3 User photos
Kelsey · Married on 10/28/2016
While the venue is gorgeous, they give you very minimal time frames to set up/ enjoy time with your guests for the amount of money you fork out. It makes for a very stressful big day and almost no time for photographs of a venue you spend alot of money for. I would advise brides to strongly consider how much they really want this venue. If you dn't have a paid for wedding planner and staff ( like we did not) it will not be worth it.Sent on 12/18/2016
Valerie · Married on 05/27/2012
BRIDES BEWARE!Sent on 08/05/2012
I recently had two recent experiences with the gardens, one as a bride and a few weeks later as a guest. This is my review based on those experiences.
First, the rental fee is a fair price but there are additional fees of which the bride needs to be aware. There is a 15% fee that Powell Gardens collects from the caterer and this fee is ultimately passed onto the bride and groom.
The beverage/bar package pricing is based on final guest count. This means that any guest under the age of 21 years old that will not consume alcohol costs the same as an adult that may have a few alcoholic drinks. This is not a common practice for any of the other catering companies I researched. Many caterers have different prices based on if a guest is able to consume alcohol or not. The bar package is overpriced for the services that are provided.
The bridal changing room was small, unattractive, and poorly lit. We did not use it as a place to get ready but it was used briefly as a meeting place since it was air conditioned. This did not seem to be a comfortable place to get ready and was not within walking distance of the chapel. On the day of my wedding the women's bathroom (that is shared with the public) was not working.
The chapel is beautiful and provided the perfect nature inspired setting for our wedding. It was clean and attractively lit. It is small but comfortably fit our 125 guests.
There are very strict time restrictions on the use of the chapel, even if you have the last wedding of the day. The bride and groom will be fined if guests remain at the chapel past the rental time. This did not happen to us but it adds stress onto an already stressful day.
The ceremony went perfectly but there were a few issues at the reception site (the grand hall).
The floral vendor showed up early to place the reception flowers in the air conditioning but was not allowed in the grand hall. The same occurred with family of the bride and groom when coming to drop off items for the reception. The garden staff was not courteous to the vendor nor to the families of the bride and groom. It was a simple misunderstanding by the families and they were told by garden staff that they were too early and needed to move since they were in the way. These family members ended up with a negative impression of the garden staff.
There also seemed to be some confusion about the set up of the reception site. Neither the gardens nor the catering company showed the bride and groom a template for table layout. No one from the gardens or the catering company wanted to take responsibility for this detail, which is an important one. I even emailed both the caterer and the garden staff a week before the event to discuss room setup. Ultimately I trusted that these experienced professionals would be able to take care of this detail. An experienced venue should have a lay out for the bride and groom to review and approve and also for the catering company to use for set up. There needs to be better communication between the catering team and the garden staff on this issue. It would be helpful for the catering team so that they may be more organized and they can use their limited set up time more efficiently.
In talking with the garden staff and the catering company after the wedding, the garden staff blamed the catering company for the disorganization related to the room set up. The caterer is new to the venue and may require extra assistance. Thankfully at my wedding the florist was able to assist the caterer in directing how the room should be set up and the florist designed a room layout that worked for the reception. At the wedding I attended the caterer was also new to the venue and guests were not served dinner until after 11:00 P.M. This pushed back the timeline of the entire evening and left limited time for the dance.
At my wedding the bar ran out of white wine within five minutes of the reception and guests had to wait on their drinks while another bottle was picked up. The garden wedding coordinator, Sam, told the guests to "blame the bride" for the lack of white wine. This comment was rude, unprofessional, and inexcusable.
Additionally no one from the bar picked up glasses or beer bottles from the tables. The tables got cluttered once each guest had a few drinks. At the wedding I attended the bar ran out of mixers and did not have cocktail garnishes. The bartender told me he was running low due to the fact that there was another wedding reception going on at the same time. I am not sure why the bar was poorly stocked, because I am sure in both cases the guest counts were accurate and the bar packages were paid in full.
Throughout the entire wedding process I never felt that Powell Gardens had the objective to make the wedding day the best it could be for the bride and groom. This is something I felt from all the other vendors, including my photographer, florist, caterer, makeup artist, and DJ. (See their five star reviews). The other vendors had a genuine goal to do their best so that our day would be the best it could be. I highly recommend these vendors to others and my sister will be using several for her upcoming wedding. Powell gardens simply wanted to remind us of their policies and procedures and get a check. The rules that they repeat again and again include the strict time limit on the rental of the chapel and reception hall.
In the end and with the help of the floral designer and extended family, I was able to have the elegant reception that I had envisioned. My guests enjoyed themselves and thought the wedding was beautiful. I would not have reviewed the gardens in such a negative tone if the garden coordinator had been more friendly, especially to my family. I can overlook a few issues here and there, but I expected a more professional and accomodating approach from the garden staff.
If you are considering having a wedding at the gardens make sure to have the reception at another venue that has professional staff that is experienced, organized, and courteous.