Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mon Lac Ciel - The Final Word

As any of you who have read my blog before knows, I was due to have a wedding on June 20th at Mon Lac Ciel in LaPorte, IN. We had the wedding, and it was the most perfect day, but it was not at Mon Lac Ciel. So before I tell you the story of the wedding I did have, I will tell you why we decided to pull the plug on MLC at the last minute. It took me a while to form my thoughts and gain a little psychic distance on the events that took place in the weeks before my wedding because...well the whole thing was completely stressful, chaotic and just really unpleasent - which are not emotions you want two weeks before you marry the man of your dreams.

When I last left you it was five weeks before the wedding and we found out Mon Lac Ciel was in foreclosure. We had so much invested in the place, not just our plans but our vision, that we were just crossing our fingers that they would pay the bank. My parent's started constant communication with the owners, checking in to see if progress with the tent and bathrooms - which they kept pushing the completion dates back on - was moving along. Every time we spoke with them there was nothing but confidence that they would not be in foreclosure and the property would be in tip-top shape, 300 person tent, bathrooms and all for my wedding.

The problem was their promises were empty. Two weeks before the wedding, there was a tent, but no floor, no bar, nothing even securing it to the ground. One stumble into a pole and wedding distaster! And still, the only bathrooms in sight where two scuzzy port-o-lets they kept saying the were replacing with more civilized bathroom trailers. And we STILL didn't know if they were going to pull themselves out of foreclosure. They said they were, but they hadn't kept any of their promises up until then. When we called them and their voicemail said it was full and the cell phone number we had said the client was not taking messages I just decided I couldn't take the suspense any more. Do I or don't I have a place for my guests to arrive was not a question I wanted to ask myself two weeks out.

We were lucky and found an alternate venue, plus a crew of my amazing family and friends helped us for days before the wedding with the set up. We had to call all 280 people and make sure they had the new information and everyone had to change their hotel reservations. It all worked out, but the hardest part for my mother and I was letting go of our "Prarie Chic" vision. For 11 months we molded the wedding to fit this particular place and it was very hard to make it fit in a new venue (although it worked and was beautiful).

MLC really is a special place and it's sad that it has been so mismanaged. I think the owners have good intentions, but have extremely poor business skills. They don't know how to manage client expectations, are constantly giving "poor-me" personal excuses when things go wrong and are, clearly, bad with the finance aspect of their business. I can not recommend anyone have any event here.

I want to thank Darci at With This Ring for her help and suggestions when I was scrambling to find a new venue and my awesome readers who left wonderful links and ideas. If anyone has any comments you want a reply to make sure to leave your email or email me at sara@porcelainmanifesta.com. I'm happy to answer any questions.

I want to leave you with a few comments left on my original post about MLC from people who have had expiriences with Mon Lac Ciel.

From Kathy on June 9th, 2009

"What a gorgeous place for a wedding, but wait...May 30 2009 my daughter was married at this location. The owner purchased the property in 2008 and had a whole year to get things ready. My daughter paid $1350 to use the facility (tables, chairs, linens and dishes) and I paid $1600 for the family and bridal party to stay at the mansion 2 nights. Sound like a good deal? Maybe, but when we arrived, what a surprise. The water smelled like sulfer, no trash baskets in the bathroom, no hand towels, no towel racks in many of the 7.5 bathrooms, and some of them did not even have a mirror over the sink. No toilet paper. Sheets were new, but had not been washed, so they were scratchy--not a problem if the dryer had worked, but it did not. The ice machine stunk and was filthy. Electrical outlets were missing covers, and there were other holes in the walls with exposed wiring. Alarm system was not working and was beeping every 6 seconds all night long (my husband disconnected it after the first night).

One month before the wedding we were notified that the owner did not have insurance to cover alcohol, but offered wine glasses and boasted of a bar (which did not exit yet). We had to scramble to get wedding insurance to cover the serving of alcohol.

