The Timothy Demonbruen B&B, Nashville TN — Unprofessional and Inhospitable
My best friend held her wedding at the Timothy Demonbreun house, located in Nashville, TN. The entire weekend was a nightmare of unprofessional and inhospitable behaviour. The location is lovely and the food was ok, but I have never in my life seen such a horrible example of B&B operation!
When the bride and groom toured the location the owner walked them through the ceremony layout and also showed them pictures depicting the venue as using the front entry as the focal point of the ceremony with the wedding party on the porch and guests on the lawn. The owner failed to mention to them until AFTER the deposit was placed that he's having a legal battle with the neighbor across the street, which means that he cannot or will not place the guest seating on the front lawn of the home, Nope; instead he arranged for 30 guests to squeeze on the porch while the wedding party stood on the front steps for the ceremony. The guests couldn't even see the entire party. Also, the special musical arrangement played by the groom's teenage daughter couldn't be enjoyed because she had to be inside the front entry of the house and no speakers could be placed outside to improve the sound quality-again due to the legal battle.
The agreement was that the rehersal would be held Friday afternoon with a pool party to follow and a simple "burgers and hotdogs" barbecue served. The event was scheduled from 2 pm to 6 pm, then the bride and maid of honor (me) were to use the two rooms upstairs for the night, and then the downstairs "Bridal Suite" would be used for the bride's budoir the next day. Also, the bride made an arrangement to allow several ladies to congregate at the facility the night before the wedding as a meeting place for the "bachelorette party" group who were going to downtown Nashville later that night. The owner agreed to the arrangement, and also told the bride he would lock up after thier departure and let them back in the house after thier festivities, no matter what the time.
A few days before the wedding, he called the groom and told him that he had an offer to rent "some of the rooms" that same weekend, so he wanted the bride and the maid of honor to share one room and one queen size bed. The groom had to remind the owner that the agreement said otherwise, and that a contract had been signed. The "other guests" apparently changed thier minds or disappeared. It turns out that he boarded his assistant and close friend in the "bridal suite" that night.
The day that we checked in, the pool was filthy. There were sticks, leaves and dead bugs all over the pool and a substantial amount of debris and dirt on the bottom. We stood outside right next to the pool and discussed our plans with the owner while he was doing some outside gardening. The bride and I ran some errands, returning about 3:30, one half-hour before the rehersal and party. The pool had still not been cleaned! I actually had to begin skimming the pool myself while two other party members went in and hounded him about getting the pool cleaned before the guests arrived. He claimed that he didn't realize the pool was dirty, and/or the equipment malfunctioned. He even added a shock-treatment to the pool at 4:30, right before the guests were supposed to dive in. You are supposed to wait a minimum of an hour before allowing swimmers into a shock-treated pool! The burgers and hotdogs were fine, and he got the sides from Whitts. After the inital foodline, his 12/13 year old son appeared and stood eagerly by the cake table, waiting for the guests to take thier share so he could help himself to the strawberries. This was witnessed by several of the guests who felt very awkward about the owner's son helping himself to the catering paid for by the bride and groom.
After the rehersal two of the bride's out of town guests arrived from California. This was around 6 pm. The out of towners were given a tour of the facility by me, concluding on the third floor of the house where a lovely game room is arranged. The room is very large and well carpeted, with a pretty good sound proofing. It holds a pool table, a hockey table, a poker table, approximately four large sofas and four recliners, a full bathroom and a small snack station with frige and microwave. The two adults and thier teenage daughter began to ask me about family dynamics (who's related to whom), and we fell into conversation while sitting on the sofas. Shortly after that, the bride and two other ladies also joined us in the game room, and the seven of us chatted for about an hour. The owner came up and said "Oh, I didn't know there were still guests here! Well you folks just relax and enjoy yourselves, here let me turn the air back on; I turned it off because I thought everyone had left..do you want the TV on?" etc. etc., the picture of hospitality. We continued to visit for about another hour, catching up with our old friends. By this time it was about 8:30 pm. Several of us were thirsty and there was no beverages in the room, so one of the out of towners went with me to the kitchen to retrieve some water and glasses. The owner was in the kitchen drinking a Mimosa, and the out of town guest made a light-hearted joke "Well if the bar's still open I'll have a margarita, haha!" The owner turned on us and LIT into the two of us, completely embarrassing us! He told us that "someone needs to tell the bride that they only had the facility until 6 pm, and the staff has gone home! " I tried to extricate us from this embarrassing moment by agreeing to alert the bride her guests needed to leave, but he went on and on, insisting that only the bride and her maid were supposed to be there, and he has to get up early and the game room is right above thier bedrooms...apparently he didn't recognize me as the "maid" spending the night. We went back upstairs, completely uncomfortable and totally confused since an hour prior he'd all but fallen over himself to invite everyone to hang out! The bride was absolutely furious and totally embarrassed when we explained to her what happened, particularly since she'd made specific arrangements for the ladies to be present. 10 minutes later, the owner comes into the room in his bathrobe and politely asks the bride to remove her guests since "gosh we get such an early start to the day tomorrow for your big day.." This is the first time he spoke to the bride himself. As the five guests begin to collect thier purses and try to soothe the bride, the owner's son starts to play his violin in his bedroom on the second floor, the same floor that the bride and I are sleeping on. The kid played violin for an hour and was a great deal louder than seven adults holding quiet conversation in the floor above. We met our guests later in downtown Nashville, and when the two of us returned at 1:30 am, the bride called the owner to let him know we were arriving, per his instructions. He told her "Oh no problem; I am in my study working anyhow, so I will be right down to let you in..." Amazing.
