Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wedding Review: Carlson Event Center

 It's obvious that I enjoy weddings, especially attending them as a guest. This weekend I got the opportunity to go to a wedding as my mom's plus one (my mom's ex co-workers daughter). I don't know the bride and groom very well and that is always fun because you really get to take in the environment and experience the wedding itself.

I've always wanted to review weddings and give my personal opinion on weddings I attend to help other brides in planning. I was super excited about this one because the wedding was at my favorite location in Minnesota, the Carlson Event Center. From the photos online this venue looked spectacular. Elegant, rich, and beautiful. But let me tell you, it wasn't all it's cracked up to be.

I'll start with the outdoor ceremony. I'm sure there are several locations to choose at this venue but this particular couple chose outside infront of the pond with an huge fountain in the middle, sounds amazing right? It was pretty, but all I could hear was the rushing traffic of highway 494, even with the use of microphones. I honestly didn't make out any of the readings or vows. Bad idea to have your ceremony outdoors next to a loud highway.

Cocktail hour was fabulous, it helped that the weather was amazing and the couple had open bar services. All the servers were very nice and kept everything organized and clean. Lines were short, ID's were checked, everyone was being served and were well on their way to a great night. 

The ambiance of the reception cite itself was amazing. With granite staircases, fountains everywhere and an amazing back drop of sky high windows and beautiful ceiling draping. I assume the couple paid extra to have lighting alluminate all the granite beams in the building, but it looked fabulous and was worth making everything really stand out.

The service and timely-ness of the food was not superb. Rule number one at a wedding: Do not let your guests go hungry waiting for their dinner. Especially if there's an open bar. Empty stomachs + lots of booze = one drunk wedding party. This could be fun, but you have to remember that Grandma and Grandpa go to bed before 10pm and your dinner should not be brought out at 9:05pm. I'd say 7:30pm is the absolute latest you should start serving dinner.

Our salads were served after the speeches, as we sat there starving the clock ticked by. Then once the salad plates were removed, we waited almost a full hour before the main course was served. Not okay. My mother and I sat with church friends of the brides mom and they were NOT happy. Hungry and bitterness does not equal for excited wedding guests.

The food selected was not tasty and cold by the time it arrived. Coffee was not served and plates were removed before some of our table even finished. I was very disappointed. Again, this is all my opinion and I'm sure some people at the wedding had a completely different experience.

Overall I'll give my experience a 4 out of 10. With 10 being the best.

Some things I did love:
The bride spent a lot of time on her ceremony programs. They were fans with mini bottles of bubbles attached, everything color coordinated.
The lighting the in the building was amazing.
The DJ played appropriate songs during dinner.
The cake and place card table was set up beautifully and put in a proper location.
The bride and groom selected a photographer for guests to dress goofy and take photos throughout the night, very entertaining.

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