In a word: tacky.
My husband and I held our Spring 2011 wedding at the Black Horse Inn, with a guest list of 100. The price seemed quite high, but we were assured we had the property for the weekend and would be able to hold the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception there.
Our first problem was the fact that the 10:00pm end time was not well communicated to us until after we had signed the contract. For us, this was early and ended up requiring an after party. We had trouble throughout the process getting clear communication from the venue, as did several of our guests. Little things kept popping up, taking away from the 'compressive' price. For example, after telling us that the venue would provide sparklers for the (9:55pm) departure of the bride and groom, I noticed the contract required us to provide the basket and matches for said sparklers. Ok. I asked about this at our month out meeting and was then told the sparklers weren't included. Don't sell this as your trademark thing if all you're doing is adding another chore to my wedding to-do list!
The worst was when we told her of our plans to have our rehearsal dinner at the Inn - included in the comprehensive weekend rental - and received a bill for more than 1200$, despite having a full service caterer for the event. We argued this down to 700$. She offered us free linens for the rehearsal dinner picnic, then turned around and charged us for them, accosting my husband for the extra 250$ the moment he arrived on the property.
I was really disappointed by the way the owner and her staff treated my other vendors. The owner consistently trash talked our catering manager, who was amazing. She was condescending to our very bright and well organized coordinators. Frankly, she talked to the other vendors as though they were 'the help.'
Once the weekend of the event came around, the disappointment continued. We had prepaid for all of the rooms, per her policy, but about half of our guests were being billed. Each guest was 'welcomed' with a typed note demanding payment before 6pm the first day they arrived and every single room was billed over by 25$ per night; that totaled a difference of nearly 600$. So much for hunt country hospitality! We had prepaid these rooms, so in their ledger, Black Horse already had the money - why was it necessary to bill before people had unpacked? Most guests complained about beds being too soft, duvets with stains, wasps in their rooms and threadbare towels. Noise traveled an embarrassing amount and staff could never be found when you needed them. I was embarrassed by how shabby the Inn was after talking it up to my friends and family for nearly nine months.
I was called into the kitchen to sign off on the final day-of scheduled the night before, at which point the housekeeper managed to ruin a surprise my husband had been working on for weeks by telling me the bottle of 2002 Dom and Tiffany's bracelet would be brought to my room the next morning. Husband was livid. I was confused when it arrived at 10am, but equally livid when more than a third of the bottle was *dumped out* that afternoon during photos. That was literally several hundred dollars worth of delicious, sentimental champagne. I should note they did leave a bag of snack sized Cool Ranch Doritos with two chips left.
Other day-of SNAFUs included the owner pestering me (the bride) ten minutes before the ceremony for paperwork the venue had failed to follow through on. Despite including all mixers in our bar package, the owner insisted she wasn't responsible for the grenadine we'd told her we needed for our signature cocktail. Half an hour before our cocktail hour, she argued with our catering manager and coordinator over it for ten minutes despite all parties remembering the issue being settled in our 'month out' meeting. My husband was expected to move his luggage (himself) into the bridal suite at around 11am on the wedding day. My coordinators won't even tell me some of the other stories. As we took post ceremony pictures, one took me aside and said, "You're having a beautiful day, but never, ever recommend this venue to another bride."
At the end of the day, we had a great day and our wedding went very well. However, credit for this goes to my coordinators, catering manager, and photographer more than anything else. I can honestly say that the grounds of Black Horse Inn are beautiful and the function room (Gilded Fox) is equally beautiful. (However, several caterers told me it had insufficient working warming ovens, so do be sure your caterer is prepared!) The Inn itself needs a serious facelift and Lynn needs an attitude adjustment. We found the constant nickel-and -diming gauche and graceless. I left the property feeling 'had' and wrung out more than anything else.
I'd hoped to find a place we'd fall in love with and sentimentally return to on anniversaries. We won't be returning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Black Horse Inn, Warrenton, Virginia is the ideal escape for romantic get-away's, weddings, business meetings, and revitalizing retreats. The natural solitude of this historic, hunt-country estate encourages effective meetings and creative thought. Just 45 minutes from Washington, D.C., this spectacular setting will provide just what you need to refresh and revitalize! Ten rooms with private baths, corporate center for 200. Lunches and dinners upon request. Team-building activities, WiFi & televisions. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Black Horse Hotel Warrenton