Here are but some of the other incidents:
The bride and I went to get our nails done the morning of the wedding. The owner told us "You ladies have great fun!" and off we went. We returned around 11:30 am, only to discover that both of our rooms upstairs had been emptied and all our items moved into the "Bridal Suite". It seems that shortly before our arrival the coordinator and another party member had shown up to prepare the bridal suite for the bride's budoir; the owner insisted that the bride couldn't use the suite until they moved our items out of the other rooms! Then he locked the upstairs rooms, depriving the groom and other party members of dressing space or bathroom facilities! The groom and his men finally just commandeered the downstairs study without asking the owner, or they'd have been wearing thier shorts and t-shirts for the ceremony.
The coordinator overheard him loudly complaining to his assistant that "The bridal party was picking flowers last night; who gave them permission to do that??" It turns out what he was complaining about to any guest in earshot is that the mother of the three children involved in the ceremonly plucked three leaves from the hydrangea bush so that the children would have a prop to help them understand thier role in the wedding; three leaves.
The bride's niece, a professional baker, wanted to make the cake as her gift to the bride and groom. The owner refused to remove the cost of the cake from the venue fee and insisted on using his own baker; the compromise was that the niece would decorate the completed cake on site. The wedding was planned for 2 pm with the reception to follow at 3 pm. He purchased a two-tier cake instead of the three-tier cake agreed upon in the negotiations. He arranged for the cake to be delivered at 11 am, fours hours before the event and far too early to leave a buttercream cake sitting out during a Southern summer. When my friend's niece requested the cake and fresh flowers be refrigerated until the event, he ARGUED with both the niece and the actual bakery delivery person, insisting the cake would be fine-despite the advice from two professional bakers. They finally insisted the cake and floral decorations be refrigerated. He bickered about it to the niece all afternoon from what I understand.
After the ceremony, the bride and groom arranged for the guests to be fed while we did our photos. The menu was roast beef, crudite, fruit salad, rolls, and some cheese. The groom paid for service for 70 guests. After I was done posing for the pictures, I went in to get some food. All the fruit salad was gone, most of the cheese was gone, most of the crudite was gone, and about 1/3 of the roast was left. There were plates still available, but no silverware. As I waited for the owner to carve the roast for me, he went over to the telephone and called his son on the paging system, and said "Come on down and get some food; there's food here.". I reminded him that the bridal party hadn't yet eaten, then I quickly went and pulled the bridal party in before they starved. Since he never designated a bridal party table and the seating was full, I sat on the porch and balanced the plate in my lap. There were no knives, so I had to hold up my beef and chew off a piece at a time. He did manage to find a fork for me. I have no idea what the poor bride and groom did for seating or utensils.
The guests from California who had been so rudely treated the night before came into the kitchen with thier used plates. The son was standing there, and so they asked him "Where shall we set our plates; would you like them here?..." indicating an out of the way counter. The boy shrugged and flippantly smarted off "Well it's YOUR party; do whatever you like!". Insulted by a 13 year old.
As is the case with such a dramatic story, the tales about the "event from hell" circulated widely at the party. When the guests left, all anyone talked about was the horrendous treatment of the bride and groom; his unprofessional behaviour really detracted from thier special day. It's sad that people were more focused on the owner's antics than on the wedding.