Post # 1
Hi girls! my fiancé and I have just looked at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe, and I’m going back and forth between whether or not we would need to rent one or two sections of the ballroom. Right now, we have around 190 guests on the list, so realistically maybe only 160 will be able to come (I’ve been told to expect about 80% of guests to come).
Has anyone ever had their reception there, or has anyone booked it for an upcoming date? The girl there said that one section generally seats about 170, but I’m afraid we might be a little crowded and have less dancing room. I’m leaning more towards renting two sections (which would hold 300+), but then I’m afraid we may have too much space to fill. I don’t want the room to look empty! Any recommendations?!
Post # 3
I went to my cousins wedding there last august. My cousin rented one side of the room (i’m assuming) because the other side was another wedding. I will say our biggest complaint was my cousin had an open bar. the other wedding did not. and the open bar was in the hall way?!!!! so guests from the other wedding were coming over and drinking from my cousins tab. um, that doesn’t answer your question. from what i remember, she said she had 150 people. and i’ll say it sort of felt like the room was well filled out. i don’t think we could have fit more people with out it feeling crowded.
Post # 4
@Karaa14 My daughter had her wedding at the HGI during the fall of 2011 and she reserved 2 sections of the ballroom for her headcount of about 170. She too was concerned about crowding and this worked out beautifully! I believe there were 21 or 22 tables plus the bridal table. She had tables of 8 guests each. This worked out better than 10 guests per table – less crowding here too. She also wanted a larger dance floor because her group of friends are serious dancers. They were very accomodating and allowed this too. Robin and Meghan are the best – cannot reccomend them enough!!! The only drawback is the minimum dollar amount per section. But she found this at other venues too – standard practice at many. She used upgrades in food – i.e. martini bars and searing stations to make up the difference. By the way – she looked all over Pittsburgh for a reception venue – many country clubs and fancy venues. She wanted an elegant wedding but not at one of the same venues that everyone else was using. She didn’t really think of having a “hotel” wedding but when we visited the HGI we were so pleased and pleasantly surprised with all that was included she decided they could not be beat for the amount of standard inclusions that were extra at other venues. Nice thing to remember too – it was very convienient to have reception at a hotel because she had many out of town guests that like to drink and was concerned about them returning to hotel afterwards. They either went to Jacksons – great because they kept it open for wedding partiers that still weren’t finished after reception ended at 11:30 or they could go upstairs to their rooms – no worries about driving or shuttle buses!
She had 2 bars during the cocktail hour and reception which worked out very well. The top-shelf liquor was a plus. The drinks were strong – not watered down like we’ve experienced at other weddings. Nothing worse than cheap liquor and watered down drinks! She even added a martini bar that was loved, loved, loved by everyone! Bartenders were fantastic. Never slowed down the whole night and she had an extra hour added to the party, too. She did run into the combined wedding cocktail hour in the foyer issue, too. They said they would section off the foyer into two separate areas. Fortunately there was just her wedding that night but she did reserve the outdoor area that guests could visit too just in case there was another wedding besides hers. I would try and see if you could station someone between reception areas to avoid this problem – tell them why you are concerned about this.
So, all in all my daughter and our whole family were thrilled with the HGI and the staff. So accommodating in all our requests – way too many other venues wouldn’t let you do this or that – allowed us to customize her wedding to make it truly personalized. Every body else had so many silly restrictions/ridiculous charges that turned us off from booking them. The ladies at the HGI made sure that the day went just as my daughter had envisioned. Meghan checked up with us throughout the reception – always making sure we were happy with things without being intrusive. Saw her a few months later and she treated us like old friends! Even the servers were right on key – timed the dinner service perfectly – didn’t pull plates away before diners were finished, nor did they make us wait forever for the next course or hover around waiting for us to finish. (HUGE pet peeves of mine!) And they did so without being intrusive, too. Much more than one would expect from a chain hotel – once the word gets out – it will be difficult to find an open date.
Must tell you we are still getting compliments on the food two years later. My mother-in-law just commented last week on how fabulous the Yukon Gold soup with truffle essence was the best she ever tasted – and she NEVER has anything good to say about any food! Just make sure that you include instructions to chef as far as seasoning goes. My daughter said food was a little bland at menu tasting (they have to because some people evidently can’t appreciate food with flavor!) but took it up a notch for the actual reception. We have many friends who are well-versed in finer restaurants and a few friends that own restaurants and they too have stated that this wedding set the bar for food and drink. Even most of my daughter’s friends compare her food to any wedding they go to now! The searing station with baby lamb chops and the enormous scallops are still the topic of many a conversation. The bananas flambe show was as delicious as it was fun to watch. Guests said they were so impressed by the quantity and quality of dishes from the passed hors’ d ovuers to the specialty tea and coffee bar at the end of the night that they too compare every other wedding to this one.
Anyways – hope you have as great an experience as we did with my daughter’s special day. Good luck!!!
Post # 5
Thanks for the advice ladies! It was really helpful. I’ve narrowed it down between this and the Southpointe Golf Club. Time to make a decision!