People Just as Crazy as Me

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wedding #1 - The Venue

Klay and I had 3 choices in mind for where we wanted our wedding... They all met specific requirements, before we even saw them:
  1. Beautiful Outdoor Space for a lovely fall ceremony
  2. A reception room with class and rustic charm
  3. Amazing packages for us... because we deserve a little SPARKLE. 

Now, the three places we looked at were...
  1. Mohonk Mountain House - New Paltz, NY
  2. Catlin Gardens - Slate Hill, NY
  3. The Woodloch - Hawley, PA

I need to be very honest about this, and I hope that someone reads this one day and is SAVED...

Catlin Gardens was our FIRST CHOICE, I almost didn't need to see it... but am SO glad we did.
When we made our first appointment to see it, I left a message. This call was returned promptly, and the appointment was set. The appointment was THEN confirmed, and due to snow, I gave them my cell #, just in case anything should pop up. But, I was told by them, "We aren't afraid of a little snow." And honestly, neither was I. 

Day of our 1st appointment: The roads were slick, but not impossible... we get there, and the receptionist looked SHOCKED. She had left a message she said, even though I had nothing. The wedding planner, Stephanie, never wrote down the cell information I provided her, and the receptionist left the message on my WORK PHONE.... yeah, big help, but mistakes do happen. However, no Wedding Planner, No appointment, 1st Strike in Klay's book.
The receptionist, who also books the rooms for weddings, Anne, was super helpful, and is the only real asset of this company. She showed us EVERYTHING, when she didn't have to. The only thing she couldn't give us was prices, and assured us that we would make a 2nd appointment with Stephanie and we could go over all of the prices. 

The day before the 2nd appointment, around 3p, I realize I never got a confirmation call. Something felt amiss... so I took the liberty of calling myself, to confirm the appointment. Insert a new receptionist, who said, and I quote "OH?! NO ONE CALLED YOU! That isn't going to work, we will have to reschedule, Stephanie is out this weekend, for a family emergency" I twitched, and I was sitting at my office chair with my cell and office phone close... no freaking call. I was more than a little upset, but kept my composure. I asked for a price list, I had already scene the venue, and the holidays are rough for everyone... just send me the price list.

Christmas came and went, no price list emailed (I provided that too), no apology. December 27th, Anne emails me. I really do like Anne... And promises to set up an appointment, NOT WITH STEPHANIE, but with another Wedding Planner Chic. I told her that if they were going to win us over it had to be THAT COMING WEEKEND, and that was because we wanted to have picked a place by January 1st. (Note: We started this ordeal with them on December 3rd). She assured me we would get an appointment... Only to be told the next day that the NEW wedding planner could only meet with us on January 5th. I asked for a price list again, and said we would base our decision on that. 

Price list was emailed, I was pretty shocked... The prices for what we would be provided, weren't AWFUL... but... not impressive. And I was weary to give them any money at all... considering the customer service THUS far. I was very polite and emailed Anne back and told her we wouldn't be going with them. 

I then read some reviews, as I should have done first... And found some equally horrid claims, and basically, I know it would have gone downhill and that I wouldn't have enjoyed my wedding at all.. And Klay would have gotten super pissed.... SO... BEWARE... Just saying. 

Place #2: The Woodloch. 

Beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful. The packages are reasonable... and listed on the website if you search carefully. The staff answered the phone, and set the appointment, and even gave detailed directions. Now, we were dealing with Catlin Gardens while being courted by the Woodloch. So, I was not in the best mood for people who do not CONFIRM appointments, and force me to do so. I just thought it was inconsiderate. The Woodloch, did not confirm our appointment, and thus I took it as a sign, and we didn't even GO there to see it from the Wedding Planners eyes. I did cancel my appointment, so I wasn't that "BRIDE TO BE".

(I get it.. a lot of people look at wedding venues... and about half of them probably do not book. Basic rules of business apply. You set an appointment? You call to confirm with your customer base.)

Venue #3 (and obviously the place we picked): Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk was our dream venue, both of us... It's gorgeous... but, if you've ever heard anything about the place... it's EXPENSIVE. But, it's a quality that is unparalleled.. by anything in the area. We really only went there just to see it. I'm not going to lie... We were really banking on Catlin Gardens... But, we just wanted to dream a little. 

We made the appointment with Christina, and she confirmed the appointment, even though she got my sob story about the other venue leaving us high and dry twice... But, assured me we would see each other. She is a very calm, quiet woman. We almost didn't want to meet with her, because she sounded un-enthused about the whole thing. But... after meeting with her, we determined that she is a lovely woman.. just quiet and subdued. 

We have hiked MANY times up in the Minnewaska Area, and are both familiar with the trails that surround Mohonk. We have eaten there 3 times.. and know the quality of their Chefs. The rooms for the receptions are LOVELY... Rustic and Have AMAZING views... Very inviting. 
The only thing we weren't looking forward to, was the pricing. And much to my surprise... The prices were CLOSE (give or take $10/head and an extra $100 for the ceremony grounds fee) to Catlin Gardens. Klay and I had this moment of, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS DOABLE.... And they are so flexible about what you could do, and what is provided, and things can be mixed and matched. They make the cake on site, by their own Bakery staff... and if you give them a picture, they can GIVE YOU WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR... The ceremony, well, if you haven't guessed, is held in the gardens outside (weather permitting)... and oh, that's the above picture... JUST saying. We were floored... We were excited. If the weather is awful, they hold it in the parlor... which, is equally as impressive.
Stolen from Google and thus

We left there knowing we would pick them... but, knew we had to discuss it further.. just to get a plan about HOW we would do this... And not to seem too eager (I know we're really weird).

So, there is my review for the above wedding venues, and it is safe to say that we should have given the Woodloch, the benefit of the doubt, but, I'm glad we didn't waste the trip. 

Dream Venue ACHIEVED.

I am one happy Bride to Be!



  1. Oh... your venue is GORGEOUS. What a dream!

  2. I'm sooooo happy for you!!!! (you guys hehehe) That picture of the garden is LITERALLY breathtaking! I'm amazed at how beautiful it it! And quite jealous hahha. I'm so happy to hear that you got your dream venue, that's just perfect news for my day!

  3. Oh wow! Mohonk Mountain House is BREATHTAKING! Oh you lucky woman you!

  4. Congrats on your wedding. I am so happy for you and Klay.

  5. Wow, great post!!

    Stop by my blog soon!

  6. I absolutely love Mohonk Mountain House!! Perfect choice, and I'm sure your wedding will be everything you dream.