Recommended by 87%
4 User photos
User2120786 · 2+ years ago
Overall: wonderfulSent on 06/19/2012
1 we had a gardens guest wandering around in our reception but no problems were caused
2 they didn't want us to drop things off for our reception until 445 when we were having a church wedding at 500 but our caterer bailed us out.
Brooke · Married on 09/07/2013
We were married in the Rose Garden and it was so beautiful. I wish I could relive that moment everyday. The garden is very well taken care of and has so many beautiful locations. Our reception was there as well and it was nice to have it all in the same place. Just can be hard to get in touch with them.Sent on 09/24/2013
Terin · Married on 05/31/2009
The Norfolk Botanical Gardens was an absolutely beautiful place to have a wedding. It was also very cost effective.Sent on 06/04/2009
On our wedding day, we received a free upgrade to white chairs (instead of brown, which usually cost at least a $1.00 more per chair for the white ones). Stephanie (the wedding coordinator at the Botanical Gardens) always responded promptly to my e-mails and telephone calls which was a blessing.
Luckily for us, no airplanes took off or landed during our ceremony. :)
The only bad thing I will say about the Botanical Gardens is that we were asked to leave promptly after our ceremony time was finished. Regardless of the pictures that we wanted to take or the guests that we were trying to speak to. Unfortunate, but it is business after all.
Becca · Married on 05/01/2010
The NBG was an absolutely gorgeous setting for both my wedding ceremony & reception. People could not stop talking about how pretty everything was! There were lots of options as far as gardens go for the ceremony, and the Rose Garden Hall was a great venue for reception as it allowed for guests to be inside or out overlooking the Rose Garden. I love the black & white floors in the reception hall, too! What I did not like about working with NBG was their inflexibility with EVERYTHING. I understand having policies and sticking to them, but I just never felt like they were really trying to help me make my day special and memorable at all. For example, I wanted to have the tram take our guests around the loop to just see the rest of the gardens (not get out, just look at from the tram) before the reception and they said no. We also asked if they could have an employee to staff their new butterfly "greenhouse" which was right next to my ceremony site, and they said no. They didn't even have a wheelchair available for use for elderly guests, and my garden was a HIKE from the parking lot when we were doing the rehearsal. It just felt like they didn't allow for anything creative or personal to be added to your day...didn't even want to consider it. They also don't set up the tables & chairs for the reception, your caterer (or whomever) has to do that...so you're paying all that money just for the room itself and an events staff person to just be there all night. It was nice to get half off the ceremony site if we booked our reception there. Stephanie was always very quick to respond to my email questions so that was great. Overall it was a beautiful setting but they were a little hard to work with at times. But, I do appreciate having policies and following them and as a business I understand why that's important...it just felt confining at times!! But the wheelchair thing, that is just ridiculous...! :)Sent on 05/17/2010
User3457004 · 2+ years ago
My wedding at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens was beautiful, and I'm glad I chose to do it there. Renaissance Court is one of the most beautiful places in Norfolk, and thankfully the rain held off on my wedding day so we didn't have to use the rain site!Sent on 08/11/2013
I worked with Carlyn until she left, and then Abby, as my wedding coordinators. Both were quick to respond via email, and available when I requested appointments. They were upbeat and friendly, and professional. They knew the drill, and were able to tell me when all my vendors should be there, setting up and so on. It was nice to not have to worry about it.
My chief frustration was that they were not that willing to help with anything outside of the box. I decided to use my extra portrait time to do bridal portraits on the day of the wedding, and they wouldn't let me use a golf cart to get around because I was there before 3. They wouldn't let my florist use a golf cart to get flowers to the ceremony site. It seems like these must be common requests, and I feel like, for the money I paid, I should have pretty much had free rein. I felt like I was working around their preferences, and they were really not all that helpful or accommodating to me when I needed things.
The trams were late, which was scary because it seemed like a thunderstorm was going to burst over us at any moment and I just wanted to get it done so we could do it outside.
However, I would recommend the Botanical Gardens to a friend, and I would absolutely have my wedding there again.
