Marriott Ruined My Wedding Night!

“I got married over Labor Day weekend in North Chicago, Illinois. We did a lot of advance legwork to set up a hotel for our guests that was close to the venue and convenient. Our wedding venue recommended the Marriott Courtyard in Waukegan/Gurnee. It was more expensive then the other hotels in the area and a bit further away, but they offered something irresistible– a free shuttle to and from the wedding venue for all of our guests staying there. Since we had been contemplating hiring vans to shuttle our guests around so no one would drive drunk, this was a no-brainer. Plus, the Marriott has a good brand name and we felt confident things would go smoothly.

I phoned the sales office and spoke to a lovely, competent sounding woman who told me that yes, the Marriott would provide shuttles to and from the wedding, and not only that, would set up a private meeting room for our “recovery brunch” the next day. She said the Marriott had a brunch buffet (with waffles!) from 9-12, and that we could have the private room from 9-1. In addition, she said our room would be free if 10 rooms were booked, and that the hotel would set us up with champagne and roses for our wedding night. Perfect. We confirmed the details, and reconfirmed several times in the weeks before the wedding. We gleefully urged our guests to stay at the Marriott.

Flash forward to the day of our wedding. I suppose I could have guessed there was a problem with the shuttle when I saw the maid of honor drop off a car full of guests, then turn around to pick up another load. I also might have guessed it at the end of the night when I was urging people to wait for shuttles that were promised to arrive at 11:00 and 11:20, and saw them still waiting at 11:30. Maybe the absence of anything in our room: champagne, flowers or a congratulatory note might have tipped me off. But I was clueless until the next morning when I went to the meeting room that had the sign with our names on it, found it locked, went to the front desk and was informed that they had the brunch and the shuttles for us on Saturday. The day before our wedding. They said these were the dates they had gotten from the sales office. The woman at the desk arranged for us to eat at the bar of the restaurant next door– we scrambled to call everyone we thought might show– and we descended on the understaffed and unsuspecting waitstaff.

On Thursday, new husband called the Marriott sales office to let them know all the ways they screwed up. The sales office had all the dates and times correct; they passed the blame to the hotel itself. The sales office called the manager of the hotel and promised we would hear from him. My husband called him directly when we didn’t. The manager apologized, asked us what he could do to make things right. We’ve asked for free hotel stays at Marriott hotels anywhere in the US for the rest of our lives. But I’m so angry, I feel like all our guests staying at the Marriott that night should get some kind of voucher as well. The manager said he’d get back to us. I figure this is just the start of our dealings with Marriott– the CEO should probably hear about this too.

I keep trying not to think about my father in the lobby waiting for a shuttle that never came, or what might have happened to friends and family who decided to drive after drinking because there was no shuttle to the hotel. These thoughts are overshadowing my memories of our otherwise perfect wedding, and I’m furious!”

Congratulations on your wedding, Natalie! Marriott’s executive officers should hear your story. Ole J.W. is pushing 75, so you may want to direct your complaint to his direct subordinate, Marriott President William Shaw. Call (301) 380-3000 and ask for his office. Tell your story to whoever picks up, though don’t be surprised if they’re less than willing to offer free lifetime stays.

(Photo: egvvnd)


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Good Lord, you’d think that once stuff didn’t start happening on the day before your wedding and nobody showed up that MAYBE they had the date wrong!

    Aim high- Ask for a free week at a marriott resort and a free night stay for every guest you had there.

    maybe even cry a little when you do talk to them… Nobody likes to hear a new bride cry…

  2. alext514 says:

    I can understand frustration with the hotel dropping the ball on your wedding day. That s awful and I can empathize.

    That being said I have to call foul on this one….

    Personal responsibility is a much overlooked character trait and the last paragraph illustrates my point perfectly:

    “or what might have happened to friends and family who decided to drive after drinking because there was no shuttle to the hotel.”

    It is the height of self centered idiocy to think that someone dropping the ball on providing shuttles justifies drinking and driving.

    Risking other people’s lives because you can’t figure out to call a freaking cab is not acceptable. If something had gone wrong it would have been the driver facing consequences not Marriott.

  3. Nilt says:

    Did she really expect free rooms for life or was that more of a starting place in negotiating? I suspect the latter but that’s not an appropriate way to ask to be made whole. As a business owner myself, I’d never even speak to someone asking for something so absurd.

    That being said, if I heard of a fiasco such as thing, unlike the manager (“what can we do?”) I’d simply offer the entire thing gratis. They did, after all, screw up one thing they simply can’t ever truly make right.

  4. ry81984 says:

    I would not ask for vouhers as that requires your guests to stay with the crappy company again to get any retribution. I would ask for a 50% refund for all guests money and since the bride and groom’s room was free I would ask for a free nice marriot resort stay for a few days in a location where air fare would be cheap, like vegas.

  5. morganlh85 says:

    I didn’t even read this whole story, and my first thought was “GET IT IN WRITING.” Don’t you watch People’s Court?

  6. katieisawesome says:

    I don’t understand how the whole ordeal would happen anyway, there has to be more to this story.. if a bunch of people are getting a room at a block rate how were the guests able to stay at the hotel if they had all been booked by the hotel for the night before. Also, it looked like the Marriott staff tried to make things better for you over the whole locked door thing by letting you go to the bar of the restaurant next door. I think asking for free hotel rooms for life is possibly the stupidest thing you could do as i’m sure people that have been within the company forever don’t get that. It didn’t ruin your wedding, your wedding had already happened and honestly if your upset because you didn’t get champagne in flowers that’s pretty sad, you got married! You were lucky enough to find a soul mate for yourself, stop dragging yourself down and start your life together on a better note than this.

