7 User photos
Alex · Married on 05/26/2019
Good food, reasonably priced
We had a good experience working with Kelli and GBH for our wedding. We decided to go with GBH because we were having our wedding at Meadowlark and brining in an outside caterer cost too much money and was more of a hassle. The food, especially the appetizers, was tasty--we actually thought the day of food was better than the tasting. They were willing to work with us to get different beer and wine to serve at the wedding. Although there isn't too much flexibility beyond their set menu and options, they do provide a lot of options to start pick from.Sent on 07/14/2019
C&C · Married on 05/25/2018
We worked with Liz from Great Blue Heron throughout the planning process, and she was very responsive and organized as she helped us plan food and beverages for our day! We enjoyed the tasting experience through Great Blue Heron, which allowed us to sample numerous appetizers and entrees. Since there wasn't a fish option that we absolutely loved, my father and the chef discussed a recipe and created one together, which was very accommodating. My one complaint is that on our wedding day the fish entree tasted different from the one I had tried following the tasting, so I was disappointed that my meal wasn't as delicious as what I had previously tasted. My parents also did not enjoy the fish but others raved about it, so we were happy that our guests enjoyed it. Other than that, the appetizers and other entrees were delicious on our wedding day and the catering staff members were so friendly, accommodating, and went above and beyond to make sure we had a fantastic wedding day!Sent on 06/04/2018
Alana · Married on 04/21/2018
GBH was the caterer that was connected with the venue we chose (The Atrium at Meadowlark). Carson and Jason were both great to work with and were fairly responsive to our emails and calls. There were a couple emails that I had to send a couple of times, but overall I didn't really have any major problems communicating with them. They offer a complementary tasting which was very comprehensive and absolutely fantastic! They will let you bring up to a total of 6 people and we all left full, happy and with lots of leftovers. The food at the wedding was overall really great, but the salmon that we all absolutely loved at the tasting was not quite at the same level, however it was still quite good. All the servers, bartenders and staff did a fantastic job and overall I would definitely recommend GBH!Sent on 05/04/2018
Karen · Married on 04/22/2017
We selected GBH as the caterer for our venue, Rust Manor - both of which are owned and operated by NOVA Parks. Although you can use an outside caterer, you have to pay an additional fee and are still required to use GBH for all alcohol. It was actually really great using GBH because they coordinated extremely well with Rust, took care of our linen rentals, and knew all the ins and outs of the property. Table-side wine service, champagne toast, signature drink, and cake cutting all included! The service was excellent on our wedding day and everyone loved the food - it actually tasted even better than it did at the tasting! There was a server assigned to us specifically (Kate, I believe) and she was terrific, tracking me down to make sure I got enough food and drink during the cocktail hour. Our catering captain, Ashley, was attentive and organized, asking us how we’d like to time the courses (we did the plated option), how we wanted our beef filet prepared, etc. We felt in good hands and all the servers and bartenders were professional and friendly. At the end of the night, the servers came up and thanked me personally for the tip I left for the team and also packed us up the leftovers. During the planning process, we worked with the catering coordinator, Liz, via email. She was super responsive to my questions and requests and was able to make several last minute changes (e.g. working out the logistics on our coffee bar, making adjustments to our alcohol list, etc.). Overall, we were very happy we selected GBH. Everything went smoothly and the coordination with our venue was terrific - definitely a benefit of going with an in-house caterer! My only critique is that coffee/tea table service with fine china is not included and I thought it was actually quite expensive to add it. Luckily, you can get around this by having coffee available at the bar or setting up a self-serve coffee table free of charge, albeit with paper cups.Sent on 05/20/2017
Madeleine · Married on 09/10/2016
Great Blue Heron provided us with delicious food for our reception. That's really the most important thing but they also had friendly and capable staff on site the day of. They were extremely accommodating throughout the planning process and willing to change their set menus to meet our needs and tastes (including children's meals, gluten-free folks, etc). We wanted shrimp and grits to highlight our Southern roots and their head chef came up with an awesome happy hour concept. We also deviated a bit on our signature cocktail choice and he was completely flexible. They were detailed oriented from the very beginning with our tasting on down to the day of our wedding. It was also incredibly convenient that Great Blue Heron has a relationship with our venue (Rust Manor, as well as Meadowlark and one other) so they were in constant contact about linens, sizes, timing, and all the nitty-gritty details that could feasible fall through the cracks with a less professional caterer. Completely recommend!Sent on 11/03/2016
John · Married on 09/28/2013
Overall, working with GBH was an awesome experience and we highly recommend them. We came to them with a constrained budget, and they worked with us every step of the way, suggesting modifications that would allow us to stay on budget. They were especially good about allowing substitutions with minimal fuss (on the beer list, for example), and gave us a signature cocktail free of charge.Sent on 01/20/2014
We worked with Liz and Dennis ahead of time and Bianca on the day of, and all of them were great. The only issue on that front was that, when Liz was out of the office, someone else told us we could pay with a check when it was actually too late to do so. This led to us being on the phone the day before the event getting a credit card to go through. We understand that they have their procedures, but it was frustrating to have to jump through hoops right before the event because of a mistake on the part of their staff.