Melissa · Married on 07/14/2007
The botanical gardens were absolutely beautiful. We used the Renaissance court for the ceremony in front of the fountain and love how all of our pictures turned out. Everything was so full of blooms and well kept. Not to mention that the gardens had just replaced some of the stone work for the pillars which turned out beautiful. Our reception was in the Azalea tea room since we love the small site with the beautiful patio overlooking the japanese maples. The room was very quaint and had a seperate room for the buffet and cake. The patio literally made everything so wonderful. The breeze was perfect on the patio and our guests felt as though they could mingle both inside and out. If I could redo this day, I would not change my wedding site. The only downside to this location is that the wedding coordinators changed several times in the process of our planning. The contracts were screwed up and policies were changed in the time that we had signed our contract. I am however appreciative that they honored our original contract and everything turned out perfect.Sent on 05/21/2008
Victoria · Married on 05/27/2007
The Norfolk Botanical Gardens is an undeniably beautiful place to get married. My husband and I chose the Renaissance Court, which overlooks a fountain and some lovely statuary. As our photos attest, the area was serene and beautiful, the perfect setting for our day.Sent on 11/27/2007
However, the service provided by NBG was lax and unresponsive. I had to call several times to correct my billing, as the office incorrectly processed my payment. I also had to correct the time set up for the wedding although I had previously filled out all the correct forms.
The value for the amount of money is also debatable; NBG charges a hefty sum just for an hour rental, and then tacks on additional fees for even simple items like white chairs! Far more expensive is transportation (it's a long walk to the Renaissance Court), and a rain-site deposit. The rain site, by the way, is the less than stunning rotunda.
Most distressing was the insistence of the staff that they were unable to provide a private room for me to change in. They offered the public restroom as the best bet. I ended up changing in the outside public restroom in an outbuilding. Honestly, I paid almost a thousand dollars for one hour of time at the garden, and they can't let me use a spare office to zip up my gown? It's egregious. If I had to do it again, I'd go with a far more wedding-friendly venue.
Patricia · Married on 08/06/2010
Although the Botanical Gardens was beautiful I found it hard to receive feedback about my wedding. I would email details and not receive a response until I called a week later.Sent on 03/20/2011
The price for the event is also a little ridiculous. Above a thousand dollars to rent a site for two hours.... Especially when nothing special is having to be done, it is just simply the natural decor of the gardens.
If looking at this venue be weary of changing the date, especially if you are military. We encountered some problems with this even though every other vendor we had for our wedding was willing to cooperate.
Emily · Married on 10/13/2007
Norfolk Botanical Garden is a beautiful setting for an outdoor wedding ceremony. We also rented the Rose Garden Hall for our reception site. In hindsight, I probably would not have used this reception location, as the fees are very high and really only provide for rental of the space and tables/chairs. Dressing room rental is an extra fee, and the "dressing rooms" are classrooms used to teach botanical classes. I knew this going into it; however, I would have expected tables and chairs to be pushed to the edges of the room to allow for space to get dressed, as well as some type of window covering (we had to scramble to find a sheet to hang over the large window that looks out into the common hallway).Sent on 06/04/2008
Additionally, three different wedding coordinators were hired and then left the company during the 11 months that I planned my wedding. I only discovered that the wedding coordinator had changed when I called with a question or showed up for an appointment (I was never notified ahead of time).
kym · Married on 11/11/2007
The Garden was a beautiful wedding site.But I did not like some things such as the hidden charges, the employees, confusion of payments and the rain site fee. I was bounced around from one employee to another, I would work with one that was my "planner" but come back to meet with yet another because the other either was fired or her workload was just too full. First I was with a woman who was rather rude and spoke down to my husband and I, treating me like I was a child. Then we came back expecting the same women but instead got a young woman who screwed up our contract. We got a call saying that she gave us the wrong price and we owed them a significant amount of money in addition to what we already paid and contracted to. Finally we were paired with a wonderful women who was so kind and understood what she was doing.Sent on 03/25/2008
I feel that some of the "perks" I was charged for was a bit rediculous. Having to pay extra for chairs and then extra on top of that to have them be white instead of brown after I was already paying a huge amount to have the ceremony there just seemed unfair. There were a few more extra charges, but we decided not to go along with them.
Also I would always recieve letters saying I did not pay when I payed my payments early every time they were due. They just seemed very unorganized in how they ran their business.
