New York-Upstate

Opinions on the Inn at Erlowest (slightly time sensitive)

Hello Everyone,

I just got engaged last month and being from Saratoga Springs and spending all of my summers up in the adirondacks, I thought that it would be the perfect place to have a wedding.  We went looking at venues last weekend and fell in love with the Inn at Erlowest on Lake George.  The majority of our wedding guests will be from out of town so we were thinking that it would work out great to stay at the Cresthaven Lodges with everyone and then have the reception at the Inn at Erlowest.  I have read many mixed reviews (a few were pretty horrible) on the Inn and I was wondering if anyone has either had their wedding there or attended one.  We have to make a decision by Monday or they will release the date that is currently being saved for us so any information that you can provide as soon as possible would be very appreciated.   

Also, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced photographer or band in the area?

Thanks in advance!

Re: Opinions on the Inn at Erlowest (slightly time sensitive)

  • mm133123mm133123 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hello,
    Congrats on your engagement first of all!  I have never been to a wedding at the Inn, but I can refer you to a photographer that I am going to use for my wedding next spring:  her name is Angie Ellsworth and you can check out her website at angie starr photography.  As for the band I am going with the Karen Laurence Band.  Both are very reasonably priced.  Again these are only referrals b/c I have not gotten married yet.  Good luck!
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  • edited December 2011
    Congrats on your engagement!

    I recently had my reception at the Inn at Erlowest and think it is a beautiful place for a reception.  Depite all the misgivings I had about the service, which I will try to address, it was seriously the best wedding I've ever attended - and I've been to a lot.  The food was great, the room looked beautiful and most of the staff was professional.

    The bad.  We booked our wedding 17 months in advance.  Right before we booked the Inn was affiliated with Mansion Catering, the same catering company that serves Hall of Springs, the Glen Sanders Mansion and Saratoga National.  In between the time we booked and the time of our wedding they had gone through three executive chefs.  Every time I read a news article about a new chef leaving, it gave me pause, but I reasoned as long as the food was good I didn't really care who was serving it up, you know?  And it was.  But it makes one wonder about the high turnover.

    Also, they are pretty snobby and don't seem to know how the wedding business should be run.  When my sister had her wedding reception two years ago downstate the general manager was so accomodating - scheduling regular meetings to talk about the myriad wedding details, showing her pictures of the room, letting her having a tasting before she booked, giving her honest feedback on area vendors, etc.  It was the kind of service my family had come to expect, so when my venue seemed like they were doing me a favor taking our large sum of money, it also gave me pause.  But I also figured I had so much time to figure stuff out and people upstate weren't used to the kind of competition we had downstate.

    And then there was a bride on this board and another one my sister knew in real life who had their receptions there that both had mixed reviews.  The one on the knot basically said she had been lied to by their staff about the room rates and how much it would cost to have the entire inn for the wedding - this was something I wasn't planning on doing so I figured it didn't affect me.  My sister's acquaintance relayed to me to get everything in writing because they will tried to jack you later - advice which I am grateful.  But despite those complaints, both of those weddings seemed to go off without a hitch so I calmed my worries again.

    (Sorry this is getting to be so long.)  And then there was the tasting.  They had changed their menu between the time we booked and the time of our tasting.  Well I said "changed" but they apparently don't have a menu at this time.  Which was odd because I ordered things off the menu I had saved to my computer and they kept saying "well this was on the old menu" and I asked to see the new menu and they said there wasn't one.  What?  Also they have apparently changed their packages a lot.  When we booked the highest end package was $165 a person (see my bio for all that included) and now I think it's $199 and includes a lot less food.  At my tasting when I insisted they honor the old menu, they kept trying to tel me it was "too much food" and I was going to have to make sure everyone was in their seats to eat it.  Um, yeah, not your problem, honor my contract buddy.

    Then there was the hilarious idea that they were to call my husband the night before the wedding and ask them what our guests' entree choices were - something they never told us to tell them before.  Yeah.  The wedding coordinator Haleigh (who is quite a piece of work) was out of town for months and so we couldn't even schedule our tasting until after our invites had gone out.  I was SO nervous that guests weren't going to be able to get the entrees they wanted but miraculously it all worked out - though some remarked it was odd they weren't asked how they wanted their fliet cooked.  As for the fliet, mine was rarer than I would usually order but it was delicious.

    And then we had heard at a recent wedding they didn't give the vendors a place to sit and eat their dinner - the dinner I was incidentally paying for.  I was livid when I heard this.  We picked vendors who I adored and the last thing I wanted to do was disrespect them.  I had a meeting with them two days before the wedding - which I specifically requested - and told them this was unacceptable and my vendors would have a place to eat their meal.  This did happen luckily but not before my photographer left without being fed - and I was still charged.  Ugh.