  7. Buran says:

    “Free stays for life”? While I understand your frustration, I doubt their mistake was THAT severe. I hope they help you, but I doubt they’ll give you more than a free stay or two. It’s not like anyone was actually hurt here.

  8. joshieca says:

    I guess there is something to be said for being single!

  9. SybilDisobedience says:

    Wow, you have my sympathy. Did you get anything in writing from them? If so, it would give you leverage in the inevitable conflict over restitution.

    By the way, what on earth is going on in that awful photograph? The drunken leer, the tearful bride…it makes me shudder. I’m sure it’s relatively innocent, but ugh, what an icky pic.

  10. bravo369 says:

    free stays for life is a little excessive too but hey, if they’ll grant that then it’ll be worth it. Also, if they give you a free week’s stay at any marriott, make sure you see if there are restrictions. I got a free hotel stay once but I couldn’t use it on Friday-Sun or from May-August. It kinda ruined any chance of using that during any summer vacation.

  11. FatLynn says:

    I can’t decide if the overly dramatic headline is from this bride or from the editors, but Marriott did NOT ruin her wedding night. She freely admits that she didn’t even know about the problems until it was over.

  12. Sherryness says:

    Nothing’s perfect. And while I’d find having to scramble for transportation at the last minute inconvenient and a bit irritating, it’s nowhere near a fiasco. I personally wouldn’t let the fact that there was a mixup ruin the memories of my wedding just because I didn’t get a free “designated driver” so that my family could get their slosh on, which is what it sounds like you’re doing.

  13. ludwigk says:

    Free stays for life is not only excessive, but pointless from the perspective of Marriott.

    Since Marriott is a business, it is in there interest to do what is right to win you back AS A CUSTOMER. Free lodging for life guarantees that you will NEVER AGAIN be a customer, and just cost them some marginal amount for the remainder of your lives. I’d shoot for something more like a full refund for everyone, and maybe a few vouchers spread about.

  14. dbeahn says:

    Why in the WORLD would no one have confirmed all this with the Hotel itself? I know weddings are a busy time, but if you want the event to go off without a hitch, you book, confirm, reconfirm and then verbally double check with the hotel manager on duty that will be there when your services are expected.

    The biggest screw up here was that no one mentions ANYTHING about confirming with the hotel manager itself the day or so before the wedding.

  15. jamesdenver says:

    Agree with confirming. I confirm the even the most mundage things. Rental cars, airfare rez, and even Dr. Appointments the day before and/or day of (are they running on time)

    You’d be surprised how often something slips through the cracks and the time I save because of one quick phone call.

  16. peggynature says:

    I think the most irritating thing about the Marriott’s behaviour in this affair is that no one seemed to realize there was something odd when no wedding party showed up on the Saturday (unless by random coincidence another one did? I don’t know. They shouldn’t have mixed up the dates in the first place, in any case.)

    It might not have been a personal disaster for the bride or the guests involved (inconvenient, yes), but it seems like an amazing display of stupidity on the part of the hotel.

  17. Marcus-T says:

    Boy, Marriott sure sucks at weddings. The screw up they did for my cousins wedding two years ago wasn’t nearly as extensive, but they had double booked the private room for the morning after brunch.

    We were told to vacate; and making it worse, my one great aunt (age 85) had just arrived, and had a plate of food and was told “you have to leave right now!” by some jackass waiter. Thankfully they apologized and comped our breakfast and a few of the hotel rooms.

  18. smarty says:

    I’ve stayed in many suburban Chicago Marriot properties. They are usually staffed by high school or part time college students. The managers are usually late 20’s early 30’s. They usually don’t have full/part time shuttle drivers (the Courtyards in Chicago do not for a fact). They are driven by the same front desk staff part time college students, thus leaving a backup/second person to run the front desk by themselves (and during rush check in times, customers complain of course). Turnover is high.

    Not an excuse for Marriot’s lack of performance, but a little more research would have been appropriate. Booking an event like this at a JW Marriot or other equivalent hotel, you would have encountered more experienced hotel personnel with full time shuttle drivers. Also, a little less turnover, and more competence overall.

  19. I had my wedding at Marriott West in Wisconsin this summer. Everything went beautifully for us! We didn’t have any guests staying in the hotel, but we were able to negotiate a free stay in their suite on our wedding night. We had ordered french toast for the next morning, and we were told it was on the hotel.
    This situation does truly suck though. Bride’s maids shouldn’t have to shuttle guests to the wedding! The only reason I can think of for the mishap is that Saturday weddings are way more common than Sunday ones. I had my wedding on a Sunday as well. It does not excuse their behavior though!!

  20. cheezel says:

    Free stays for life is pretty excessive. They definitely screwed up but let’s be reasonable here.

  21. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    “We’ve asked for free hotel stays at Marriott hotels anywhere in the US for the rest of our lives.”

    You CANNOT be serious.

  22. cacic says:

    All of these details should have been provided in a written contract and confirmed by a deposit on the block of rooms. I would work directly with the manager of the property and the sales manager to make sure this is resolved.

  23. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    Free rooms for LIFE? And no one ever called them at any point during the day when the shuttles didn’t show up…TWICE…and the things promised weren’t in their room?

    Sorry, this bride(zilla) is way out of line. A wedding coordinator or maid of honor or SOMEONE should have called the first time the shuttles didn’t show up. Too many things went wrong to wait until the next day. I realize that weddings are overwhelming and there’s lots of stuff going on, but that no one contacted the hotel is ridiculous.

