Reader S. wrote in with a complaint about the food at the country club where she held her wedding. It would be easy to write her off as a hysterical Bridezilla, but the problem goes deeper than just “crappy food.” Both S. and her husband told the venue during the ten-month planning process that his husband’s family are Muslims who don’t eat pork. The caterers served up rice with pork sausage, potatoes with ham, salad with bacon, and ham sandwiches for the cocktail hour. When called on their error, their response was to take some of the offending dishes away and not replace them. Management has offered S. a $3,000 refund on her $17,000 tab for the event. Is that enough compensation for a mishap that makes S. look this bad to her new in-laws?
We just held our wedding here two weeks ago. While all the hype about the beauty of this place is true and warranted, the service was the worst I have ever experienced in my life. Not only were we shuffled around to three different coordinators throughout the 10 months we were dealing with them leading up to our big day, they often took anywhere from a week to 6 weeks to respond to simple emails.
But all of that is nothing compared to the worst most horrific aspect of [redacted]‘s service that utterly ruined not only our wedding, but my relationship with my new husband’s entire family: we had both said that there could be NO PORK at the buffet as my husband’s family’s religion is opposed to that (they are Muslim).
Not only was there pork in the buffet, but when we saw the bacon on the salad and the pork sausage in the rice, and called the coordinator over to deal with the issue, she actually disputed against our word, saying she didn’t recall hearing us say “no pork.” It was only after my husband told her to go check her notes, that upon her return from her office she admitted she “just didn’t double check,” and apologized for having served pork to all of our guests.
We tried our best to brush off the issue, insisting that all pork dishes be removed, and attempted to enjoy our once-in-a-lifetime big day, but we were met again the next morning with the nightmare of what this place’s oversight has really caused. Family called and emailed all day, furious and upset that they were served a food against their religion. We were horrified to also learn that not all pork dishes were removed even after we confronted the coordinator – a potato dish with pork was left out for the entire dinner service. The coordinator didn’t even care to double check what exactly should have been removed once she received our initial complaint!
Furthermore, we also found out the next day that the sandwiches we ordered for the cocktail hour that had immediately followed after our ceremony included ham sandwiches, which were also eaten by our guests. From the buffet, only one dish was remade without pork (the spinach salad); the rice, something essential to any Indian function, was not replaced and left our guests without the most basic of all foods in their eyes; the deli platter was also removed without being replaced; and as I have already mentioned, the potatoes that contained pork weren’t even removed.
The only reparation offered to us upon confronting [redacted] at a meeting we had with their General Manager, [redacted], last week was $3000 (our total venue bill was over $17,000, with just the food cost even before the tax and 15% gratuity coming to nearly $10,000). This seemed like a slap in the face, especially since he qualified his offer and apology with attempting to claim that the coordinator, [redacted], reneged on her initial apology and now claims again that she never had any notes of “no pork.” Since their story keeps changing, and all staff we talk to seems unsympathetic and unwilling to refund us for a wedding day that was less than memorable, we have filed with the Better Business Bureau (although we are told this often results in nothing happening), have emailed several news channels, and have also lawyered-up. But it’s not enough.