*Sigh*...where do I start.
Let me start on a positive note and praise just how beautiful this piece of real-estate is. It's nestled in the downtown Austin area and is surrounded by lush green trees. This is why I feel in love with the place (because of the location). I went and viewed/toured the property with my fiance about 12 months prior to my wedding. We went on a tour with a lady named Shannon Lloyd (who I assume worked at the Inn part time). She was friendly and nice and gave us a tour of the property. She explained what we needed to hold the date and gave us a contract to look at.
I fell in love right away. I had this vision of a beautiful courtyard wedding taking place there.
Fast forward a couple of months and I stop hearing from Shannon and directly from JILL BICKFORD. Who is the owner of the Inn. She comes off friendly at first and loves to receive our payments for the wedding, however as the wedding quickly approaches she turns into a nightmare!
The week of the wedding when we were trying to iron out last minute details so became a big stress to us. She did not allow a space for our caterer to clean her dirty dishes after dinner, we had to provide our own tables for set up of our meal and deliver them BUT they could only be delivered the evening before, she interrupted our mariachi's at dinner over the DJ PA system to have our guests move a vehicle from the Inn parking lot, she did not have our tables set up and ready for our florist to deliver and set up the centerpieces, my father and other guest had to do that for her. My parents arrived at the venue at 4p.m. which is the time she stated vendors could start setting up and she charged us extra for doing so even though she needed help setting up?! RIDICULOUS! During the reception she threw a chair across the deck in a rage because a guest of ours had moved it there and "it was in her way." The bar tending service she provided was unsatisfactory to our standards as she only hired one bartender/ one bar for 200 guests. We had to provide our own ice, cups, and garnishes for the bar as well (NONE OF THIS WAS WRITTEN IN THE CONTRACT). The cake cutting service she provided was also the bar tender who was supposed to be tending to the bar. After we cut our cake the bartender left the bar to serve the rest of the cake for us. Once again, I had my own guests behind the bar serving drinks to other guests. She charged us to pick up and dispose of the cups from the tables that HER bar provided. She also charged us for throwing rose petals on the ground as part of our send off. THEY WERE REAL, BIODEGRADABLE ROSE PETALS!!! REALLY?!! The icing on the cake is when my newly married husband and I decided not to stay the night because of how unprofessional she was even though we already paid a $200 fee for that as well. We drove around that night in search of a hotel because we wanted to get as far away from Jill as possible.
In the end, out of our $500 refundable deposit she stated we were only getting back $30 & we still haven't received that yet.
MORAL OF THE STORY: JILL BICKFORD IS AN UNPLEASANT PERSON TO WORK WITH!!! SAVE THE HEADACHE AND LOOK ELSEWHERE & thank God for my husband and alcohol because that is the only reason I enjoyed that night.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Any couple considering the Pearl Street Inn as the venue for their wedding reception is given a written “Policies & Procedures Agreement” (hereafter, “the Agreement”) at the first meeting with staff. This Agreement itemizes in detail specific stipulations regarding guest parking, towing, bartending requirements, closing times, responsibilities of the caterer, kitchen availability, cleanup information involving trash removal, setups and delivery time schedules concerning early arrival issues, etc. The terms of the Agreement are explained to and discussed with the couple at this initial meeting. We then require the couple to sign the Agreement in order to formally engage Pearl Street as the venue for their reception. It is self evident that signatures to the document reflect that the parties involved understand and have agreed to the terms as expressed within those written guidelines. This is customary practice in all professional venues where wedding events are hosted.
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At Pearl Street Inn, in addition to obtaining the couple’s signatures to the Agreement, we encourage face-to-face pre-event planning sessions between our staff and the couple involved, so that there are no “surprises” the day of the reception. These pre-event meetings are the best way to ensure that any reception runs smoothly the day of the event. Here, this particular couple signed the Agreement, but had only the initial meeting with staff, and one other meeting attended only by the groom. Rather, the couple chose to arrange for everything by email, despite the fact that the couple had an entire year prior to the date of the event to come to Pearl Street Inn and meet with staff about the particulars of their impending reception. We can only speculate that this was the problem with the “surprises” that seemed to bewilder the couple on the day of their celebration.
Turning to the couple’s specific complaints:
“The week of the wedding when we were trying to iron out last minute details she became a big stress to us”. The “last minute details” were in fact last minute changes proposed by the bride which were contrary to the terms of the Agreement.