The only frustration with the food itself was with our entree on the day of. We had a dual-plated entree, and the chicken stuffed with cherries, bacon and feta was amazing. But the miso-glazed salmon, which had been astoundingly delicious at our tasting, was cold and dry, for us and some other people at our table. We totally understand that a tasting is different than making 200 versions of the meal, but we were hoping that the bride and groom's dinner at least would not be cold.
Those caveats aside, everything else was exceptional: the tasting and contract process, all of our other food, the bars (which were a big hit), and anything we asked for on the day of. Despite the hitches mentioned above, we'd recommend them without hesitation.
Brian · Married on 10/25/2014
Let me start by saying the food at our wedding was incredible and our guests thoroughly enjoyed everything they ate. Dennis, the head chef and owner of GBH is awesome. I highly recommend that you ask to meet him during your tasting and that you try to communicate with him as much as possible. He is beyond accommodating and so willing to cater his recipes to the tastes and wishes of his clients. I have never met or worked with a more humble and gracious chef than Dennis. The business manager for GBH, Liz, is harder to deal with. Liz often didn't follow through on promises that Dennis made to us and we had to be very on top of our contract to ensure that we received everything we asked for. In the end, we were very happy with the service and food at our wedding. If you are working at one of GBH's primary venues (like Rust), you can't beat the value GBH provides. You will definitely be happy with GBH, just be sure to stay on top of your contract and be sure to confirm your choices with Dennis before speaking to Liz.Sent on 12/15/2014
User3230445 · 2+ years ago
Great Blue Heron produced amazing food and drinks for our reception. The head chef, the bartenders and Christian were amazing to work with.Sent on 08/11/2014
User2821282 · 2+ years ago
Absolutely wonderful food. The cocktail hour was way more than we had thought it would be. The way they set everything up was fantastic. They were extremely difficult to get a hold of to answer questions by phone or by email. email was much better but it irked me that I had a pileup of questions from trying to get a hold of them and I would send an email and get 4/5 answered. The day of everything went by without a problem and was absolutely fantastic. I'm very glad we went with the in house caterers at Meadowlark.Sent on 02/05/2014
User3569531 · 2+ years ago
Liz and Dennis at GBH Catering were a pleasure to work with throughout the wedding planning process. Liz answered all of my spoken and written questions (and there were a lot!). They took time out of their busy day to meet one-on-one with us to discuss menu options that fit our budget. They were very easy to work with and flexible, allowing us to afford all of the drinks, appetizers and dinner. They were very generous at the tasting, as well. We tasted tons of appetizers and main courses, and they allowed us to take home the leftovers. The catering captain provided snacks for my bridesmaids and me while getting ready. There were a few negatives that happened on my actual wedding day, however. I had written an email asking if we could taste our signature drink in the bridal room between the ceremony and reception, but this never happened (though we did try the appetizers). The plated salads were already put out on the tables before the reception even started and one of our guests actually came into the bridal room to ask us if he could eat his salad. We had to say no. I originally thought the salads would be served right before dinner. No one had informed me of this, and it made it very awkward since there was a blessing to be said beforehand. I had also sent them a timeline of events. Although our wedding didn't run exactly on time, I would have expected the staff to know that the speeches were happening and those doing the toasts would need champagne in their glasses. Our Best Man went up with an empty glass. My family member had to inform them that our guests didn't have a drink to toast with. By the time dinner came, no one was coming by the tables to pour wine for our guests. Again, another family member had to inform them and they completed this about halfway into dinner. This review is intended to help GBH Catering improve their services, not to complain. I'm very happy that I decided to use their services. The food was delicious and my guests raved about it.Sent on 10/01/2013
Christie · Married on 07/16/2011
We used Great Blue Heron, the in-house caterer for Algonkian Regional Park and Meadlowlark, for our wedding, and they did a great job making sure that we had everything we wanted for our reception. They put together a delicious menu (all of our guests raved about the food!), and did a great job making sure the reception ran smoothly. We did an initial tasting with them and were very impressed by the quality of the food as well as their level of professionalism. After putting together a contract, we met with them a few more times prior to the wedding to get all of our questions answered, and to plan out our wedding day. Both Liz and Alissa were great about accommodating all of our needs, and even giving us more than what we asked for! They were happy to provide us with certain foods, displays, and even a signature drink (which was a HUGE hit!)Sent on 07/21/2011
On the day of the wedding, the team was there all day preparing food and setting up. Everything looked beautiful and exactly how we wanted. The servers, and especially the bar tenders, were awesome and were great with our guests the whole night. The head server was also sure to attend to my husband and I first, to make sure we had everything we needed. The food and drinks were great, and all of our guests were very happy.