    She can ask for a free stay at a Marriott resort since no one at the hotel seemed to notice or care that no one showed up for the shuttles or breakfast when they had these services on the wrong day, and I would also alert the venue to the problems since they recommended the hotel and she wouldn’t have used it otherwise. But what she’s asking for it is way out of line.

  24. missdona says:

    The “free rooms for life” notion is absurd. The writer clearly doesn’t deal with the hotel industry very often.

    I think the mere request will make the manager/CEOs office laugh.

    I had my privacy violated in a hotel room once. A drunken man and women walked right in to my room because the front desk gave them keys. Even for that f-up, I didn’t ask for more than what I paid for my stay.

    ::full disclosure:: I didn’t flip the latch on the door, from then on, whenever I’m in a room I flip latches and put do not disturbs on the door.

  25. JustAGuy2 says:

    The OP sounds like this was all oral – doesn’t she have a written contract? What does it say? If not, why in the holy hell not?

  26. vonskippy says:

    Hahahah, sorry to see that the husband is already whipped. How pathetic when you judge “how special” your wedding is by minor external happenings (oh boo hoo, the shuttle didn’t arrive). It’s called being grown up and dealing with what life throws at you – get used to it.

  27. rbcat says:

    Wow, y’all are getting really harsh around here. Have all the stories of companies blowing up what they claimed they would do made everyone here so cynical that they have to blame the person who was wronged?

  28. jamesdenver says:


    I say give it to them. Make sure their first stay is in a high floor with balcony. Bulgarian hit man disguised as room services enters room and grapples and fights with hubby, wife smashes champaigne bottle over his head, but it’s no match. They both topple to the cement poolside patio to the shock and dismay of those sunbathing.

    Oh wait that won’t work. Then all surviving family members demand free nights for life.

  29. pureobscure says:

    I read the title expecting a real nightmare of a story. But this is just life. The entire Marriott chain probably deals with hundreds of thousands of weddings a year. And transposing dates is simply not worthy of a lifetime of free stays. They should consider themselves lucky if this is the worst thing that happened during their wedding.

  30. Buran says:

    @Marcus-T: Wow, what jackass reason did they have for throwing people out WHO WERE ALREADY SERVED and had a reservation!?

  31. MercuryPDX says:

    As I’ve witnessed countless times on Judge Judy and The Peoples Court, when a wedding is “ruined” like this the bride (who’s always more upset then the groom) demands blood and the first born of the party that wronged her. Unfortunately, it never works out that way and they only get the actual damages suffered without the $$$$ rider for emotional distress.I think that what the OP is requesting (Free rooms for life) is way over the top to even be considered by Mariott.

    No wedding, despite any planning by a fleet of wedding planners/coordinators EVER goes off without something wrong. It’s an emotional day, and the best way to mitigate mess-ups is to take them with a grain of salt, make the best of it, and move on.

    We don’t know all the details (signed contract? confirmation of dates and times?). In this particular situation, Mariott did screw up, but there’s no way to rewind history and change that.

    My advice is to take the emotion out of it, and ask for something reasonable to turn it into a positive. Why not ask for a free stay for a second honeymoon or special getaway for just the two of you including the champagne and roses… Maybe an industry discount on the airfare to get there.

  32. LTS! says:

    I’ll choose another branch of the story and pick at it…

    If your guests chose to drive to the hotel drunk because the shuttle didn’t arrive… they’re idiots and that’s certainly not Marriot’s fault.

    Anywho, yes, confirmation should have been made by some designated person the week of, day before, and with the hotel, no one else.

    Free hotel stays for life.. that’s funny.

  33. Buran says:

    @wesmills: Well, uh, “get it in writing” IS pretty common advice. Making that suggestion isn’t exactly the same as blaming them. They did confirm several times, and the hotel still screwed up.

  34. scooby2 says:

    Heh, this reminded me of my wedding night. The PGA tour was in town and the hotel we booked the suite at gave our room away (most likely to some golf person). I had even called the day before to confirm our late arrival and verify they had the correct credit card on file.

    We ended up staying at a Super8 or Motel6. I tore the manager a new one the next day and we ended up with a free night at their hotel in the same room and then he paid for a free night any where we wanted out of his pocket.

  35. DanPVD says:

    One thing that people should note is that this isn’t directly Marriott’s fault as they don’t own all of their hotels. You might want to research what company owns that Courtyard.

  36. sly100100 says:

    Seems to me someone from the wedding party should have called when they first noticed that something was wrong. A simple phone call could have resolved a lot of this.
    Yes the hotel screwed up on the dates, but it seems to me that some part of the story is missing.
    How did the hotel not notice the entire part the following day.
    I have had enough experience dealing with companies to know you can’t ask for something unreachable to help ease your suffering. Like free hotel stays for life! There is no way an employee is going to go to there boss with that request, they would be laughed out of the office.
    Start with a reasonable request and negotiate. Most employees will go to bat for a customer if the request is reasonable.
    Frankly I don’t think the hotel should do much more than say they are sorry and possibly offer them free meal at the restaurant.
    And if your guest are stupid enough to drink and drive well there is no excuse for that.

  37. andrewsmash says:

    Sounds like someone got nailed by sales. Having some background in engineering, you learn one thing very quickly, sales departments suck. They promise the moon without actually checking to see if it’s for sale, and then, once they get their commission, they are off to the bar (especially in industries with high turn-over). They only worry about losing repeat customers, so when they heard wedding, they knew it would be a one-off. If you wanted responsible service, you should have dealt with the hotel managers, not the sales staff.

