Hello SSB ladies (sorry if this is a bit long),
I had my wedding at SSB on July 8th. I have probably been one of the more vocal brides regarding the changes that have transpired in the last 8 months, as well as the overall communication issues.
I'm happy to report that the wedding was a huge success, and Joann and her team did an OUTSTANDING job.
I should first state that my primary focus for the wedding was great food, and a great party. I'm a foodie (or a snoody foodie, as my H tells me), so food was of the utmost importance. I created my own menu, which was not from their selection list, and I wanted it carried out precisely. My initial issues stemmed from a conflict regarding Rockfish. In early February, there was a halt on commercial fishing of rockfish, but all restaurants seemed to carry it...except SSB. I kept getting excuses as to why, so I went directly to DNR, who stated there is no reason why they couldn't serve me rockfish. Needless to say, that issue was resolved, and the rockfish tasted delightful (rockfish topped with crabmeat w/ a lemon beurre blanc). I had 4 tastings, because I wanted things a certain way. One day I drove across the Bay Bridge, just to re-try two items, because I wasn't happy with them from the 3rd tasting. They accommodated my request pleasantly.
The next issue was the change is contracts. Their initial contract did not include the gratuities, and they wanted to update the contract to have it included. I don't have an issue with paying the gratuities, but they way is was handled left a bad taste in my mouth. By law, a signed contract is a signed contract, and they can't force you to sign a new one (that's the whole idea about signing it!). We worked out an agreement to our satisfaction.
I should state, that I had a WP who worked closely with all the coordinators that SSB has had, so there was less day-to-day issues that I had to deal with. I should also state, that I am an older bride, and unfortunately, I think that many vendors treat younger brides differently, assuming that those brides will be happy with whatever service they provide.
Rehearsal - non issue. My WP ran the rehearsal, so no SSB involvement.
Wedding day - since I had a WP, I didn't have to be there early to help set up anything. According to my WP, there were no issues at all, and the entire staff seemed to bend over backwards to make sure everything went smoothly. I should mention that my wedding day was the day of horrific storms and flash flood watches. It started raining 2 hours before the wedding, so it was moved inside (we rehearsed both inside and out, just in case). I had hired a shuttle bus to transport the guests from the hotels in Annapolis to the venue (thank goodness), so there was minimum valet service needed. This was great, since each of the valets were equipped with golf umbrellas, to escort the Bridal Party from the Bridal Hut (that's what I called it), to the venue, to ensure no one got wet. The staff even had towels at the entrance, incase we needed to wipe off our feet from the rain. Also, the Bridal Hut was nicely appointed with sodas, wine, and appetizers for the girls. Only flaw, the toilet stinks after flushing, due to the septic system.
Reception - not one flippin' issue! We were assigned a server for the evening (Val), who was wonderful. She catered to our every need, always making sure our glasses were filled (mango martinis!), and even packed up meals and appetizers for us to take back to our hotel with us, since eating was a commodity for us that night.
The food was incredible! I still have people calling me about the food. It was exactly what I had directed, and executed well. Hot food was hot, and cold food was cold. And finally the desserts. I was not having a wedding cake, because I just not a fan, but I asked Chef Kevin to make something small, so we could cut something to appease my mother. It was a huge friggin' cake for way more guests than I had. I was to have an extensive dessert buffet, and boy was it. I let Chef Kevin decide what my final dessert was going to be, and told him to surprise me. Did he ever...he had a few extra desserts in there that I hadn't even asked for. I did has for freshly baked cookies and milk at the last 30 minutes of the evening, and guest were thrilled with that.
I did take the time that evening to thank Joann and Kevin for ensuring we had an enchanted evening. I will be following up with both of them via email, as well as posting on Wedding Wire. I'd give them a "D" as a pre-wedding grade, and then an "A+" as a "day of" grade.
If you'd like any additional details (although I don't know what I could have possibly left out, LOL), let me know and I PM you.
Presentation is everything!!