Park Tavern's Garden Tent
vendor review: venue
how we found them
Jas and i went back and forth on venues i don’t even know how exactly we stumbled across Park Tavern. i think we had become desperate looking for a place and thought about the park, then the Tavern. i had attended a company function there a couple of years ago and remember the view was incredible of the gorgeous city. it would give us that garden/outdoor ceremony with an ever-ready rain plan, the tent. i ended up making an appointment with Bonnie who was kind enough to see me on a really busy day.
my maid of honor and i spent one Tuesday in the summer going to 10 venues. it was a long day, but really helped to narrow the options down. when we arrived at Park Tavern around lunchtime Bonnie was there waiting to show us around. she gave us the grand tour of the upstairs, the Piedmont Room, then the Garden Tent. she was eager to answer questions and very helpful. she was by far the nicest venue coordinator we had met that day.
well, the first tasting was absolutely horrible. the hors devours came out cold and a couple were not the ones we requested, we weren’t given the correct soup, the entree plates were sloppy and not fully prepared (the stuffed chicken wasn’t even stuffed). the dining manager seemed lackadaisical and without care. While we were there i couldn’t even express how upset i was. when we left, i called my dad in tears. after we arrived at home, we wrote Bonnie an email. she was quick to respond with her deepest apologies. she explained that the head chef had been sick that day. we had not been informed so when we arrived we were expecting Park Tavern quality food, but that had not been delivered. Bonnie told us to come back for a second tasting set for 2 weeks later.
during round 2, we were presented with pretty plates of food, all matching our requests with just the right amount of seasoning. the difference between the first and second tasting was incredible making it seem that the first tasting must have been a fluke. the head chef came to our table multiple times to ensure we were happy and to see if there was anything he could do. he was also incredibly apologetic concerning our first tasting.
last minute walkthrough/rehearsal
Bonnie emailed roughly one week before the final walkthrough saying the park was under construction and not to worry, the Tavern was doing everything to ensure it was still beautiful on our wedding day. to say that caused panic does not even cover the initial feelings, then i drove to park to see. it was completely torn up! This was a very unfortunate accident since the year earlier i was sold on Park Tavern because of the beautiful view of the park.
when we arrived for the walkthrough, Bonnie was just as nice as ever; we reviewed the guest count, food selection, specialty cocktail and linens. while we were there though, the ceremony location was being re-sod… 3 days before our wedding. we were given the option to keep the green garden fence they were using to “hide” the orange construction tape saying that the green fence would “disappear” in pictures. needless to say, that fence did NOT disappear. there was also trash and debris all over the ceremony location during the final walkthrough and on the rehearsal day, making my mom and i even more nervous.
when my mom proposed we receive a discount due to the construction in the park, Bonnie sounded like she would do what she could, but knowing full well they weren’t going to do anything. and in order to use the golf cart to reach the center of the park for better photos, we were asked to pay $25 to the Piedmont Park Conservancy before borrowing the golf cart. so not only were we not discounted for the delayed notification of the construction OR for the construction inconvenience itself, we had to PAY more to get the photos we were originally sold on when we booked the venue. this all was a little disheartening.
the day of the actual wedding, the ceremony space looked great, except the piece of sod Danielle stabbed and brought up on the way back down the aisle. the breakdown of the ceremony chairs during cocktail hour and dinner was done smoothly and quietly. Bonnie was always checking on me to ensure i didn’t need anything, water, a snack, anything which was incredibly kind. overall, we were very happy with how to space turned out. the lights looked lovely, the tables were neat and the reception area was clean. even the planters with their obnoxious hangers that were there during the reception had lost their hangers and looked much more elegant.
Bonnie even went above and beyond to accommodate two additional guests we had not accounted for and was immediately to my rescue when i mentioned it; she was something of a superhero i might say.
in-person Bonnie was always lively, professional and sweet. and over email, she was much the same. when we asked about anything leading up to the big day Bonnie was always quick to respond and ensure we had what we needed; extra tables, repositioned settings, room diagrams. the only need she wasn’t able to meet was the ask for a specific photo booth (stay tuned for a spotted! interview). she was able to explain why they couldn’t accommodate that one in particular and spoke with the vendor for us as well. she had said we could have any more traditional photo booth, but i just couldn’t bring myself to settle.
one thing we noticed that is consistent is the communication; we weren’t told that the head chef would be out on the day of our first tasting and we weren’t told of the construction on the park until one week before our event.
overall, Bonnie was fantastic to work with. she was always encouraging and trying to ensure we had what we needed. the owners of Park Tavern though did not meet our expectations. while we understand construction on the park is something that was out of their control, we feel the situation could have been handled differently. the venue is still a pretty place for a wedding and the staff was on top of their game on the day of ensuring our beverages were never running low and our plates were always cleared immediately. just make sure your event isn’t overlapping when there will be bulldozers around.
the concern with the food is one that is still semi-unknown. we still don’t know if the first tasting was a fluke, but do know that they have updated their tasting policies and those will be happening differently in the future.
photographer: Johnny Cheng Photography