1.10.2013

*UPDATE *[Venue]Miradoro Restaurant @ Tinhorn Creek in Oliver, BC


Look at these amazing views! Tinhorn Creek is located in Oliver, Part of BC's wine country. Miradoro is the restaurant that is on site. The food at Miradoro is so good, that we still talk about our meal from one year ago. It is for this reason, that we decided to approach Van Doren Chan, the wedding coordinator at Miradoro, when we were looking for a venue.

She was great when giving us the tour, listening to what we were looking for. She gave us the world within our budget. She ensured us that the date we wanted, Aug 10th, 2013 was available, and there was nothing to worry about in terms of getting the date. We had cocktail hour with sparkling wine, and hor d'oeurves. Dinner was to be 2 appetizers, and 3 choices of entre├ęs, followed by a dessert bar, and also late night snack. It was unbelievable that ALL this was within our modest budget. 

She mentioned on multiple occasions that she loved emails, and she will always respond. This was true when I asked her minute details about the day, such as the florist, and menu. She always responded within two days. When I asked if her florist will deliver to our church, she said, don't worry about it, if the florist doesn't deliver, I will personally deliver the flowers. She and her staff would also setup and tear down for us, meaning we would save the cost of hiring a day-off coordinator. This service is AMAZING!

Everything was going great until I asked for the contract, and the procedure for putting down a deposit. When I emailed her asking for the contract, I heard nothing. I didn't think much of it, trusting her to let me know if there were problems with the date. 10 days go by, and I still hadn't heard back from her. It wasn't until I called and left a message at the restaurant that I got a reply to my email.

Van Doren followed up the email with a phone call, and we talked in detail about what the contract would entail. We hung up the phone with the understanding that she will draw up the contract immediately, and I will pay the deposit. I got another call from Van Doren half an hour later telling me that another couple who had been out of touch since last year decided to place a deposit. She did not have a contact number for them so she gave them 24 hours to respond and pay the deposit.

From my perspective, this situation seems rather suspicious. We had discussed our plans in depth at our face-to-face meeting, and she made no mention that there was another couple involved. I had also asked her about the date over email before our meeting. Had she said there was someone else interested in the date, I would have put down our deposit the day we met, without seeing a proposal. That's how much we LOVED the venue. It was strange that for someone who loved emails to suddenly not respond when I wanted to give you business. Based on the information I have, and my knowledge of how most event coordinators are compensated, I feel that this other couple had either contacted Van Doren before us, and she completely forgot about their plans. Or, they contacted her after, but they had a bigger budget, so she tried to stall my deposit.

When Van Doren first called me to let me know about this other couple, she gave me her cell phone in case I had any questions. I called her at noon the next day with no answer, and I called again when the other couple's 24 hours was up. Both times she did not answer my calls. She was clearly screening my calls to avoid a difficult conversation. I did not find out about losing my date until I called and spoke with Justin, Miradoro's restaurant manager. It was only after I spoke with Justin that she sent me a hasty email about losing our date.

Justin was very professional, and I have the greatest respect for him. He has integrity, and is not afraid to have a difficult conversation. He listened to my concerns, and offered his help if I needed help finding other vendors. Unfortunately this cannot be said for Van Doren. I understand her cell phone is for her personal use, so why give out the number when she had no intentions of ever speaking with me? Her professionalism is also lacking on her Linked In profile. Tinhorn has done such a great job through social media, it is unfortunate that Van Doren's profile picture is of her chugging a bottle of champagne.

I completely understand that Miradoro cannot accomodate our wedding in August due to how Van Doren handled the situation. I am saddened by this as we absolutely loved the location, and started making our plans around Miradoro.

I have nothing bad to say about Miradoro, and its amazing food. Justin is a great manager. I have been in touch with the owners, and I have nothing bad to say. They've been in contact with me, and assured that this will be addressed.

That's all I really wanted, to be heard. I'm not looking to "steal" the date from the other couple. It's a special day for them too. I'm just happy that this will never happen to another couple.

If you're ever in the Okanagan, you MUST check out Tinhorn and Miradoro. Like I said before, I still talk about the amazing meal we had last year. The food is so simple, but the flavours are so complex. Honestly, words can't describe how great the food is there.

xoxo
~meesh

*UPDATE 3*
I had put this debacle past me. It stressed me out tremendously, and I am wary of all wedding vendors as a result. Today, Van Doren emailed me to remove this post. I understand her frustrations, however all this could have been prevented had she done her due diligence. I first inquired about our wedding date on March 15th, 2012. She promptly responded to my email saying the date was available.
The purpose of this post is not to damage Van Doren's reputation, but to tell others what I learned from this situation. Always get a signed contract, or at least put down a deposit before making further plans!

*UPDATE 2*
I've been procrastinating on all things wedding that I forgot to update everyone on the final location of our wedding! We booked Hillside Winery for our reception. We're so excited to be working with Lindsay Wong!

*UPDATE*
I heard back from the management team very quickly. The owners offered to make an exception to their 2 wedding a month policy, and gave us the option to have our wedding on August 9th or the 11th. We were also offered a complimentary sparkling reception for all of our guests. We are ecstatic! It is not an ideal situation, but we still have the venue on the weekend that we need. Now let's hope this new date works with our church. 

5 comments :

  1. I had dinner at Miradoro, on the recommendation of Michelle. It was a 5 hours drive from Vancouver. The view was breath taking, the food delicious. What a shame we will not be able to have Michelle's wedding there, all because of an unprofessional planner who was out there looking for a bigger commission.
    If you are there checking out wedding venues, beware of Van Doren Chan if you don't want any disappointment

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  2. Hi Michelle,
    I booked a May 2013 wedding at Tinhorn Creek and spoke with Manny to coordinate all the details. Did you ever speak to him? I've never spoken to Van Doren Chan nor was her name ever mentioned to me. After reading your post I'm starting to get worried about my booking...

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  3. Hi Hiromi,

    Thank you for your comment. I talked to Manny while we were trying to resolve the problem. He was very professional, and I have the greatest respect on how management handled the situation. You're in safe hands!

    Best of luck on your wedding! You've got a great venue!

    Michelle

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  4. Thanks for the reply Michelle, I feel better! :)

    Good luck with all your wedding preparations too!

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  5. I was here recently for a charity event and was amazed how fantastic this function room was. Too often these events are held in drab ballrooms, so I was excited to see how lovely this place was.
    cool wedding venues

    ReplyDelete