The only small issue was that the point man for the event was someone who we had never met before, when we were told it would be someone that we HAD met. He was not very familiar with our venue, and a few things were a little shakier because of that. It all worked out fine, but things could have been a bit smoother with someone more familiar with Algonkian.
Overall, GBH did a very nice job- the food was outstanding, the service was great, and the reception was a huge success! If you are using a venue where they cater, do not hesitate to use them as your caterer!
Chalinee · Married on 06/04/2016
GBH was the caterer and alcohol provider at our wedding based on their contract with Fairfax County Parks. For the most part, we were pleased. The tasting was easy to set up and the responses were relatively prompt. They were great at accommodating a particular beer choice and signature drink for us. Food at the wedding wasn't as good as at the tasting but I guess that's to be expected when you're cooking in bulk. Staff was friendly and professional and packed up leftovers for us which was a nice surprise. One attendee thought they were pretty quick to throw out wedding cake that had been placed on the tables but all in all, GBH was fine, especially for the value and convenience.Sent on 12/09/2016
Kristin · Married on 09/19/2015
You can't beat them on quality and price! Dennis was phenomenal as he walked us through our tasting and helped us create a custom menu that our guests loved. Favorites: bacon-wrapped scallop appetizer, Israeli couscous side and meatball sliders for late-night snack! Also, the ability to reserve linens through the catering service was great-big time-saver.Sent on 09/26/2015
User4167638 · 2+ years ago
We used Blue Heron because they were the in house caterer for our venue. We told them how much we wanted to spend per person and that we wanted sugar-cured bacon as an apetizer and they crafted a delicious menu for us. They also handled some food allergy issues well and coordinated our linen rentals for us. Overall, they provided a phenomenal wedding feast. I gave a 3/5 for Responsiveness because there were several times when we reached out for a quote or with a question and needed to ask again due to lack of response, but once the connection was made they got everything right.Sent on 06/11/2014
User5508051 · 2+ years ago
Great Blue Heron Catering catered our Meadowlark Botanical Garden wedding, and let me tell you: They have this down pat. They'll take great care of you. They pretty much nailed it, and took care of so many little things we had no interest in dealing with like taking care of the linens, providing rental cake cutting utensils, our champagne glasses, etc. I'm taking a half a star off for the not-met-expectations catering captain: I had expectations that he would come introduce himself to me and my groom and pretty much ask us what we wanted/needed all night long, but I only saw him when he passed us champagne glasses during the toasts and gave us instructions on how to cut the cake (which was clutch, I must say). But I must say, we got MANY compliments on the food and drink. We picked out a simple cider cocktail, but they rimmed the cocktail glasses with cinnamon and sugar, which was totally unexpected and appreciated. They put appetizers and champagne in our private room for us to munch on right after the ceremony. The actual catering staff were extremely professional and nice to all our guests, and then one complimented us on our wedding and my dress at the end of the night, which just warmed my heart. I wouldn't recommend getting an outside caterer--you would lose so many of those little touches!Sent on 11/28/2015
Vanessa · Married on 08/22/2015
We got married at The Atrium at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and Great Blue Heron was their in house caterer. Brian, the chief chef, was extremely helpful in planning the hors d'oeuvres and entrees, the "tasting" was a feast! He even allowed us to provide special home-made hors d'oeuvre that only my mother can make to my satisfaction. In sum, based on the innumerable compliments from our guests that we received, the hors d'oeuvres and entrees were exceptional. But there is any room for improvement in the service. Whereas Brian was very helpful, friendly and flexible, other staff members (Liz) was less congenial, rigid and, at one point, rude! Christian, the "captain" was on point all during the reception and could not have been more helpful and attentive. He personally assisted the musicians, DJ, florist, etc., and did whatever needed to be done. Even so, there a few minor glitches in the service, e.g., hors d'oeuvres and drinks were not available to bridal party in Lilac room before or after wedding ceremony; champagne was not available at all tables before the toasts; the bubbles, glow sticks, and accessories were not distributed in a timely manner; the top layer of the cake was badly packaged; the figurines were left on cake, instead of being placed in the boxes we provided, and they were haphazardly taped together; and the remainder of wedding cake was not saved. Although, not perfectly executed, the overall service was adequate and did not significantly mar an otherwise wonderful evening.Sent on 11/10/2015
