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California-San Diego

InStyle Event Planning

We booked with InStyle Event Planning (formerly Martino's) for our wedding and were very pleased.  We were really impressed with the food when we did our tasting and she really delivered on our wedding day as well.  I've heard stories where the food at the tasting and at the actual even can differ with some vendors and everything was very consistent--great quality and our guests could not stop raving about the food we selected. 

Instyle provided our catering, specialty pin tuck linens, lounge furniture and up lights.  Shellie also offered suggestions about the venue (where to place the cake table, bar and buffet) which were helpful.  She also allowed us to see her team set up another wedding at the venue, which helped give us some ideas on the room schematic. 


In addition, Shellie helped us pull off a miracle when our cake vendor flaked and did not show up.  She recommend a local vendor and we had 120 cupcakes delivered and set up from this other vendor within less than 1 hour.  Her staff was friendly and provided great service and Shellie provided many extra touches to help make our evening unforgettable.  I highly recommend using Instyle for your wedding or special event.

Re: InStyle Event Planning

  • edited December 2011

    What a disaster. Shellie is easily one of the most unprofessional people we’ve ever dealt with and was a complete no-show at our wedding ceremony and reception. I just wish I had read the other bad reviews of her prior to her ruining my wedding. Here are some of the many failures of her catering services.

    The day before the wedding, I spoke with Shellie while she was performing another catering job at the botanical gardens in Encinitas. She sounded in perfect health to me and also appeared healthy to my wife, who saw her in person at the botanical gardens. Amazingly, Shellie didn’t even recognize my wife, although she had met her several times. However, at our wedding the next day Shellie was nowhere to be found. She never contacted anyone to say she wouldn’t be coming or who would be performing the catering. Turns out she had her husband do our catering job, which turned out to be a complete joke (he wore shorts; apparently, he thought it was a beach barbecue and not a wedding). Once we were several hours into our wedding/reception, I sent Shellie a text message saying I hadn’t seen her and detailing our problems that night. She said she was sick and asked me to direct all of our problems with her husband, whom I’d never met. I didn’t hear from her again until I sent her a letter after our wedding demanding some of our money back. When she finally responded, she claimed she had sent me an email saying she had “addressed” the problems at our wedding. I guess she just made this up because I had never received any communication from her attempting to address the many problems with service.

    Food service began an hour late (it was only a five hour food service), so everyone in attendance was unable to enjoy the pre-ceremony hors d’oeuvres that she agreed to provide and which we promised our guests would be provided. Well over eighty of us went hungry until 6 p.m.

    Also, Shellie’s company brought only a fraction of the desserts she promised. The service staff told my mother-in-law that they brought only 40 parfaits (for over 80 guests). And I found out later that a staff member admitted that 2 of the 40 desserts had been “reserved” (aka stolen) by the staff for themselves. My mother-in-law was forced to ask for the two “reserved”/stolen desserts because otherwise there would have been none left for her and her husband to eat. Also, Shellie provided only two of the three dessert options she promised and my new bride and I were forced to split a dessert that wasn’t any good.

    Also, there was no hummus at the Mediterranean station, although it was promised. Shellie apparently expected our guests to eat dry, store-bought pita bread with only chunks of cheese and pickled peppers.

    The taco station was also inadequate. We were promised hand-made tortillas but store-bought tortillas were used. We were also promised nine different salsas and instead received three. And the pork was completely different from what we had at our tasting.

    To make matters worse, the taco and sushi stations had no lighting and were thus blanketed in darkness. (We found out later that Shellie did make a brief appearance at the wedding site the afternoon before the wedding, was aware of the lighting issue and did nothing to fix it). Our guests were forced to light these stations with their cell phones to be able to see, as best they could, what food was on them. My wife’s vegan parents were forced to disregard these stations entirely for fear of accidentally eating meat or fish. Shellie’s staff/husband also often allowed the taco station to run without any tortillas. What’s a taco without a tortilla? Meat.

    There was also a fraction of the soup that we needed so many of our guests didn’t get to eat soup.

    The large piece of lounge furniture that was provided to us did not have the promised pillows. The garage that the lounge furniture sat in (and where the dance floor was located) had no lighting whatsoever, although Shellie promised to provide all lighting. Lack of lighting was a theme for the evening, apparently, as was the awful, unprofessional catering.

    If she does ruin your wedding, she will likely attempt to rely on an unenforceable liquidated damages provision that she wedges into all of her contracts attempting to limit her liability to $500. Run away, far away from Shellie and her hack catering business.

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