- 9 years ago
I’ve never posted before, but after the wedding experience I had at a certain venue I thought it would only be responsible to inform anyone considering the HERLONG mansion as a venue of my experience.
I should preface by saying that the Herlong has long been a place of great significance to me. My husband and I spent our first anniversary there, we were engaged there, and now, we have been married there. We have visited the Herlong many different times, and I’m heartbroken to say that the place simply isn’t what it used to be. The house, once a beautiful place in our memories, is now the site of anger, frustration, and disappointment. The most heart-breaking thing is that what was once a site of romance has been ruined by our experience. Our only hope is that the current owners will retire, and someone new will take over the Bed and Breakfast.
I was married at the Herlong. I would NOT recommend anyone else getting married there. Here’s why:
– Primarily, the business owners were unable to give my husband a proper receipt for anything as we were leaving. There was some concern over a book keeping error on the part of the owner, and we were worried we were overcharged for several rooms. The best that was offered to us was a handwritten note explaining what was paid for. This seems an egregious oversight on the part of any business and it is symptomatic of the issues we experienced at the Herlong throughout our stay.
– The unprofessional attitude of the staff affected my family and friends. As a bride, the last thing you EVER want to hear is that your wedding party and extended family members overheard the caterer and the owner sitting in the LIVING ROOM of the mansion talking negatively about your guests. I was told by several different people that the staff was “trash talking” my family and friends. Unacceptable.
– Furthermore, the night before my wedding, there was a housekeeping issue with the heating. Half of the house was sweltering hot, half freezing cold. This in an of itself certainly isn’t anyone’s fault. HOWEVER, the owner called maintenance to come and fix it the morning of my wedding. This ment that as my wedding party was trying to get ready and dressed for the wedding they were ushered out of their rooms so that heaters could be fixed. I’m sorry, but when you are renting the ENTIRE house, they can schedule their maintenance issues so as not to conflict with the wedding. There were no other guests in the house, and it was inexcusable in my mind that my bridesmaids couldn’t get showers because there were men that wouldn’t leave their bathrooms.
– The breakfast also provided moments of grief. Billed by the owner on tripadvisor as a “country breakfast” in a “peaceful oasis”, we were served by a sweaty man in a dirty t-shirt and inapropriate sweatpants on our second morning. My father went to get himself a cup of coffee as he was out, and the man scolded him and told him to sit down. My father asked for a second piece of ham and he was told that he only paid for one serving and that was all he got. The breakfasts are quite small, particularly for “hungry men”, and to be treated that way over coffee and a piece of ham was abhorrent.
– There also seemed to be a complete and total lack of communication between the coordinating staff members. For instance, I was told by the caterer/wedding planner that when you pay for a wedding at the Herlong you pay for access to the long hall. We were told we could set up all of our things there and work through the night and day if we needed. I moved thousands of dollars worth of supplies and flowers into that room only to find out after that TWICE a day there was a yoga class held there. This not only meant that all of my things were completely accessible to perfect strangers, it also meant that I was ushered out of there the morning of my wedding for an hour while my then fiance and I were finishing bouts, bouquets, table settings, etc. This added unexpected stress to that morning, and I found it unbelievable rude that I wasn’t told of this from the start.
– The owner herself, was seemingly oblivious to the concerns that my husband and I had and were trying to express to her. She has, and I’m sure will continue, to pass the buck and blame the caterering staff, the maintenance staff, ANY other staff but her. I have a variety of problems with the caterer as well, but that’s not the subject of this post. What shocks me, is that as a buisness owner you are utterly unwilling to recognize that you might be doing something amiss. She was the one who orchestrated when the maintenance staff would arrive, she was the one who couldn’t give us a recipt, she was the one who strongly recommended the caterer, and ultimately SHE is the owner of this establishment. I was amazed to hear from a friend that the owner had contacted her after posting a negative review on tripadvisor. The owner had the audacity to tell my friend that none of the issues she expressed were her fault. Futhermore, she had the nerve to explain to my friend that my husband and I were perfectly satisfied with the service the Herlong offered. THAT IS NOT SO, and this is why I’m setting the record straight.
Finally, after my friend posted the negative review, I looked on tripadvisor. There are five “terrible” reviews four of them since 2008. It seems clear that we are not the only individuals highly disappointed by the current owners. They added drama, tension, and fighting to a day that is supposed to be the most memorable celebration in your life. After a year of planning, and a year of anticipation, it is a struggle to overlook the horrible things that I submitted my family and friends to by chosing to be married at the Herlong. The service there ruined my memories of the mansion, and they effectively ruined my wedding.
To anyone in Central Florida looking for a venue, I put one of my bridesmaids up in the Sweet Water Branch Inn in Gainesville. It is only 15 minutes from the Herlong, and my friend said it was beautiful. Furthermore, I spoke with the reception staff on several occasions and they were professional, kind, and more than willing to work with me when changes needed to be made. If you are looking for a B&B style wedding in that area, they might just be the place to go.
Thanks for listening, and congrats to all those still in the planning process! I hope your wedding is everything that mine, unfortunately, was not!
All the best,