“[Pearl Street Inn] did not allow a space for our caterer to clean her dirty dishes after dinner, we had to provide our own tables for set up of our meal and deliver them.” The catering space and no kitchen use was outlined in the Agreement and also discussed with the caterer a week before the celebration and in an onsite visit.
“[Pearl Street Inn staff] interrupted our mariachis at dinner over the DJ PA system to have our guests move a vehicle from the Inn parking lot .” Several cars were parked illegally, and an announcement was made in an attempt to prevent towing; however, the announcement was made at the beginning of the reception. The mariachis had not begun performing and were never at anytime interrupted.
“[Pearl Street Inn staff] did not have our tables set up and ready for our florist to deliver and set up the centerpiece.” At the incorrect instruction of the bride, the florist arrived 45 minutes earlier then the appointed time.
“My father and other guests had to do that [set up tables and linens] for her.” As written in the Agreement, linens are placed on the tables at the last because of possible weather issues so they will look good for the celebration.
“My parents arrived at the venue at 4 p.m.” Family and guest members are not vendors and are asked to please arrive at the given time scheduled in the Agreement, so that staff and vendors may quickly set-up unimpeded by party attendees.
“…threw a chair across the deck in a rage because a guest of ours had moved it there and "it was in her way…" A chair was not thrown at this reception or any reception at the Inn at Pearl Street.
“The bar tending service [provided by Pearl Street Inn] was unsatisfactory to our standards as she only hired one bartender per one bar for 200 guests. We had to provide our own ice, cups, and garnishes for the bar as well (none of this was written in the contract)...” Pearl Street Inn does not charge a corking fee. The couple is allowed to bring in their own alcohol, if they provide their own condiments and ice. Pearl Street Inn provides the cups and bartender. There were not 200 guests, although the discussed head count went from 75 to 150. The couple chose not to have a second bartender because they were only serving beer and wine and did not want to pay for another bartender or for tents in the event of inclement weather.
“…cake cutting service she provided was also the bar tender who was supposed to be tending to the bar. After we cut our cake the bartender left the bar to serve the rest of the cake for us. Once again, I had my own guests behind the bar serving drinks to other guests. She charged us to pick up and dispose of the cups from the tables that her bar provided...” They did not want to pay for another staff member to cut the cake, therefore the bartender was allowed to close the bar for 15 minutes to help with the cake service. The couple’s caterer was in charge of all trash pickup as stated in the Agreement and left the property with NO trash. No one at anytime is allowed behind the bar except a licensed bartender. If any others were inappropriately behind the bar, they were kindly asked to leave.
“…charged us for throwing rose petals on the ground as part of our send off...” The couple was not charged for this occurrence.
“…when my newly married husband and I decided not to stay the night because of how unprofessional she was even though we already paid a $200 fee for that as well…” The Pearl Street Inn staff was advised that the couple chose not to stay the night, having been embarrassed by the behavior of a family member, who made inappropriate physical behavior and foul comments to the Inn staff at the end of the evening.
“…out of our $500 refundable deposit she stated we were only getting back $30 & we still haven't received that yet…” As specified in the Agreement, the damage deposit was $450.00. The couple was advised that $400 would be deducted because the caterer did not complete busing of the tables after dinner and left trash and cigarette butts all over the property. The groom was very willing to accept the payment responsibility because he was aware of the issue. The refund check they claim they did not receive, cleared our bank on July 19, just 10 days after their celebration.
“…thank God for my husband and alcohol because that is the only reason I enjoyed that night…” It is believed alcohol can influence the mood of a party, as it was observed in this case. The joyous and complimentary mood of the night was interrupted when the bar closing was enforced. The time to close was clearly posted on the bar throughout the reception for all the guests to see and is in the Agreement.
The evening went so smoothly that both bride, groom, father of the bride, as well as other guests, were effusive in their praise to the Pearl Street Inn Staff throughout the evening. The Inn staff was introduced to many family members and guests, who thanked us for such a wonderful reception and showed appreciation for the Inn’s ambience and beauty.
While we don't feel that it is necessary to address every point contained within this review, we do feel compelled to at least point out that both the bride and groom's expectations had been exceeded, given their very own complimentary and effusive thanks to us during the beginning and middle of the reception.
The real morale of this story is if you chose to have a wedding anywhere please get involved! Be aware of the planning process and guidelines offered by your venue and all your vendors, so that your special day will go off without issues and disappointments. Many of these same couples and their guests have in fact become regular customers at Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street and this speaks volumes to which we are very proud!
Thank you for considering Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street for your celebration! We offer you a sincere promise that we will do everything in our power to make your special day a very memorable one!
Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.