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Wickliffe House / Wedding reception fiasco

178 Ashley AvenueCharleston, SC, United States Review updated:
2.75
Contact information:

My daughter's wedding reception held at the Wickliffe House in Charleston, SC from 6-10 pm in November of 2007 ended rudely, suddenly, and much earlier than expected when the police arrived to fine our band for a noise ordinance. Our written contract with the Wickliffe House stated there was an 11 pm noise ordinance, so we were totally unprepared for such an ugly incident disrupting our celebration. We were totally abandoned and left on our own to deal with the police during the incident by the Wickliffe House management. We were pulled away from our guests, and we have never to date received any sort of explanation, apology, or attempt to explain and perhaps try to right a terrible wrong.

Because of the amount of money, energy, and planning that went into making the reception a memorable event, we feel cheated out of the last hour of the reception. We paid dearly to hold our reception at the Wickliffe House for four hours, and simply because of the Wickliffe House's negligence and irresponsibility, our reception was cut painfully short. With this said, it is not about the money. We are disturbed that no one representing the Wickliffe House has made any effort to contact us in any way!

When the police came initially to issue a warning about a noise complaint, the Wickliffe House management did not tell my daughter, my husband, or me about the warning. We were all unaware that the police had ever come or that there had even been a warning. Someone representing the Wickliffe House told the band simply to turn the volume down. So when the police returned a 2nd time, it was to our complete surprise. The band was not only forced to stop playing, it was fined. The fine obviously resulted in an immediate and abrupt end to an otherwise extraordinary reception. My daughter and her fiance didn't get a chance to have a last dance or throw the garter and bouquet or even speak to all the guests before most people left.

The police in issuing the citation told us that there was an ongoing problem with the Wickliffe House in violating the noise ordinance. No one representing the Wickliffe House mentioned anything about this noise problem to us even though my daughter was in constant contact with someone either in person or through phone or email making arrangements before the wedding. There was ample time to discuss any potential noise issues with an outside band.

On top of the frustration with the unexpected ending to the reception, the Wickliffe House had promised my daughter a nice box full of wedding reception food to take with her. The manager explained to us prior to the reception that they did this as a courtesy to the bride and groom who usually didn't have time at their own receptions to eat. What my daughter got was obviously thrown together hastily at the end of the abbreviated evening, was certainly not what we had been promised, and was not even edible.

My daughter has contacted the Wickliffe House with our issues and complaints to no avail. No one has chosen to respond to her not even with a simple apology.

This complaint is notice and warning to others to beware using the Wickliffe House for any type of reception in which you might be having a live band.

Also, beware promises not made in writing. Make sure to get something on paper to define how the Wickliffe House addresses disputes about the actual event (we had excellent contact before the event but none afterwards), and be sure to get the contact information for who is actually responsible for the business of the Wickliffe House, who handles complaints.

The food at the reception was extraordinary; the workers were friendly and efficient. I would not be writing this criticism here in this forum (and preparing to look for other forums as well) if someone had been professional and responsible enough, if someone had simply cared enough, to contact us to discuss our issues.

So, this is also a criticism of and a warning about the lack of professionalism exhibited in the management of the Wickliffe House. While the facility may be a beautiful place (for now) in which to hold a wedding reception, it is evident not only in the lack of upkeep of the grounds and house but also in the lack of responsible, capable management of the business that externally as well as internally the future of the Wickliffe House is not in good hands.
Va
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Dg
  21st of Apr, 2008
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
I find this recount of the story extremely difficult to believe. There is critical information missing from it.

For example, what type of music was the band? Was the music offensive in nature? Was the band drinking during the wedding? If yes, was the band drunk and thereby becoming more offensive? If any of the above is true, perhaps the band chose to ignore the Wickliffe House and/or the police the first time. A stereotypical band who perhaps saw themselves as being creatively stiffled by turning down the music chose not to comply.

Who was their Wickliffe House representative? Having had a wedding there, you are assigned someone from the Mediterra team, yet you do not mention a name.

Were the bride and groom intoxicated? I am sure this would be denied in a rebuttal, but if they were then perhaps they were told of the disturbance prior but chose to ignore the Wickliffe management. Were other members of the wedding party assigned to deal with the band, but chose not because they were intoxicated?