    Ugh, there's more but it was mostly just lack of organization on their part, but I don't want to scare you.  It is a beautiful place and from my husband's conversations with the owner after the wedding they admitted that it was mostly the wedding coordinator's problem and she didn't seem like she would be there long so I think it still is a nice place for a wedding but if I had it to do over again I would have hired a planner just to make sure they were accountable on everything and I had less headcaches.

    I will say this: I love loved the cake baker.  Our cake looked awesome!  I unfortunately only go to eat the icing before I got up and started dancing but it was good.  I'll get to taste the rest on our one year anniversay.  Apparently it was great tasting too!

    Let me know if you have any questions and good luck in the planning process.
    TTC since 07/11 Me: 32 AO PCOS/DH: 32 Lowish count/motility IUI#1-3 = BFN (Clomid, Clomid-->Femara, Injects) IVF#1 ER on 9/24 19 ER/19 M/9 F w/ICSI Transferred a 5AA and a 5BB on 9/29 Beta 10/9 = 139 Beta 10/11 = 287
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  • edited December 2011
    I may be too late to this post, but i wanted to chime in on another sector of the original idea:

    We had, at one time, planned to have our wedding at the Lodges at Cresthaven. If you have questions about them, having a wedding there, or staying there please let me know. I could write a whole lot of stuff about it on here, but depending on your level of interest I dont want to waste your (or my) time. 

    So let me know if youd like more info and id be happy to give it to you. 


    http://www.mywedding.com/lynnieandandy
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  • edited December 2011

    The Lodges at Cresthaven were actually our 1st choice but we are thinking that we'll have around 120 guests and the boathouse didn't seem like it could accomodate that many people and a band.  Thanks for the offer though.   

    Thank you so much for telling me about your experience with the Inn at Erlowest.  After much debate and many lists of pros and cons, we did decide to go with Erlowest.  As my parents are doing nearly all of the legwork and negotions for the wedding I passed on the details of your wedding to my dad and he is going to specifically address a few of them with the owner to try and prevent them from happening again.  Again, thank you so much, I really appreciate you taking the time to post everything, it was incredibly helpful.  

    Also, thanks for the photographer recommendation.  I checked out her website and she seems to have good reviews so I am going to give her a call.

  • edited December 2011
    Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.  I try to check the board once a week or so at least.  And when I have my professional pics I will come back and share them.  I think if you are aware of the issues that may happen it will be easier to head them off at the pass.  Happy planning!
    TTC since 07/11 Me: 32 AO PCOS/DH: 32 Lowish count/motility IUI#1-3 = BFN (Clomid, Clomid-->Femara, Injects) IVF#1 ER on 9/24 19 ER/19 M/9 F w/ICSI Transferred a 5AA and a 5BB on 9/29 Beta 10/9 = 139 Beta 10/11 = 287
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  • edited December 2011
    Awww...I love the castle!! I looked there but ultimately decided to do a destination wedding. My photog is local though so we could do our engagement pictures here we are using Scott Kretschmann Photography (www.scottkretschmann.com)
  • edited December 2011
    I'm using the Inn as well for my 12/28/10 wedding... so far I've gotten everything in writing and nothing's really changed... I will say Haleigh is a pain in the butt... impossible to get to return a phone call... I have found that she responds to emails faster than she returns calls.

    It was a challenge to get her to go beyond the professional-you're-just-another-annoying-bride persona, but I think I won her over... which I will say bugged me because I don't think I should have had to charm the wedding coordinator there in order to get any sort of responses out of her.

    With that being said, I haven't had my wedding yet so who knows what new things I'll encounter? But if there's one thing I've learned is to get everything in writing (thus the emails) and that being nice garners better results than being pushy at the Inn.
  • consinfoconsinfo member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    The only thing priceless about the Inn at Erlowest is the view and location.
    We had the diamond package with extras and paid almost 40,000 for an affair that was uncoordinated (yes haliegh was the coordinator) and lacking in many of
    the items that we paid for. It was an amatuer affair at a premium price.  We had a dinner for 100 people Friday night and a breakfast for 130 people at the Holiday Inn in Lake George and they were amazing!  We would have been better off having the reception at the Holiday Inn.  i would have rented the townhouses and all the rooms  at the inn but the owner was  not interested in giving me a break even though the reception and ceremony were at her Inn.  A real disappointment.

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