Yes, the owner had a lot of excuses for why things were not as promised, or even as stated in the contract. However, a contract is a contract, and Ms. Bell left a great deal to be desired. Obviously, we won't be doing business with them again!"

From Anonymous on July 11, 2009

"I'm parent of the couple to be married. Our families toured the property for 2 hours with the owner for a 2010 wedding. The property, while it has potential, seemed in disrepair, but the owner told us that the cement floor for the tent was going in 2 days from our visit, the mansion would be updated and cleaned and the lawn would be mowed for our event. The place looked like it had not been occupied for years. The owner looked 5 people in the eyes, promised the fairytale wedding, and told us several times that for $3500 we could have the entire property, including the mansion, and tent for the wedding for 4 days. Also offered a horse drawn carriage (additional). When the contract arrived the price went up 300% with vague language including the fact that the owner could cancel within 7 days of the event. She also neglected to tell us that the property was under threat (an actual date had been set 2 weeds from our visit) for foreclosure. While the owners managed to save the property from foreclosre this time... If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Don't chance your wedding day. Beware!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mon Lac Ciel - The OH NO Edition

The bad economy has struck my wedding! Since people have been commenting on my original post about Mon Lac Ciel and the foreclosure, I decided to address it. Yes, I said foreclosure. My wedding is in 5 weeks and we found out yesterday. (Thanks to the kind reader with inside info who emailed me.)

Note to wedding guests and family - DO NOT CHANGE YOUR PLANS. We are still progressing as normal for now and you'll hear from us if even one thing should change. There will be a wedding on June 20th...somewhere.

We have spoken with the owners and they are fairly convinced that they will be able to pay the bank in time. Our invitations are sent, many of the replies are in, all of the events around the wedding are planned, people have flights and hotels. We are crossing our fingers that the owners come through and everything goes as planned. I mean, with 5 weeks left, there is little else we can do without compromising our vision and totally changing the wedding of my dreams. I refuse to settle. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

If, however, I should be made to settle, we are working on a plan B. I hate plan Bs. I would rather have it in someones back yard than a hokey banquet hall or hotel...so that may be an option.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of thing? Has this happened to anyone? How did you get through it? Or if anyone knows of some land in Northwest IN that we can throw a tent up on... Any advice or suggestions are EXTREMELY welcomed.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eco Round-Up

I am constantly trying to make my wedding as green as possible. Here are some green items that I have come across in the last few weeks...

100% receycled card awesomeness from Made By Girl. Via - Earth Friendly Weddings, of course.

Earth friendly and conflict free engagement rings and wedding bands, not to mention gorgeous jewelry of all kinds - Brilliant Earth

Gorgeous eco-wedding dresses from Poetic Justice. I love how this dress looks both vintage and natural at the same time. VIA.

A variety of green invitations and paper products at Twisted Limb Paperworks, via Offbeat Bride

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shower Invitations

We hit our  3 month mark on Friday and it appears that this is the time for pre-wedding event  invitations to start arriving! On Friday I got my invitation to my bridal shower and I was floored by the amazing-ness of these hand made invites. 

My aunts, Mary & Peggy, know that I am working on making my wedding (and my life) as green as possible, so they stayed with that theme and it begins with these invitations. They made them out of folded paper lunch bags and they are more than just invitations...

If you can't read the text in the left corner it says: "Sara and Hillary live too far away; please send your gifts to their home in LA. Please bring back this brown paper sack filled with a little something you feel the bride shouldn't lack." (How cute is the rhyming?)

So they request that all of the shower gifts be sent directly to Hill and I, but then to bring a small little trinket to the shower in the paper bag. I think the idea is some useful thing the giver loves themselves and feels like they couldn't get along with in their every day lives. So the paper bag invite gets up-cycled into wrapping paper. 

I think these are so fantastic and can't thank them enough for taking the time to DIY these invites. (Thanks to my mom and Riley too, since I know they had a hand in the creation of these). More on the green shower next month. I can't wait!!