Grace · Married on 04/22/2012
We loved GBH and so did our guests. If you're having your wedding at the Atrium, you would be foolish to go elsewhere. By having GBH cater, your wedding will be that much easier to plan. My husband and I visited the Atrium about 3 times before our wedding while they were setting up for other weddings. We would get there around noon or 1 pm and since GBH was catering, the room would be mostly set up. (If you have an outside caterer, the rental hours are very strict.)Sent on 05/04/2012
The value for the meal we got (a combo surf-n-turf) was excellent and unbeatable. Dennis is the man. We worked with him for them to get us bottled drinks (old-fashioned Coca cola bottles) for our cocktail hour and we had a lemonade/ice tea mason jar stand. We also personally requested an appetizer not normally on their menu and they made it for us (and the guests loooooved it). Our guests said things like "best wedding dinner in recent memory" about the food. A critical guest stated that the meat was cooked to perfection. And everyone loved the appetizers during cocktail hour. (And since I'm in medicine, nobody got sick!!--which was a personal irrational fear of mine).
Another little nice thing was that as soon as my husband and I arrived at the Atrium, the Atrium coordinator right away got us and the bridal party a plate of appetizers so we had something to eat before portraits and intros.
A couple things didn't go perfectly. Our final seating chart was missed (or misunderstood, I'm not really sure) but they had set up an entire extra table and also set up the tables by the typical 10 or 12 seat instead of actually looking at the seating chart I had created for them and only set up place settings for the number of actual people sitting there. This made some of our tables look empty (looks bad!). More importantly, it created some anxiety for the chef at one point because he saw that there were 170 settings placed and the actual head count we gave them was 156 (so he kinda freaked out that he didn't have enough food). I assured them to go with the actual head count since someone clearly dropped the ball on that one.
I scored them a little lower on professionalism because I didn't really feel like I could trust them or was assured by them until we got to the month-before walkthru. Liz can't make decisions without her boss so it was a bit frustrating having to ask her about stuff and get stressed out with her answers only to be later consoled and assured by Dennis. And as I said in my review about the Atrium, this catering company really should think about having their own linens so that people don't have to either rent or buy their own for their wedding. That being said, Dennis gave us some credit because we complained about that. AND another good thing is there's no cake-cutting fee (unlike other caterers).
All in all, VERY VERY happy with Great Blue Heron. Would highly highly recommend them. Be assured that they'll come through on your wedding day even though they'll make you doubt that sometimes during the planning process.
A tip for GBH---work on presentation during the tasting. A huge tray with tons of meats and seafood is sort of disgusting. Put each dish on a separate plate!!!
William · Married on 12/16/2018
GBH our wedding caterer
They did an outstanding job working with us,l to accommodate our small wedding. We chose a buffet set up, and the food and food choices were excellent The staff was responsive, and professional. Was a pleasure working with them and the amazing staff at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.Sent on 02/10/2019
User4045348 · 2+ years ago
Great Blue Heron provided delicious food at a very affordable price. The selection was fantastic, the chef was fabulous, and everyone was so accommodating as we adjusted our menu. There was room for growth in their administrative staff, who were very difficult to get a hold of. They would only use email and would not answer the phone when we called.Sent on 06/15/2015
User3911989 · 2+ years ago
Great Blue Heron has AMAZING food! I was very happy with everything they served. They do need to work on their responsiveness though. At first, they answered all of my emails right away, but then as it got closer to the wedding I had to re-write them two-three times before they would answer.Sent on 11/03/2015
At the reception I didn't have any problems with the service but I was the Bride so I'm sure I was getting the best. I heard from many of my guests that the one girl (dark hair and glasses) who was serving the food lacked customer service and patience. She was barking orders to my guests, throwing down plates, and the most bizarre thing was what she did with the scraps left on a plate - she wiped onto the table cloth when people were still sitting there. As previously stated, as the Bride, I did not experience this but my guests did not deserve this type of treatment.
