, hourly rate and the cash they made from our guests)
**Coming from a past work history in the service industry, we are all for tipping on great service! Boatwerks assured us their staff was well taken care of as they provided their staff with 20% gratuity on food and beverage. We don’t appreciate the double-dipping act of Boatwerks especially when we has discussed tipping protocol repeatedly. But again, this is Boatwerks, why would we expect to get what we paid for on our wedding day?**
Catered Luncheon (Bridal Party) (valued at $288)-this luncheon was described as being able to feed 20 people the day of the wedding. Instead we received platters of cheese and veggies/lunch wraps cut into 20 pieces. In fact, we had to send someone out to get lunch for our wedding parties as the food was only a fraction of what was promised.
**We would have gladly ordered lunch from a different venue to ensure everyone was well fed as we we prepared for a late 5pm wedding. Boatwerks assured us the food was substantial and it was not. **Again, overpromised and under-delivered**
Patio Section (Closed early)-Part of the main draw of the Boatwerks venue is the location on the water and the outside patio reception area that offsets the ball room which is floor to ceiling windows. We loved the idea of having guests easily travel indoors and outdoors to enjoy the weather, sunset and cocktails and games on the patio. Instead our guests were only able to enjoy the outside patio until dinner. The patio doors were officially closed for dinner and never opened back up. Many of our guests attempted to to open the doors to gain access to the outside and were denied by Boatwerks employees. My husband, best man and his father were specifically denied. Boatwerks told us that it was “bad weather and a storm was coming. However, we have multiple pictures and videos that night of the great warm weather, the sunset and beautiful sky.
**Ultimately we were able to ignore the staff and access parts of the outside but many guests didn’t venture back outside as they were told “No” from the staff. The patio on the water was one of the best attractions of the Boatwerks Venue. Without the full use of this area it drops the value of the event space significantly**
Thank you for reading all of these details. Our goal is to provide an honest and transparent picture for brides and grooms seeking the “real facts” behind a venue. This review is meant to give pause to anyone that considers working with Jean Ellis, Event Coordinator at Boatwerks, From the moment we signed our contract, she was rude and difficult to work with. As many of you know, planning a wedding is stressful enough and Jean only added to that stress.
It was a shame because the actual serving staff, bartenders and chefs at Boatwerks were very friendly and were great at their jobs. The ballroom venue and the patio were beautiful and our guests were very impressed with the aesthetics of the space. We were able to enjoy our night despite these setbacks but wanted to urge others to be aware of the treatment that we received so that they can make a more informed decision. If I were to do it all over again, I would only pick Boatwerks if a new customer-centric Event Planner were running operations ensuring our issues were not repeated. With Jean Ellis in place, I have no confidence in that.