  38. pine22 says:

    i understand that Marriott messed up, but asking for free stays for the rest of their lives is outrageous. like others have stated, perhaps asking for some kind of refund, a free second honeymoon, or some kind of small discount for your wedding guests would have been more reasonable.

    im all about free stuff when a company wrongs you, but that is just asking for way too much! i am finding myself unsympathetic to your case because of the ridiculousness of your request.

    i find it very hard to believe this “ruined” your wedding. i am willing to bet your guests, friends, family, etc, are intelligible people and would not think to drive drunk and just take a cab instead. if these thoughts “overshadow” one of the most special days you may ever have, well, i just dont know what to tell you!

  39. HotelHell says:

    I read that story and for the life of me I can’t understand why you didn’t call to confirm the details a couple days before the big day.

    Hotel staff are only human. If they were perfect, they sure wouldn’t be working at a Marriott. From my point of view it sounds like something was mistranslated between sales and the front desk. That should not have happened, but I think you are somewhat to blame for not calling to confirm.

    It sounds like the Manager was trying to be accomidating. Free stays for life is a bit much o ask.. I mean, I could understand that request for that if the Night Auditor sawed your legs off or something.

    Try calling the Manager back and appologizing for demanind such an unreasable request and then perhaps asking for the rooms to be refunded and maybe a weekend comped for you and the Mr. If he’s unwilling to do that, try asking for a partial refund, since your butts did occupy rooms for your entire stay, but still ask for the two nights comped. A partial refund is better than nothing!

  40. RDAC says:

    Well, as a wedding videographer, we have something called ‘errors and ommissions’ insurance so that, in the case something insane goes wrong (triple-failure of all cameras recording event, theft of equipment resulting in loss of footage, etc.), the party at least gets their money back.

    You can’t recreate the day, but you can offer an apology and that trivial expense of whatever was charged back if something goes wrong.

    I can see how losing out on a ‘perfect’ experience would make a bride ask for the impossible (lifetime free stay?), but ultimately people are just human and mistakes happen. Get your money back, get your guests a free night, and try to keep it in perspective…your guests arrived and left ok, you had a good wedding and married a great person.

    If your guests were intoxicated and really having issues, cabs could and should have been called.

    Overall, typically every mistake gets magnified on a wedding day because there’s such a high watermark in your mind. Just keep in mind that years from now, if the rest of your day was perfect, that’s the part you’re going remember. The hotel mistake will only become a sidenote in your memory.

    Many happy days, and congratulations!

  41. RDAC says:

    By the way, in your area there are several resources that could have helped you check up on the hotel.

    For one, never underestimate the experience of your videographer or photographer. They’ve been in more venues and situations than you can count, and would have known if the place was a known trouble spot.


    Illinois Videographers Association would have been a great place to start, and traditionally most are willing to share a great deal about the people they’ve worked with (coordinators, caterers, churches, etc.) at no cost to you, time permitting.

    For two, wedding coordinators are around for good reason. By taking off the responsibility of planning and acting as a point of contact for all the vendors involved, they could have been in touch with the staff and had it corrected the day of your wedding. I agree with the above posts (hosting a brunch and nobody shows up? red flag!), but still, having that coordinator probably would have been a good idea.

    Finally, the free shuttle and low cost would have been a red flag for me. Any time that you have a site with a shuttle point, there’s been a guarantee made by somebody somewhere (ie event location said they’d only recommend x hotel in exchange for shuttle service). I wouldn’t have taken it at face value, but then again, I’ve been around this stuff way too long.

    If you have to be your own coordinator, ask for and track down references, and not just the ones that they give you. Get in contact with local associations and anyone that may have done business with them to get the full picture.

  42. faust1200 says:

    Before you use the term “ruined wedding” go check out Kill Bill Vol. 2.

  43. Major-General says:

    The problem with free stays for life is…someone like myself would basically move into a hotel. Forever.

    But definately comped or vouchersfor another stay.

  44. MandM813 says:

    I don’t understand why some of you even read this website. You find whatever little flaw you can in the person’s post/request and turn it into an O.P. bashing party. I think the errors made by the hotel were very serious, and considering a wedding is a one-in-a-lifetime thing (or supposed to be, anyway), the Marriott should be EXTREMELY careful about these type of things. Yeah, we all make mistakes, but guess what? We all PAY for them, and so should they. They should at LEAST refund her all her money for the hotel stays and anything else that she paid those jackasses.

    Also, it’s very easy in hindsight to say “you should have done thing, you should have done that”, but many of us learn those things through past mistakes, which is probably how you learned them. I’m sure after this, she won’t be making the same mistakes again!

  45. MandM813 says:

    LOL, good point MajorGeneral. I would be living it up there too. I’d move to a different Marriott/city every month!

  46. Abbott says:

    “or what might have happened to friends and family who decided to drive after drinking because there was no shuttle to the hotel.”

    MIGHT HAVE—I don’t think she’s saying anyone DID make the mistake of driving drunk. It’s just those ‘what if?’ thoughts that scare people when the control is taken out of their hands.

    You guys are being unduly harsh to her!

  47. Trai_Dep says:

    This is simply proof that God hates heterosexuals marrying.

    PS: good luck, bride – it’s rotten.

  48. vealcalf2000 says:

    That’ terrible but I really don’t thinkg Marriot is going to give you free lifetime passes. LOL, may as well sell your home and go LIVE at the Marriot!

