Hi there all you Montana Brides, and especially the ones in Helena.
I recently had a wedding reception at the Kleffner Ranch in East Helena, MT. While the location is absolutely beautiful and perfect for a wedding/reception, the customer service is terrible. The owners, Denis and Stacey are very rude once they have your signed agreement and money (they seem very nice prior to that in email and phone correspondence).
They try to double book wedding events there (there are 2 seperate buildings in which you can have a reception) and it results in a confused mess for vendors and guests.
They nickel and dime you: charge for each table, each chair, each little thing, and over charge for linens compared to what you can get by ordering them yourself. They will charge you if you want to come decorate the location the day before the event: $50 per hour. They charge you to use the kitchen in an adjacent building for your caterer at $75 an hour. This is on top of $1500, which is a ton of money for a MT venue.
They had water running allover the parking area the day before and day of our reception, creating a ton of mud that our guests had to park in, which indicated no consideration for us.
They ignore emails, and have a poor system for keeping records and reservations, so you have to "stay on them" about everything.
The worst part was that the owner, Denis, showed up at 11:05pm (we had the venue booked until 12:00pm). He began milling around oddly looking at things and directing our wedding party to come get mops and start cleaning. We were still in the middle of dancing and enjoying ourselves! When my husband and I left, Denis reportedly began bossing people around to start cleaning up (even though everyone was already doing that at that point, tables were being broken down, garbage picked up etc) and was extremely rude to my little sister, to whom he began gruffly barking orders at.
He followed people around rudely barking orders, and then made people go and sweep/mop the entire 100x100 square foot area (not sure what the $1500 we paid them was for?). He told my sister to go pick up cups in the parking lot because people were "tail-gating," however , a non-related-to-us rehearsal dinner had occurred simultaneously with our reception that night in another building on the other side of the parking lot, so he blamed us for something he wasn't even sure we did. It was 35 degrees and dark outside when he told my little sister to do this, while she is wearing a cocktail dress and heels.
Other brides who have been married there have told me the same types of awfule stories/experiences. They also took way longer to send my deposit back than they had said, and they kept $100 dollars of it, with no explanation. I would assume if there was an issue they would have said something the morning after the event, and not just let it go until weeks later to discuss. They also sent the deposit back to my stepmother instead of us, even though we are the ones on the agreement.
They are rude, rude people. My friend (another bride) said that Denis also walked down to a reception and began going through the buffet lines eating the guest's food. He then began loading up containers of leftovers, until the father of that bride told him to put it back. Very, very unprofessional.
He also made another bride and groom I know come back the day after their wedding to pick up flower petals off the ground from an outside wedding, down by a creek. Seriously?
Just a warning ladies. I wouldn't do business with them ever again. The Lakeside Ranch is a much better option, from what I have heard.