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|DO NOT book your wedding here!!!
|any increases in price'. I asked for a copy of this form (as I had never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life!!) and was told they had no scanner to email me a copy. So I trudged up to the lodge to see a copy. On my arrival, there was what I can only assume was a freshly knocked up letter saying something to the effect of 'Dear XXXX, We have had to put up the cost of your package by £500. Yours sincerely, Canada Lodge (!). Nothing signed by us. No evidence it was posted, or received, etc. She also said 'I'm not going to let you look at my computer', despite the fact we hadn't asked to, but to me this suggests this had been written in the 30 minutes it had taken me to arrive. Again we had to argue wih them and they refused to back down, stating their costs had gone up by £3 per head with the caterers and they had to pass this cost on (though how 90 x £3 = £500 is still beyond me!), with the manageress saying in a very smug way 'Well, it's only 4 weeks to your wedding....you'll never find another venue now...'. Refusing to be blackmailed, I then asked how we go about cancelling (having had enough of dealing with them at this point) and all of a sudden she managed to 'negotiate' on the price and put it back down to the original quote. Absolutely farcical!
There are plenty of other issues I could mention but I think you get the point!
I must say, the actualy day went wihout a hitch. It's a beautiful place. But I would never book another event with them in a million years.
I recently bumped into an old school friend who is also getting married at Canada Lodge in a few weeks. Surprisingly enough, she's just received an invoice for £500 more than she expected....obviously a regularly employed tactic.
|Tracey M - 28/07/2012
|Canada Lodge Wedding
|Canada Lodge has a stunning setting with a large lakeside lawn and views over the lake to wooded hills. The gently rolling countryside around the venue ensures that no traffic (or even traffic noise for that matter) is apparent which makes it feel much more remote than it actually is.
There is plenty of parking available and plenty of nice locations within the grounds for photographs to be taken and, unlike some venues, they do allow the throwing of confetti.
The owners continue to spend money, time and effort in improving the venue, having recently (Spring 2010) replaced the gravel outdoor seating area with a block paved patio complete with chiminea and have frosted some of the windows in the downstairs Lakeside Room and built a fence to screen off the bin and catering van parking area to the rear.
The venue looked absolutely stunning on our wedding day with the flower beds and numerous window boxes overflowing with colourful flowers. I bumped into the owner a couple of times when he was there planting-up and his time and effort certainly pays off.
The upstairs Oak Room is very light and airy and its lovely Oak floors, vaulted oak ceiling and neutral-coloured walls ensure that the room works with any chosen colour scheme. It’s modern, uncluttered and has a lovely outlook over the lake, lawn and trees through the numerous doors and windows.
Like the Oak Room, the downstairs Lakeside Room is neutrally decorated with plenty of windows and doors and has great views to the lake.
The Bridal Suite in the attic (accessible from the car park) is a god-send for freshening up and for the bride and groom to catch 5 minutes alone with each other. We also found it useful in the evening for those guests with young children (there was plenty of room for us to put up a travel cot) and for nursing mothers to have somewhere quiet and comfortable to feed their babies during the day.
The venue does have some limitations however – despite a planning application being sought for several months for an internal staircase to connect the two floors, there remains only the external spiral metal staircase which is not ideal if it’s raining or you have frail elderly guests (though there is a lengthy path at the rear which can be used to get between the two floors and ensures that the venue is compliant with disability access legislation). There is a minor issue with having a wedding ceremony in the Oak Room - the bar is at the rear of it and as a result optics etc are visible in photos of the bride coming down the aisle – this could be somewhat screened off by placing large vases of flowers on the bar or professionally (but expensively) screened off by having a star cloth hung.
If you’re planning to have your wedding ceremony and reception here, make sure you understand and are happy with the wet-weather arrangements. The venue is great and versatile if it’s dry, as during the reception guests can move around and between several outside areas - the patio, the decking / bar area, the balconies and the lawn. The week before our wedding we were faced with a rainy forecast and it was only then that it really dawned on us how much that would impact on our plans for the day. We wanted to do a formal exit from the ceremony with a receiving line under the porch immediately afterwards to welcome everyone before our guests moved round to the patio for the drinks reception – had it been wet we would not have been able to do this and drinks simply would have been brought into the ceremony room on trays at the end of the ceremony. Having everyone stuck in the ceremony room for the drinks reception whilst the staff were also trying to clear away some of the chairs, would have been far from ideal for us. Likewise it would have been a shame if our guests only had the option of either being in the upstairs room or the downstairs room in the evening and were getting wet when moving between the two. Thankfully it didn’t rain on our wedding day after all so we can only really comment on how the venue works in the dry.
