Review- Victorian Acres event venue

I recently had a VERY frustrating experience with Victorian Acres. We had a Saturday reserved this July. We were very excited and happy about our venue choice until we read the contract. We had three main issues with the contract:

1) Their event coordinator, Brandy Zimmerman, gave us a tour a few weeks ago. On the tour, Brandy disclosed that they had never actually hosted a wedding at Victorian Acres  yet, and that all photos on their website were staged with a photographer and mock couple. She also explained that the current owner, Michelle Davenport, didn't actually own the property. She has entered into a "lease to own" option with the previous owner. I didn't think a lot of this until we were emailed the actual contract from Victorian Acres. It has a clause in it that we had not seen in any of the other venue contracts that we looked at over the past few months. It explained that if Victorian Acres was for some reason “not able to make the property available” on our event date, they were not responsible for any additional costs or damages suffered by the renter (us) arising out of canceling or rescheduling the event. Which basically meant, we would be SOL when is came to deposits paid to all of our other vendors… photographer, catering, music, cake, flowers, etc. With Victoria Acres being a new venue, and recently SLASHING their rental fees, we started thinking of all of the foreclosures going on these days, and vendors going out of business, etc. This made us a bit nervous. We were worried this was a CYA in case they went out of business or had their “lease to own” option terminated. Again, this clause stood out to us because we had seen NOTHING like this included in other venue contracts. This wasn’t a deal breaker for us. We were just wary of it.

2) Victorian Acres was willing to let us bring in our own alcohol as well as some of the food for our reception. (We planned to use a caterer for serving, set up, and a couple main course options.) This was one of the main reasons that we chose this venue. However, the contract specially stated that we could NOT bring in our own food or alcohol. When I brought this issue to their event coordinator’s attention, she agreed that they would amend the contract. When we received the amended contract, they added ‘”IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE A LICENSED CATERER OR PLAN TO BRING ANY PORTION OF THE FOOD YOURSELF FURTHER REQUIREMENTS WILL BE NECESSARY.” Since this would be directly applicable to us, we obviously asked what these “further requirements” would be. We couldn’t get them to elaborate. This seemed so odd. Why not just specify these further requirements in the contract?  

3) Victorian Acres says that they include tables, chairs, linens, two onsite coordinators and full set-up and take down in their wedding package. (I have emails from the venue stating this.) However, when it came to signing the contract, it didn't state ANYWHERE what we were receiving for the venue fee. We asked them to include this info in the contract…. I don’t think this was an unreasonable request. After all, a contract should outline their obligations as well.

We couldn’t actually get someone to have a conversation with us about any of these, No return phone calls…. For 10 DAYS their event coordinator, Brandy Zimmerman, assured us (via email) that our date was “in ink” and that we would work out these contract details. However, rather than clarifying the additional requirement to bring food/alcohol into the venue, and that our wedding venue fee included tables, chairs, linens, two onsite coordinators and full set-up and take down….  They sent us an email that said, “This just isn't a good match between us.“ and “We wish you the best on your special day.”

We were shocked.  Really? End of discussion? I’m frustrated and disappointed that we believed their “we have your date in ink” reassurances. Needless to say, their communication, customer service, and attention to detail were UNDERwhelming. Good luck to anyone who plans to use Victorian Acres. I hope that your experience is more positive than ours was.

Re: Review- Victorian Acres event venue

  • I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience.  Where else are you looking?  What size guest list are you looking at, and what is your budget like?  Perhaps we can help come up with ideas, since (if your bio is right) you only have about 6 months!
  • Yes, 6 months leaves me pretty stressed at this point. I would love some suggestions. We've looked at a few different venues but most have Saturdays booked at this point. We are also looking at Jenkins Estate, but I don't love that we would only have the place 6:00pm-midnight. (Can't even arrive to decorate until 6:00, music an alcohol shut down at 11:00. We had originally planned on a late afternoon wedding. We are expecting about 75 people, would like an outdoor ceremony, and would like to keep catering costs to a minimum. The Jenkins preferred catering list seems like it will be impossible to find a buffet dinner for less than $28/person. We are working with a budget of about $7000-$8000 total. Any ideas?
  • I pimp it out all the time because my friend owns it, but The Ainsworth House in Oregon City sounds like it would work well for you.  Kevin, the owner, is a dear friend and he is magnificent, truly.  He's really great with helping to find things that stay in budget, and you can do indoor, outdoor, or a combo.

    I'll think about other options as well.
  • Mariah,
    I'm glad you had an opportunity to vent about your frustrations in our dealings at Victorian Acres. I too was disappointed that we could not come to a meeting of the minds, but as not every venue is right for every bride, neither is every bride right for every venue. I do not wish to get into a tit-for-tat with you regarding our attempt at meeting your needs all around but did want to clarify a few things for the people who will read your review, allowing them to read a response from us.
    As a new venue, we had our attorney write the initial contract. Not being in the wedding industry, we knew he would not have covered a few of the matters that weddings require without legalese, such as tables and linens. We only put that down on the final detailed page once the legal aspects are covered and prior to any signatures. We also needed to determine how many you would need of each. Not only did we give you the contract to completely rewrite to your specifications, we knew there would be additional specifications for your unique needs which involved our insurance agent to determine how to protect us from problems with people bringing their own food into the venue. We were in the process of gathering that information for you but never seemed to be able to meet your needs. Such as your wanting to have kegs of beer on site without having a licensed OLCC attendant to ensure minors aren't imbibing. It is a litigious society and we have to make sure we are protected as are you.

    Yes, we did offer a wedding show special of $1,000 off if signed by January 15th because we ARE new and wanted to get the business going and growing quickly. I thought it was good marketing!

    We had put in writing for you that we would return all monies given if we were unable to offer our venue on your wedding day. This fell under an "Act of God," not because we have a lease on the property. The lease was just a simple way of allowing the former owner to carry the terms of the loan instead of going through a bank, we do OWN it. In my other business, we have worked with brides who have been dumped by venues going out of business or simply keeping their deposits. This is totally unacceptable and as a woman of integrity, it would never happen with me. Acts of God are very vague, but have a legal description depending on which insurance company you talk to. Earthquakes, tornadoes, plane crashes, are understandable to categorize, but what if a car took out the electrical lines? We wanted to be as clear as possible in putting down all that could potentially, although not likely, happen. We never anticipated that we wouldn't be able to do your wedding because of a foreclosure because that wouldn't happen! I would think that ALL venues should have this in order to protect everyone with a back up plan should something like a natural disaster happen. Otherwise, those venues can keep your money because it WAS an Act of God! We would have given it back to you! 

    I completely respect your need to vent because it is hard to find just the right venue that meets all your needs when unique as yours is. I regretfully felt we were not a good match and apologize for your frustrations. I also respect your cautionary approach-we all have to be careful these days!

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