I also did not like the rain site fee. I can see putting money down for something. But the charge for the rain site was just rediculous. If it rained, I would have paid thousands of dollars for the garden and hundreds of dollars for the rain site and instead of having the gardens I would get a small room to have my reception. And the payments were non refundable. So I would be paying thousands of dollars on a small room which I could have gotten anywhere for not nearly half as much.
All in all .. my wedding was amazing. Everyone still talks about how beautiful it was.. but it took ALOT to work with the gardens.
Dawn · Married on 09/21/2013
Gorgeous venue, no question at all. Our pictures turned out beautifully. The security guard did a great job of keeping other people out of our wedding space, and the few jets that took off during our ceremony actually lent a bit of charm.Sent on 10/10/2013
The quality (really, lack of) of service we received for what we paid was a constant headache, and one that I would not recommend to other brides unless you have nerves of steel :-) Was our wedding beautiful? Yes. Would we recommend to other couples? No. If you do decide to take the plunge, be aware that every rule mentioned is non-negotiable--and there are many. A few very specific things that brides should know if you choose Baker Hall as your venue:
1.) Baker Hall gets EXTREMELY warm, even with a small guest list. Perhaps it's the vaulted ceilings, or maybe the system is old (or, maybe the AC was never turned on). Our guests were uncomfortably warm--our priest actually had to leave in the middle of dinner because he was so overheated. It's not fun being a sweaty bride, especially when I've paid thousands of dollars for a venue.
2.) NBG will NOT budge on rental time and arrival. They are clear on this when signing contracts, but know that it is not an arbitrary rule. Be prepared to have an extremely efficient team of vendors who will be able to set up quickly, as no one is allowed in before 5. No exceptions--including the bridal party.
3.) If you choose to take pictures, know that your permissible area is very limited. We chose to pay $150 extra so we could arrive an hour before our contracted time and take pictures before it got dark.
4.) The "ready room" for the bride will also be shared with your caterer, so it is not really yours until about 6 p.m. The blinds blocking the guests' view are broken, so I would suggest getting ready elsewhere and arriving at the last minute unless you would like personal greetings from each of your guests as they arrive.
**Good luck! **
Kristen · Married on 07/26/2008
Not worth the money. Everything turned out beautiful. But they did not do a great job of ensuring that my day went smooth. No one was tehre on site to help, the tram carrying our guests arrived after the wedding had started, my escort was late and they were doing construction on our garden and did not tell anyone. I am very lucky that I had an excellent wedding coordinator if not everything would have been a disaster. My one reccommendation if you do decide that have your wedding their, expect ugly white metal chairs bc they don't have a storage for others to be brought in and rent a PA system. It was very hard to hear with all the planes flying over.Sent on 09/13/2008
User5210313 · 2+ years ago
Very expensive, change their wedding Department people right in the middle of my contract also was working on the Rotonda Hall at the time of my wedding the Rotonda Hall is used when it rains outside unfortunately it was unable to be used because they was doing construction in the rotunda hall so the only option was to still keep it outside in the rain or use the reception area for the wedding which I was not going to do. When I did my contract the rotunda hall was to be available if it was raining outside it wasn't an option tge day of my wedding. The tram takes a long time to run. If it is raining or dark outside just be careful and remember that. It is a beautiful place but they need to keep their wedding Department intact.Sent on 10/31/2016
User4211874 · 2+ years ago
I was very unsatisfied with the venue and ended up wishing we had chosen a different venue. The original event coordinator was very poor with flexibility, however when I said something to her, she transferred me to someone else and decided not to deal with me anymore. This next coordinator was much better. They are somewhat flexible but I had to raise questions before they were willing to work with me. Their hours are typical working hours, so if you have a job plan on taking time off to schedule appointments with them. There were details of our wedding that the coordinator completely overlooked and then threw on me and my fiancee a week before our wedding. We were unable to fix these discrepancies, and had to go without during our wedding. Thank goodness it did not rain, or our money would have been thrown down the drain. The coordinator the day of was pleasant and helped out with what she could.Sent on 06/29/2014
Norfolk Botanical Garden's reply:
Sarah · Married on 05/16/2009
