- Yik Cheng
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: September 2011
We had a horrible experience with Lobo Castle. Lobo Castle is no longer our wedding venue. Everything went downhill when we chose not to use their catering. We told them from day one that we might choose another catering service, but somehow she thought we would choose her for sure. We also had multiple contract and hidden fee issues. When we tried to confront them with some of the things that are not in our contract, they said it’s because they says so and it will be put up on the website. They then said that if we don’t like it, we could have our money back that we had paid for the deposit. We chose to get our deposit back, but they only gave us half of it. They claimed her and her assistant spent time and effort on planning our wedding and they felt they deserved it. If Lobo Castle denies this, we just happened to have almost everything in emails.
(Please notice the dates and the time in between the dates.)
The venue-Good: Lobo Castle is a very beautiful house/Castle. The bride’s room (which is the owner’s room) makes you want to stay there forever. All the rooms and spaces have very interesting furniture and details that you could tell the owner spent a lot of time on. It is also in a very nice neighborhood. You get to rent the castle 8 hours or more for a day which most other wedding venue only gives you 6 hours. Lobo Castle is best for photos, film or a very small gathering.
The venue-Bad: Lobo Castle is a big house/Castle, but not a mansion. It might be a little crowded if you have more than 100 guests. They only really have two spaces that seem to fit larger groups; the front yard and side/back yard are large enough to where you would not feel crowded.
Ceremony- If you are planning to walk down the aisle through the middle to the castle for your wedding ceremony, there will be some problems for you. First, one side of the front yard is going downhill. Either the bride side or the groom side will have fewer chairs. Of course, you can pay for their platform for $400 to make the floor flat. The front yard flooring is not grass but dirt. Wearing open toed shoes might be a problem with the dirt.
Catering/Reception- On Jun 11, we sent an email to Lobo Castle. One of the questions we asked them was if Lobo Castle Charged for bringing in an outside caterer. She sent us a reply back that day. She said “You can bring in an outside caterer but remember we do not provide anything other than the location.” On Feb 2, she sent us another email. She said “It is a $500 up charge for you to use your own catering.” We had already got a caterer after knowing we won’t be charged. In the end, she said she is waiving the $500 up charge for using another caterer because it wasn’t in the contract, but she will have to charge our caterer if they use her electricity for $250.
Reception-California is sunny most of the time. There is no indoor area for ceremony/reception unless maybe you have less than 30 guests. You will probably want to rent table umbrellas for your guests eating outdoors. They do have some trees for shade, but the trees are further down the hill.
The main stairs in the castle are super awesome looking, but a little slippery and narrow. As for being handicap accessible, you may want to find a different venue. There are no ramps, and their only option we were given (have a handicap quest) for escorting a handicap individual is to pull/push up a very steep hill driveway, around the backside of the venue, through the car garage, down a few steps and through an uneven terrain. That’s to get to the backyard area. As for the bathrooms, there are multiple stair obstacles. If you don’t have any handicap guests this is not too big of a deal, but if you do, you can imagine the amount of stress you would be putting that person through just to navigate your wedding.
BAR-Their bar package is expensive but somewhat acceptable. What was unacceptable was that every bar set-up fee is $150. We wanted to have open bar during cocktail hours at the small side yard, reception at the front, and dance hours at the upper side yard. $450 total to have the bar set up 3 times.
Dance area- It is probably a bad idea to have your dance area at the front of the Castle, because they said their neighbor hates noise. We chose to have our dance hours at the upper side yard “flat” deck. The “flat” deck is not flat. I believe it’s called natural stone floor tile. All other area’s you will need their platform to put the dance floor. The dance floor is $400 for the platform and $300 for the floor.
Parking- We asked about the parking situation on day one. She said it is very easy to park on the street. We could rent their kilted guards to help out with parking or we just need to tell our guests to park on the street. Six months later, she came back and told us: “If your guest list is 120 or higher, you must hire valet. If your guest list is closer to 100, we would allow you to use our Kilted Guards as your parking aide.” She said we have to use their Valet. Valet estimate is between $600-$800 or the cost for two guards is $250. We tried to reasons with her that this is the first time hearing about having to get a valet/security for the street parking. It was only ever explained to us as an option. Also this is not stated anywhere in our contract. We would have been using a shuttle service for guests that are staying it a nearby hotel…etc. Later, she send us another email saying “Value/shuttle- It clearly states on the website that parties with over 30 guests must use a value. This has always been the case and it is not negotiable.” (Their words, we believe they meant valet)
Lobo Castle website is constantly changing.
Now their website says “There is no parking available on neighboring streets. Guests are valet-parked at location or shuttled from a nearby parking area. Events over 30 Valet service is required due to space and neighborhood limitations.”
If you search around the internet about Lobo Castle wedding venue, you will find this: Valet, Shuttles can be arranged. Parking for up to 50 cars nearby. This info about parking will probably be different very soon after they read our feedback.
Restroom- On Mar 29, 2011, she sends us an email. In the email she said if we have over 120 guests, we are required to rent port-a-potties. We told her our estimate is 100 guests from day one, and we also told her we might have 130 guests in February. Lobo Castle kept adding new fees and it was driving my fiancé and me insane. We rented Lobo Castle to be our wedding venue because it’s beautiful, we did not want to ugly it up with port-a-potties in front. We tried to reasons with her again, and her reply was that she was only suggesting. She said “I agree you were not told you had to do this and it is not on the website (but I am adding it today). Because I am trying to be fair I will leave it up to you whether you have them or not. If you feel you are being treated unfairly and that this is not the venue for you please let me know and I will refund your money. I want your wedding to be a happy experience for you so let me know what you decided.”
In the end- We had decided we want our money refund to us as she offered, because we were worried that there will be more hidden fees coming from her. On April 6, 2011, we asked for our refund. On April 10, 2011, she sent us an email. In the email she said “I am going to send you a refund of $500.00 of your nonrefundable $1000.00 deposit. After giving this matter a lot of thought I feel it is only fair to keep $500.00 for the time and effort that Jenna and I put towards planning your wedding. I hope you agree our time is worth that much.”
A few days after that we received another email saying that they sent us the check for $500, without any kind of agreement from us on whether or not we thought it was fair. A couple of days later, we received a $500 check in the mail. After the first few emails with added fees, we began feeling like we were less important to the venue; by the last email we knew we were not important. Our parents felt the same way and we also thought they may have had a better offer for the day and was trying to run us off, or they were scared about the handicap guest. You need to feel comfortable with your venue. Don’t be afraid to talk to them, and if your still uncomfortable and feel like your treated unfairly find a new place. The stress the two of us went through was agonizing. We don’t want anyone else to go through it either. Get a thorough and clear written contract; a webpage is not a proper form for a contract. They can be changed in an instant and you would not be able to prove older statements.
We signed the contract with Lobo Castle on Sep, 4 2010. Our wedding date is on Sep, 3 2011. April 22, 2011 we deposit the $500 that she refunded to us.