  49. erratapage says:

    I think the bride in this case was using the free stays for life as an opening bid to try to convey how devastated she was by the hotel’s failure to perform.

    In fact, I find it interesting that we’re so focused on the consumer’s greediness, rather than the hotel’s incompetence. I think it’s horrible that the bridal party had to drive shuttle to and from the venue. It’s worse that the hotel treated the bridal party so badly on the day after.

    The hotel business has enough competition that any bad press is enough to turn me off a property. I thoroughly read Trip Advisor and make decisions based on the bad reviews even more than the good ones.

    And granted, the wedding was obviously not ruined, but the hotel committed significant errors that would stop me from using Marriot for an event. Is it too much to ask for competence?

    Personally, I think the bride should be offered a complimentary one week VIP stay at a Marriot resort (like the one in Las Vegas). And the hotel should release a statement telling us how they are going to avoid errors like this in the future.

  50. artaxias says:

    The only thing that can ruin a wedding night is failure to consummate.

    Free lifetime stays is a ridiculous demand. For this kind of a scheduling error you should get 2 nights free – at most.

    Life throws all kinds of curveballs at you during marriage. If you consider this minor incident so troublesome, I can’t even begin to imagine how you will deal with serious, inevitable problems later on.

  51. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @erratapage: Yeah, that’s what I thought too. It’s like haggling: I offer to sell you a $20 widget for $50, you snort and offer me fifty cents, we bicker back and forth until we come out more or less around $20. I’m sure Marriott’s opening offer will be equally ridiculous.

    Now, I don’t know where some of the commenters here work, but if complete failure to provide several promised services to your clients is “not a big deal” in your organization, I imagine you must have outstanding job security.

  52. missdona says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: I can’t even see it from a haggling point of view. I think her opening bid should be “refund of all money spent + two weeks” or something like that.

    It’s still shooting high, but not as ridiculously unreasonable.

  53. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:


    speak on it!

    I worked in wedding catering for two years and it’s amazing the little things that people get hung up on. As someone else already said, the wedding is already over at this point. Do some legwork and double check nextime you have an event, jeez.

  54. deserthiker says:

    I had my wedding at Marriott and it was perfect. I have even had friends of mine tell me it was the best wedding reception they have ever attended.

    Here’s what I don’t understand about this story and why I wonder if the whole story is being told here.

    When we had our wedding we had to sign a contract with the hotel. We went over menus, table settings, seating arrangements, arrival times and yes, dates. The hotel cannot just say that sales gave them the wrong information: IT IS ALL IN THE CONTRACT! Now, if your contract has the wrong dates on it (and since most weddings are on Saturday) then it is not really the fault of the hotel because you never corrected them. If you did not show up on the day that YOU booked, it is not responsibility of the hotel to call you. People are no shows at hotels all the time.

    But if the dates are correct and the hotel screwed up in a MAJOR way than you are certainly entitled to JUST compensation. Obviously, free hotel rooms for life would not qualify as just. That would be like saying the price on my iPhone down and I want free phone service forever, plus a new computer. Fair compensation would be a refund of the money you spent and a REASONABLE additional compensatory stay at one of their hotels for you and your guests who booked rooms.

    I think you will find that a big company like Marriott will go out of it’s way to right a wrong, especially if is their fault. And even if is not their fault, they will try to be do something so as not to lose you and everyone you know as a customer.

  55. indiegeek says:

    @Deserthiker –

    The person in question didn’t have the wedding itself at the Marriot – they arranged for out of town guests to stay there, and were offered a package including the couple’s room, and brunch the following day.

    …and no, free stays for life isn’t just compensation, but if someone effs up my wedding in a similar manner, I’m starting off asking for free stays for life, the moon, and a blowjob in order for the company to come back at me with something resembling just compensation.

  56. jaubele1 says:

    This is where hotel segmentation comes into play, and having worked for Courtyard by Marriott (*not* a full-service hotel), and while the hotel clearly had an obligation to deliver on the services it promised, I’m not surprised that things went wrong.

    First, most of the sales functions for Courtyard are handled regionally (i.e. there is a central sales office for multiple Courtyard properties), and those sales folks are often some place *other* than the hotel where the guest(s) in question are at. So it’s no shock that there was “miscommunication” between sales and hotel operations.

    Second, “breakfast brunch”? At a Courtyard? The waffles are frozen dear, and the “banquet” room is usually a few hundred square feet in size (with a white board) — typically designed for small meetings, not wedding parties.

    Lastly, you shouldn’t have been surprised that no amenity was delivered to your room — it simply not SOP for these properties, which are designed to be low-cost alternatives for business travelers on a budget.

    So, for all you brides-to-be out there, if full-service is what you want then by all means find a full-service hotel!

  57. deserthiker says:

    I should have made my statement more clear. I had my wedding reception at the Marriott. My wedding was in a church.

    And also, what about the contract? Did they only book rooms at the hotel and then have a reception room or did they book a reception? The Courtyard seems like an odd place for a wedding reception because I’ve stayed at Courtyards and they’re kinda small. I didn’t even know they had banquet rooms. The story sounds kind of fishy to me and so I’m just wondering what they paid for and what they got.

    Did they pay for a reception? Were they just expecting a room for every one to gather and hang out? If they were just expecting a room to hang out in and had not booked a full reception with a meal AND PAID FOR IT that’s different. The hotel did host them in the restaurant. What’s the big deal?

    As far as the transportation goes, did they call the hotel and ask for it? When I stayed at the Courtyard in Portland once I didn’t even book ahead and when I called the hotel they picked me up.