I did not end up using The gardens and was so glad I didn't. They were way too pushy. I came in to check things out and see how much things cost and they wanted me to sign a contract! They were REALLY expensive and did seem like they cared about what I wanted but were more concerned with bringing in money. I found it ridiculous that they wanted to charge so much for a rain site and that I could not even seen my reception room due to construction. I was an out of town bride so just stopping back in wasn't an option. I am SO glad I didn't have my wedding there. I think I would have been so disappointed.Sent on 06/01/2009
Megan · Married on 06/02/2007
Overall it was a bad experience. One employee promised things that management did not agree with- it was very hard to deal with.Sent on 05/26/2008
Andrea · Married on 05/12/2007
We married in the Butterfly Garden. This was a beautiful site. Our ceremony was gorgeous. However, the customer service was horrific. We paid 5,000.00 just for the "privilege" of being there and yet were treated as if we had paid nothing and they were forced to have us there against their wishes. A number of our guests were treated rudely at the rehearsal and on the wedding day. Our rehearsal wasn't even put on the books so the groundskeeper almost kicked us out. On the day of the wedding the tram would not pick our guests up where they had gathered in front of the reception hall to take them to ceremony site, even though it would drive past there en route, and instead made them walk, heeled ladies and elderly included, to where it was sitting one building over. I was literally yelled at on my wedding day by one of the management representatives while we were gathered in the bathroom (the only place they had for us to get ready!) because one of my bridesmaids was late. Also, after we were told that a horse and carriage could go anywhere a golf cart could my husband paid $1000.00 to rent one as a surprise and then on the day-of his money was basically wasted because they would not allow the driver to go all the way to our site, I had to walk instead and the carriage wasn't even visible, and then they wouldn't allow it to drive us back to the reception site unless we left immediately after the ceremony (and missed taking pictures). We missed several photo opportunities after the ceremony because they were rushing guests and family back to the reception site and the tram refused to wait on its second trip so we could get pictures with grandparents and were going to make them walk instead! The only reason we got wedding day pictures with just the two of us is because there was ONE person who worked there who was nice enough to give us a few minutes and bring a golf cart back to pick us up, I only wish I could remember her name(long blonde curly hair)! There were several other issues that added up, some big, some small, even though I think just these few should be enough to turn anyone off! And to think we could've paid $215 and married in a park just as beautiful! We are not ones to complain, even in a restaurant, so I hope you know we are not just being nit-picky. I am training to be a wedding planner and was absolutely appalled at the quality of service here. And not just on the day of - during all of the logistics and planning leading up to the wedding (after we had already paid, of course) they were very difficult. In fact, the reason management was there the day-of to begin with is because my husband brought them in during the process because the "wedding coordinator" wasn't able to do her job on her own. In spite of all of this we have lovely memories of our wedding day and did not allow the gardens to ruin the most special day of our lives. However, these are things that I would never want to subject anyone else to dealing with! And all the more reason to suggest a wedding planner so that you don't have to should they come up! Best of wishes!Sent on 11/17/2007
Katie · Married on 06/03/2007
The Botanical Gardens were.... awful. I planned my wedding a year in advanced and through the process we went through three wedding coordinators at the Botanical Gardens because they kept either getting fired or quitting, so it was very hard to figure out who to talk to when we had a question. Each time it was someone new and more moody than the last. Also, the last time that we met with them to go over the final plans, they changed everything that they had promised regarding when we could begin having access to the garden, the times and numbers of the trams, everything. I had to bring my baby niece along since my mom was babysitting her and the wedding coordinator automatically assumed that she was mine and rolled her eyes. People think she is mine a lot, which I understand, but it was terrible for her to judge me for it. I felt so awful during the whole meeting.Sent on 11/29/2007
As it turned out, it rained on my wedding day so we didn't get to use the garden. It may have been a good time because they may have screwed everything up. We were supposed to get a year's pass for free, but they never sent it. Basically, it was an awful experience with them, we paid a lot of money, and got nothing in return at all.
The staff was unapproachable, rude, always late to meetings (the first girl acted like we didn't even have a meeting and never apologized for being an hour late), and acted like they were doing you the biggest favor in the world. I wouldn't suggest it.