The venue worked particularly well in the evening with the bar, 5 tables and a large dance-floor in the upstairs room, the outside seating providing guests with quieter areas away from the music for chatting and the downstairs room used for the buffet. With the balcony wrapping around the building and multiple doors, it’s a great venue to circulate around and there are lots of different places for people to hang out. They have plenty of outside lighting so the outside space is fully useable long after it has become dark and the new chiminea ensures that guests also stay warm. Given the proximity of the lake, we put citronella candles on the outside tables throughout the evening to deter mozzies and we aren’t aware of anyone being bitten.
Canada Lodge have a designated catering supplier (Strawberry Field) which you have to use.
They offer a wide-range of menu choices and it’s not the usual wedding options. They also have some good alternate evening catering options if you do not want to go for the usual finger buffet - including hog roasts, platters of mini pizzas and cheese boards with associated breads, crackers, fruits and chutneys.
The wedding breakfast was hot, tasty, of good quality, nicely presented and generously portioned. We certainly feel that we received quality and quantity.
We were slightly miffed by the fact that they charge £50 for you to taste two options for each course. Given that we were spending around five and half thousand pounds with them we felt this tasting should be provided free of additional charge. That said, we also arranged to try 4 wines at the tasting and were expecting to be provided with a small amount of each to try then and there but we were actually given 4 bottles to take away and drink at our leisure making the £50 charge not so bad after all.
We did, however, have to query the final invoice as we had agreed in writing that 2 bottles of white wine and 1 bottle of red wine would be provided per table and that no further wine would be provided on the day without our agreement but we were charged for an additional 7 bottles of red wine. Thankfully we had photographs which showed that they had mistakenly put 2 bottles of red on some (but not all tables) at the outset of the meal so this was quickly and professionally rectified. Hopefully the other tables didn’t notice that they were getting less wine!
We had a very clear idea of how we wanted the venue set up and how we wanted the day to go and we provided Canada Lodge with clear written details. Despite this, a few things that we’d asked for, didn’t happen.
We had arranged that my fiancé would be dropping off the table plan, favours, gifts etc at 9am in the morning and we assumed that the wedding co-ordinator would be there to take receipt of these and have a quick chat about the arrangements. Instead my fiancé was told just to leave stuff on the bar and was told that the wedding co-ordinator wouldn’t be in until 11am. We had also agreed that the venue would be set up by 11.30am so that we could confirm everything was as we wanted it, but when I popped in at 11.45am to drop-off some final bits & pieces, the wedding co-ordinator still had not arrived, the ceremony room had not been set up and there were still flowers and rubbish there from the wedding the day before. We found this very stressful.
Canada Lodge is only available to hire for an entire day (there is no option to only hire for the afternoon). You therefore pay the same venue hire charge if your wedding starts at 3pm (as ours did) or at 12 noon. However, when we asked to have the venue set up by 11.30am they tried to charge us an extra £60 saying we were asking to have the venue set up “early” as they only set the venue in the 2 hours before the wedding! There was no way that we were going to pay an extra £60 to receive the same service and have people working the same hours as they would have done if we had decided to get married earlier in the day. If you are paying to hire the venue for the entire day – it should be set up for the entire day and if they are only prepared to set it up in the afternoon for a later wedding then you should get a reduced hire rate for only hiring it for the afternoon. It left a bit of a bad taste that this approach had been taken given that we were already paying £2.25k to hire the venue for the entire day.
Having had a wedding cake topper specifically made to look like us on our wedding day (including a replication of my wedding dress and showing I was wearing a veil and tiara and having my hair put) and having managed to keep this hidden from my husband-to-be for several weeks, I had specified in writing that the topper should be put on the cake during the ceremony (that way there was no chance of my fiancé seeing it when he arrived at the venue for photographs). Despite that instruction, the topper was on the cake when he arrived, he did see it and he knew what I would be wearing before I walked down the aisle. That did annoy me.
At the wedding breakfast, three seats were missing from one of the tables so we had to delay our entrance and our guests were left standing whilst chairs were hurriedly brought down from upstairs for them.
That said, the vast majority of things went smoothly – the venue was set up in time for our guests to arrive, the drinks reception went off without a hitch, flower arrangements were re-located as required, there were no issues with the serving of the wedding breakfast and all dietary requirements were correctly addressed, 2 birthday cakes were lit and brought out as agreed, sandwiches were provided to the string quartet and DJ as agreed, there was good staffing of the bar and no queues, all of our candles were put out and lit for the evening reception as agreed, the evening catering was provided on time and was well-presented and at the end of the night we were simply presented with a table near the exit with everything we needed to take away with us, which was great.
In summary, yes, there were a few things that went wrong on the day which should not have occurred and yes we had a few issues in the run-up to the wedding over additional charges. However, aside from the stress on the morning over the state of the venue and the absence of the wedding co-ordinator, we had an excellent wedding day. By the time you add the venue hire charge, the £150 wedding ceremony charge and the catering charges together, it is certainly one of the more expensive options around (but you do get exclusive use of the venue) but we would definitely recommend it – all of our guests commented on the wonderful venue and food.
|BM - 29/07/2010