    Something about this story doesn’t sound right to me.

  58. dbeahn says:

    @jaubele1: Wow, because of the way he wrote it in the letter (maybe on purpose?) as “Marriott Courtyard” I totally missed that this was a Courtyard by Marriott.

    I’ve stayed at a number of Courtyards, and I would NEVER think of the word “brunch” when booking a room at one of these places. They’re totally geared to business travelers, or as a budget alternative if you just need a room and no other services.

    I can’t even begin to believe that anyone would expect a place like that (I mean, they’re nice, but they are what they are) would even have the ability to put on a brunch. Clearly they didn’t bother to do any research at all, which is poor planning on the part of the bride and groom.

    “They arranged for us to eat at the bar of the restaurant next door”. Yes, that’s right – the place they were expecting to be served brunch in a “private meeting room” apparently doesn’t even have a restaurant in it? And this fact escaped their attention?

    This story is starting to sound more and more like they’re just looking for some freebies.

  59. formergr says:

    Or just are completely clueless about the hotels out there and didn’t understand (or research) what a Courtyard is– just heard MArriott and thought they were good.

    What do you want to bet that the “brunch buffet” was the make-your-own waffle, bagel toaster, cereal boxes, and juice and coffee machine that are always out for breakfast at a Courtyard? I think these folks just got snowed by a creative sales person…

    And deserthiker, for the third time– they didn’t have the reception at the Courtyard, they just arranged a block of rooms for their guests there and a shuttle. That’s why they needed the shuttle– because the reception was *somewhere else*.

  60. loueloui says:

    Okay, I’ll see your crummy wedding, and raise you about $5,000 in wedding gifts.

    My sister-in-law was getting married at the Mariott in Orlando, Florida. They had made all kinds of preparations, well in advance, and then about 2 weeks before the wedding the hotel was suddenly sold to Embassy Suites without anyone being notified, or any deposits being refunded, or reservations honored. After a mad scramble to get everything reset we finally had the ceremony there anyway since all of the wedding invitations had already been sent out, and flights, cars, and rooms were booked.

    While everyone was down at the reception a member of the hotel staff broke into the bridal suite, and stole all of the collective presents, along with the wallets, and purses of the wedding party. The manager of the hotel was an arrogant ass, and blamed everyone else, mostly us, and refused to offer any kind of compensation or even cooperate with the investigation by providing video or records of the electronic door locks.

  61. Jesse in Japan says:

    @loueloui: Now that deserves free stays for life.

  62. ian937262 says:

    this site is fantastic but the people who send in complaints are a bit too whiney. Free stays for life? Get over yourself. A complete refund for this experience maybe…

  63. Mr. Cynical says:

    I am actually going to come to Marriott’s defense here. I stay at Marriott’s practically every week. This year alone I’ve recorded 106 nights in Marriott hotels across the US (and Canada and Europe).

    While I sympathize with what happened to you, I would actually go out on a limb and say that somewhere along the lines you might be partially to blame. I say this only because in 106 nights so far this year, I’ve had ONE issue (related only to billing)- which was resolved within 1 day of me sending them an e-mail.

    And a lifetime of free Marriott stays? Plus compensation for your guests, too? With all due respect, you’re out of your mind.

  64. swvaboy says:

    I agree with most, free stays for the rest of your life is excessive, although I feel you are entitled to some kind of compensation.

    I have a couple of questions for you, what does your contract with the hotel say? Did you have the ten rooms required for the comps (roses, free private room)? Did you have to pay a deposit when you signed the contract?

    Not trying to sound harsh here but in my 15 years of hotel experience, currently Assistant General Manager of a hotel, I hated weddings. Maybe for you more than one thing went wrong, but in my experience a table could be off center by 6 inches and The Whole Wedding was ruined, or a bride wants a Waldorf Astoria wedding on a church basement budget. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have refused all weddings just like I refused all beauty pageants.

    I think that, from what I have read, that refunding your brunch charges and giving you a free weekend would be more than adequate, unless you have the contract with everything specifically mentioned with all times and dates correct, signed by you and the hotel.

    Just My Opinion.

  65. swvaboy says:

    @loueloui: The manager of the hotel was an arrogant ass, and blamed everyone else, mostly us, and refused to offer any kind of compensation or even cooperate with the investigation by providing video or records of the electronic door locks

    Did you call the police? That is the first thing we do when someone reports a theft, then as soon as they get there we read the lock. How did you find out it was a hotel employee without have the log from the lock? If it was an employee of the hotel then the hotels insurance probably would have kicked in; but there is that pesky notice at check in (when you sign) and posted in the room, that the hotel is not responsible for anything left in the room, anything of value has to be placed in the hotel safe.

    As for the hotels name changing, that happens hundreds of times a month and usually the employees do not even know until a day or so before.

    Just My Opinion.

  66. deserthiker says:

    Oh, I get it now. Let me see if Ihave this correct.

    You did not have your wedding at the Marriott (read: Courtyard).

    You did not have your reception at the Marriott.

    But you failed to get a FREE shuttle to the hotel, which you failed to book directly with the hotel and that no one called for when it didn’t show up.

    You failed to get you FREE gathering area although they did get you a place to get together.

    What other FREE thing was there that you failed to get?

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of the old adage, “You get what you PAY for” but it seems to fit here.

    It is also fitting that you’re using a hyphenated last name because you seem a bit wishy washy.

    Remind me now, how did Marriott ruin your WEDDING?