Then anyone who has been to the Wickliffe House will find it hard to believe that you did not notice a police cruiser with its lights on (or even off) parked in front of the Wickliffe House. All of the downstairs windows face the street. The outside lawn where a band might set up faces the street. In fact, just about everything faces the street or the very small main drive. Considering you said the wedding was in November, there would not have been foliage to obstruct your view. How did you miss the police cruiser? How did someone... anyone from the wedding party or families miss the police cruiser?

Lastly, you complain about a wedding in November, yet post in March (almost April). Why? I'm guessing because you are having some sort of monetary remorse akin to buying a new car and want to vent.

If you truly feel outted of dollars and expense, the court system (small claims in the case of a small fine) or the Better Business Bureau seem like the most plausible outlets. Yet, you chose a random Internet forum. I guess because you knew you were complaining for the sake of complaining.

Or think of this, the Wickliffe House hosts roughly 3 receptions/events a weekend at 52 weekends a year for a total of 156 events at night. Yet, you are the only complaint (none on any of the major wedding forums) against them that I can find. So, 1/156 = 0.6% had a bad time. Or, 99.4% love the venue.

People reading this person's complaint should take it with a grain of salt.
Th
  22nd of Apr, 2008
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
The City of Charleston's noise ordinance states that while all loud music must cease by 11:00 p.m. citizens have the right to complain at any time of day regarding noise they deem unneccesary and intolerable. The posted incident was the first time during the Wickliffe House's four years of operation that Charleston Police have issued a citation for loud amplified music on its grounds due to neighbor complaint. Since then, its managment and company owners have been working tirelessly with the City of Charleston Police Department and City Council members to keep The Wickliffe House and other historic properties in downtown Charleston neighboring residential areas enjoyable event venues. In conjunction with these parties, a recommended decibel level has since been determined for entertainment vendors to use as a guideline when playing amplified music outdoors; vendors and clients are notified of these regulations prior to booking events; and the Wickliffe House rental agreement has been revised to reflect these regulations.

We continue to keep in close and regular contact with City of Charleston Police Department to ensure that all guests and neighbors of the Wickliffe House are respectfully minded and to ensure that private events can occur without disruption.
Ms
  19th of Sep, 2008
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
I have been involved in planning and catering many weddings and have seen the kind of outcome described by the complainant. When there is excessive drinking by the wedding party, non-compliance by a band that has been told to turn it down with a police visit, culminating in a citation and the ensuing bad blood - you can bet that the wedding party will work their darnedest to discredit the venue, rather than taking the majority of the blame, "tucking their tails between their legs" and letting it go quietly! Now I wonder about their character more than I do about the venue management. I'll bet the Wickliffe House is totally lovely and overly hospitable! Sounds like a bit of bad judgment and bad luck, respectively, on the part of the wedding party and the Wickliffe House.
Sb
  17th of May, 2010
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
DG and Ms: REALLY? I can't believe you would attack the client/customer in the way you have above! From your responses to the complaint, I can only assume that you are affiliated with the Wickliffe House/Mediterra yourselves. What happened to "the customer is always right?" What happened to customer service? Clearly, you know nothing of the service industry or are very poor representatives of it yourselves.

At the very least, it is absolutely unprofessional that the Wickliffe House didn't bother returning phone calls and emails directly to the client about this complaint, regardless of the legal business liability. It would have been the most basic and courteous response to work with the client to resolve these issues rather than the client having to turn to an internet forum (by the way, this was the 2nd hit that came up when I googled "Wickliffe House" so I would say that the client has achieved her goal!) And to even suggest that the bride's or groom's or band's (or anyone else's) possible intoxication could have led to this disaster is preposterous and offensive.

I, too, have attended a wedding where a noise violation and police ended the affair rather miserably, and as a bride-to-be myself, I would be absolutely mortified to have this happen to me. The fact is, such matters are the SOLE responsibility of the venue and wedding planner/coordinator, and to have explicitly stated that the event and live music could continue until 11pm in a contract and then subject a wedding party, parents, and guests to such embarassment is a very poor reflection on the Wickliffe House indeed. As I search for wedding venues for my own wedding, rest assured that the Wickliffe House will not be on my list.
An
  6th of Aug, 2010
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Thank for for posting this complaint. I am currently looking into wedding venues. I learned about this venue from a family friend. I will not be holding my wedding here and I will be sure to let others know about this. It's unacceptable and to blame the client...shame on that company and who ever is in charge of the facility.
Mi
  20th of Sep, 2015
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
SBW I agree. Those 2 comments definitively excluded the Wickliffe House from my list.

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