Overall, I would recommend Great Blue Heron Catering because the food really was amazing and I didn't personally have any problems with any of the staff at the reception. I did get married in peak wedding season so maybe everyone was just stressed with how busy they were.
Julie · Married on 10/07/2016
We thought Blue Heron Catering was excellent. Food was fabulous and plentiful but... The only complaint we had is that towards the end of the reception one of their servers shoved a WHOLE table of wedding cake into the garbage can!!! (We purchased the wedding cake separately from the catering pkg.). They cut and served cake to all guests at each table and then cut a bunch more and put it on a table. 1. They should not have wasted that cake we paid ALOT of money for. 2. They could have asked us if we wanted to cut up ALL the extra cake and put out. (If asked we would have said NO). 3. They could have made announcement that there is extra cake on table - please take some. We were very alarmed when we saw them throw it all away.Sent on 06/14/2018
User5561656 · 2+ years ago
Great Blue Heron was the caterer for our wedding at Rust Manor. Even though we were locked into using them because of our venue, we were really impressed with their food! The chef at our tasting was so willing to make items that aren’t usually ones he makes, offered to turn an appetizer we loved into a main course option, AND gave us two signature cocktails instead of one at no extra cost. Everything tasted great at the cocktail hour and reception! My only (minor) complaint is that the bar line at the cocktail hour got rather long and table service took a bit longer than we would have liked. Perhaps consider a second bar and an extra server if you have more than 150+ guests so everyone can enjoy the party sooner.Sent on 10/27/2015
Casey · Married on 05/03/2014
Overall, I would definitely recommend this place if you have chosen one of their venues because it's just easier. They were flexible with us on switching beers to craft beer. The tasting was awesome because we were allowed 4 people and they literally let you try everything, so you know exactly what you are getting the day of. My only issue with them was responsiveness. The woman who handles the contract and email communications didn't respond very quickly, didn't answer all my questions, and even sent me the wrong contract but tried to blame me (it was obviously her mistake - just own up to it. It's a lot less annoying). Again, all in all, the food was great and the day of we had no issues.Sent on 05/15/2014
Lola · Married on 04/06/2019
Good, but could be more professional
Great Blue Heron is the exclusive caterer for the River View Occoquan, our wedding venue. The food was great and had a ton of variety. We had guests with fruit and gluten allergies, so the menu has plenty to offer without skimping. Professionalism could be better - the event coordinator did not follow up on our guest count and made it seem as though we purposefully forgot (as if we don't have a million items on our to-do list...) She also overcharged one of our invoices, and did not apologize. If they were not the exclusive caterers for the venue, I would likely not work with them in the future.Sent on 04/09/2019
Erin · Married on 10/16/2016
We used GBH for our wedding at Rust Manor House. Overall we were pleased with how the event went and our guests were all very happy, but it was not necessarily a smooth process start to finish.Sent on 03/02/2017
-Tastings were easy to book as they are on a regular cycle. They were willing to work with us changed some of the sides to be more seasonal. Food was presented as it would look the day of the event after being carted to the site in a hot box, so no surprises there.
-Servers were very polite, attentive, and truly above average. I was immensely impressed with them.
-The quantity of food was generous for our plated meals and the quality was very good.
-The menu is fairly standard with little seasonal variation. But if you have an idea, they are more than happy to work with it.
-The servers tips are not included in the cost! So be prepared!
-You are working primarily with a Catering Admin. Some things that I expected from my experience with Catering Managers just didn't materialize and followup was spotty. When our proposal came out, it said to contact them if there were any questions. We didn't have any questions, so we printed it and filed it away in the wedding binder. Later when I emailed the contact to let them know that my email address was changing, I received a response back that said that they don't keep emails on file... even though we had booked a date and selected our menu. Needless to say, when I reached out again 60 days out, they were relieved to hear from me since they had never actually sent us a contract.
-If you want to personalize your beverage selections, you will receive a collection of incredibly large spreadsheets to pore over and try to figure out. One was 86 pages! It would be nicer to have a conversation with someone who can read the spreadsheet properly and can guide you through the selection process.
GBH did a good job and was responsive at the end. I would just recommend being on top of the process to avoid issues.