Wickliffe House / Wedding reception fiasco
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.