  67. Auntie M. says:

    For what it’s worth, the bride posted this on metafilter, and did post again that she posted “free rooms for life” when she was very emotional and angry, and realizes that that’s not at all reasonable. She was just asking for help in how to deal with the problem. How about some constructive comments?

  68. brennie says:

    “Waldorf Astoria wedding at church basement prices” made me laugh out loud. that is exactly what is going on here. The brides (who admits she did not even know there was a problem until later) seems to be outraged on the behalf of people who are not outraged at all (her wedding party). She should be happy that her freinds and family esp. bridesmaids stepped up and did exactly what you do on your best friends big day – whatever is required. As a many times bridesmaid that is your job. Roll with the punches, fix the problems, drive the drunks, hide the broken centerpiece, etc. etc. etc. If you’ve got the right friends on board, who needs an expensive wedding planner? The day should be all about everyone pitching in to make is happy fun and seamless as possible.

  69. Mary says:

    You know, this is why people should confirm things, get contracts, AND call the front desk. Plus you know, alerting somebody the SECOND something goes wrong.

    I used to work as the go-between person from the sales office to the front desk. The sales office would promise ANYTHING to get a customer, and I mean anything. Then they would proceed to never tell the proper people what they’d promised, and we had angry brides descend on us all the time yelling that they’d been PROMISED this or that.

    That’s all well and good, but when maintenance didn’t know to do something, they can’t very well do it.

    Not saying this woman doesn’t have every right to be angry, just saying that if somebody reading this wants to avoid similar problems they should try to confirm things with the front desk as well, and should also notify someone the SECOND something goes wrong, so that the sales person can be called and the front desk staff can spend their weekend trying to fix the sales staff’s mistakes.

    I’m sure you can tell I hated that job. More time was spent placating people when it should have been spent communicating.

  70. deserthiker says:

    I’m sorry. Marriott ruined my wedding night did not sound to me like ” how do I deal with this?”.

    She should’ve contacted J. W. Marriott and plainly and simply stated how she did not receive the freebies she was promised BEFORE trashing Marriott with an emotional rant.

    When writing here’s s tip. Start directly with what went wrong. State simply why you were disappointed for not receiving what was promised. Then mention something positive so as not to show you only see the negative. Finish by saying how the disappointment of not having expectations met will effect how you view Marriott in the future. Await a reply.

  71. dbeahn says:

    @deserthiker: Exactly. Since there was so much free stuff they failed to get they should be entitled to get back what they paid for the stuff they didn’t get.

    SO – paid $0.00 for shuttle, meeting room, in-room free stuff. Marriott OWES these people that $0.00! Damn it, Marriott needs to cut them a check for $0.00 RIGHT NOW!

    I still can’t believe no one in the wedding party even bothered to confirm with the hotel. If this bridezilla wants to be angry, then she should be angry at either herself, or whoever was in charge of making the arrangements with the hotel. A simple confirmation call 24 hours ahead of time would have taken 2 minutes and avoided the whole mess.

  72. CoffeeAddict says:

    I have seen a great many wedding ruined by Hotels. Many hotels and and their sales team don’t really speak to eachother. Although this is hindsight it would have been best to deal directly with the hotel. I do think the hotel screwed up royally and should be making repairations. Lifetime pass to all hotels is a bit much but I can understand feeling that way.

  73. Buran says:

    @mrnikl: “This didn’t happen to me so it couldn’t have happened to you! I wasn’t there but I still know better!”

  74. lychnismint says:

    It seems that the wedding guests are the ones that should be compensated. They were encouraged to stay at a hotel that was more expensive because of the free shuttles and brunch. A refund of 30 dollars or so should be just compensation for having to find their own ride to and from the wedding venue.

  75. Smashville says:

    Free lifetime stays because they didn’t send free shuttles, give you
    free flowers and free champagne and gave you your free lunch in the
    wrong room? Does anyone else see what’s wrong with this?

  76. Ola says:

    I agree that the Marriott obviously did not live up to their end of the bargain. However, they did *not* “ruin her wedding night”. That’s inaccurate, Consumerist.

    And, what smashville said. There is probably something due to the wedding guests bcause of the no free shuttles, but asking for a lifetime of free stays because you didn’t get precisely what you wanted is crazy. Negotiate a REASONABLE deal, and get over it. I know it sounds harsh, but there is so much more to life than dwelling on what went wrong instead of what went right.

  77. Trojan69 says:

    @jaubele1: I don’t care if you are a McDonalds. If Filet Mignon is contracted for, you damn well deliver filet mignon.

    Having managed a front desk at a full service hotel, I can all but guarantee that this was a sales department screw-up. Countless times we would be given bad info, or worse, no info, about an event. But when it came time for accountability, sales managers were largely exempt. It was stunning and it was frequent. This was also the norm across other hotel brands and regions.

    Other than comping a ton of room charges and whatever food & beverage was consumed, I don’t know how much more Marriott can be expected to pay.

  78. Mr. Cynical says:


    I didn’t have to be there to know that the disparity between what happened to this lady and her emotional rant/demands are ridiculous.

    I never said it didn’t happen, but based on my extensive experience with Marriott, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bride was somehow partially at fault. Maybe she misunderstood the sales rep? Maybe she had overly-grand expectations? Add that to her gross over-reaction, and I’m happy to take Marriott’s side on this one.

  79. swvaboy says:

    I agree with several posters that the Sales department forgets something. Not to excuse them but it happens; that is where the contract comes in. Also, a call to the front desk/reservations to the hotel (not the 800 number) to inquire about the wedding and the plans does not hurt, you should not have to take this step, but like I said accidents happen. Also about this being the most wonderful day of your life, unless you hire a professional wedding planner (not only to book your wedding but to be with you until the reception is over, use a 5 star hotel, hire runners yourself for the little things that pop up, and plan on spending around $15,000 to $20,000, things will not be perfect and even if you follow my previous advice, things still stand a chance of not being perfect. The first hotel I worked in would use a long string from on side of the room to the other to line up forks, knives, water glasses, wine glasses, etc and sometimes things did go wrong and there was great communication with the Sales staff and the rest of the hotel from the Doorman to the PBX operator. This hotel strived for perfection

    I still would like to know if she had a contract and if she had the required number of rooms. Also, how many people where working on the details with the hotel, one person or where there 3 or 4 calling the sales department?

    Courtyard Hotels are geared to corporate travelers, may because I am in the hotel business I would not put my wedding party in a corporate hotel, I would choose another Marriott brand or a hotel geared toward leisure travelers.

    Sorry for the long post, but the mountain out of a mole hill sounds like it will fit, and after bring in the hotel business for 15 years, I have seen this and dealt with this too many times to count. I am NOT excusing what happened, if it was in the contract, but focus on the good of the day, enjoy your honeymoon, and then call the hotel or Marriott Customer Care when you have cooled of a little. You as well as many people may not like the following but, if someone calls me screaming and demanding, I immediately put up my shield and do the least possible for them. If they call and just give me the facts as they are, give me a chance to investigate, they will get a lot more. Don’t forget, the hotel figures out if you will ever be back at their hotel before they offer something in return.

    I stand with Marriott on this.

  80. Mary says:

    @Trojan69: “But when it came time for accountability, sales managers were largely exempt. It was stunning and it was frequent. This was also the norm across other hotel brands and regions.”

    Exactly. That would be why I don’t work at that job anymore. I got fired because I refused to play by that rule, and consistently got blamed for sales department mistakes, and was more than willing to speak up and say that it wasn’t my problem they didn’t do their jobs. I wasn’t a “good fit” for the position because I disagreed with the decree that sales could do no wrong.

  81. vdragonmpc says:

    Actually Marriot is just a bunch of mistakes always looking to happen. Case in point: (this should get its own post) I am a part of a large Animation Convention that comes to Richmond Virginia. For those that dont know Richmond has a bright shiney new convention center and they REALLY want people to come and have events there (yes thats sarcasm)..
    We tried for 2 years to work with these ‘business people’ and found them to just be sadly incompetent. The Marriot the first year ‘forgot’ we had an after convention banquet and had no food or staff on hand. We were served ‘finger foods’ for dinner, as in chicken strips and fruit salad.. They had some kind of rodeo people staying at the hotel and they were wandering around drinking in the lobby. Not a problem at a club but we had a lot of younger people attending the convention and it was truly creepy to see a drunk cowboy hitting on teenage girls and to see them peeing in the parking deck. Marriot responded to convention management complaints by locking access to the hotel from the convention center and generally being rude to convention staff.
    Year 2 was better. They lost the reservations for the convention guests. (this past june) They pounded on room doors and forced thier way into rooms insisting on ‘guest counts’ at 2am. They again had drunks wandering their lobby (a wedding reception) were they had mixed drinks and open beers even out on the street outside. Then what really burnt people up was the ‘how to be rich’ seminar was in a ballroom so for 70 people they shut the hallway you have to pass through to get to the convention center forcing people to exit the building and go around outside to the convention center (not a nice walk at night) What added to the insult was the security staff’s attitude. Which was set upside down by convention security who happened to be off duty Richmond city police..
    I think the only positive thing I can say about the Marriot in Richmond VA is that it fits in with the city itself… Richmond does everything it can to be unwelcoming to customers from non-existant parking to rampant crime. There is nothing like your car having been broken into while you eat dinner and you find a parking ticket on the windshield from the meter maid where you were .5 seconds over your time! (1 hour parking) Sweet!

    After the class act offered by the Marriot The convention has moved to Northern Virginia at the Hyatt. Marriot can wonder why people dont stay there and the convention center can wonder why its empty…

  82. gruffydd says:

    Wow….If you have ever planned a wedding, you would understand how you want everything to go right. Guests, family and friends have spent alot of time and money, and you want to make sure that they enjoy the festivities. Shuttles may not be a big thing to you, but evidently, it was to her. I agree she should have had everything in writing (if she didn’t), and should have went through a checklist to make sure all bases were covered, but I can understand her frustration. But, lifetime stays at the Mariott is an excessive request.

  83. kellyd says:

    Most brides are like people who go to the DMV–they want to have something “ruined” so they can make a huge deal and excessive demands.

    This woman did not plan the wedding, obviously. She probably bargained for the extras in order to get the hotel to compensate her for her business. They promised her some free stuff and only delivered on part of it. I’ve planned large events since college and there’s no way she did enough in advance to make sure things would go smoothly. If she couldn’t afford a wedding planner, she could have at least had a good friend or two divvy up the responsibilities to be certain everything was in place at the hotel itself, not over the phone. She should have seen the banquet room and what sort of brunch it would be. Someone should have confirmed in person with the desk on the day before the event that the shuttles were scheduled.

    You do get what you pay for, as someone so wisely stated. And she didn’t get what she didn’t pay for. To ask for additional freebies after not getting the freebies you thought you’d wrangled from them is absurd, especially free stays for life. She really should have waited to grow up before getting married.