The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds
15 User photos
Grenville R. · Married on 02/07/2021
Frustrated at the Opportunism
It seems like i am not the only one being frustrated by this venue as we come out of this pandemic. My daughters wedding is booked at the venue for July 2nd and until yesterday we had heard no word back from the venue until we were sent a final invoice and told a 50 person wedding was going to be held.Sent on 03/06/2021
We asked if we could postpone as a months notice to hold the wedding is not enough and as family cant travel then it would be pointless. Having 50 people there is not what we contracted for. I offered to be very flexible with the postponement.
This was flatly denied. Not even considered.
I then asked for a partial refund of the $4,500 already paid.
Again, flatly refused without consideration.
I have no option now but to waste further resources even though a more sensible, amicable and collaborative solution was there to be found. Coming out of this pandemic I am sure we have all learnt that "be kind" is a mantra we should all adopt but sadly lacking for some businesses who would rather to exploit the position the pandemic has placed us in than work towards a kinder, more better way.
The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds's reply:I understand your frustration but it is not entirely true that everything was flatly denied. We have tried to be as accommodating as possible and have been in continual email contact with your daughter Eden. We did our due diligence and have documented correspondence with her was to make sure she completely understood that it was unlikely that they would have more than 50 guests at their wedding prior to making her second deposit. She understood this, acknowledge it, was fine with it and paid the second installment! We are currently at that 50 person maximum, as was anticipated, but likely by the time you were scheduled to have your event, restrictions will be lifted even more. You are correct, there are other customers that are unhappy with the less than 140 people weddings, however this really isn't a beach of contact on our part. We are trying our best to accommodate clients within the existing restrictions and find solutions that work for both parties. A compromise is a solution that gives both parties a satisfactory solution. Something we have achieved with most of our clients over the past year. Expecting your venue and vendors to bare the full financial responsibility of your decision to postpone or cancel because you don't like the current restriction, is not a compromise. I understand that, as we suggested, a transfer of you deposit to a micro wedding was also not favorably met because Jayden and Eden were married in March. I also understand that now the only thing you want from this contract is a celebration party for 140 people rather than a wedding. By reserving a date in our calendar you have prevented others from boòking that date and postponing means ultimately no income for us on that date. For this reason there is a contract. Breach of contact is when we cannot provide you with services agreed upon. We can absolutely provide you with your event, albeit possibly only 50 people, but possibly more.
Melissa A. · Married on 15/08/2020
Do not book here!
I wish I could leave 0 stars here but that is not an option.Sent on 08/12/2020
On May 8th, my fiancé and I had unfortunately made the tough decision and contacted Secret Garden/Caroline to cancel our wedding for August 15, 2020. With restrictions in place on weddings and the fact that we didn't want to harm any of our guests (most were over the age of 65) and I myself have an immune issue with a higher risk of contracting covid-19. We thought that we were doing the right thing, and being safe. The contract carried a "force majeure" clause which includes "acts of god" and "government interventions." We politely requested our $4000 down payment back and we were refused this option. Secret Garden said they were going through a hard time financially and offered us to rebook next year. If we rebooked next year (2021) we would have to pay an extra $1000 for Saturdays. Upon looking at the calendar we did not see any available Saturday dates left that would work for our family. We were then told if we wanted to cancel this wedding, even though it was 3 months in advance and plenty of time to rebook a new client, that we would lose $2000! This was crazy, this company has only met with us once for an hour to show us the venue and we went to a "mixer" type event where we got 2 free tickets and paid $25 each for 2 more tickets. This amount of time was definitely not worth $2000, I would say not even worth $1000!
Secret Garden and Caroline stood their ground on only wanting to give us $2000 back of the $4000, even though we were doing the right thing by canceling because of the pandemic.
I will never be doing business with this company and I do not recommend dealing with this business or Caroline. She is not friendly, and not warm, she is just there to run her businesses and take your money. She didn't even come to visit us during the wedding social event. We did not feel welcome there. Do not book your wedding here if you want good customer service or your money back if you cancel.
The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds's reply:As with all things there are two sides. The tribunal court hearing that was initiated by you, ruled in our favor because you refused all the very reasonable options that were presented to you. We offered you the option of proceeding with your event in August under the then current government restrictions of 50 people but at 50% reduced price of our rate. Something many other couples chose to take advantage of. You were also given the option of postponing to 2021 at no extra cost. There were still weekend dates available or weekdays at a significantly reduced rate. As of today we still have openings for Saturdays but yes, not in August, our most popular month. Given the unprecedented circumstances, we also did offer to cost share the financial burden of a full cancelation as both parties loose in that situation, and yes, we did indeed retract that when you initiated court proceedings. The fact that the court ruled in our favor does not feel like a win for us. We tried very hard to find solutions for all our clients including yourself. Fortunately we were able to do this for others but nobody wins in a situation like this. I empathize with all the couples that have had wedding plans for 2020 and felt that they could not proceed, but have also had the pleasure of witnessing many lovely 50 person weddings here this summer. We have a large open air venue that has allowed for safe, beautiful events and we have developed many policies to keep people feeling reassured. Lastly, my apologies for not visiting you at the social 2 years ago. We had over 100 couples turn up for the event and I definitely did not get to visit with all.
Melissa · Married on 02/08/2020
We got married at the Secret Garden at Woodbridge Ponds this past August and the setting was absolutely beautiful! We loved the outdoor space, surrounded by lush greenery, fish ponds, plants, and intimate seating areas for our guests. The winery onsite provided all of our beverages, including amazing liqueurs, cocktails, champagne and dinner wine. I would highly recommend this venue to anyone looking for a romantic, garden setting for their wedding!Sent on 18/09/2020
Lani M. · Married on 19/07/2020
I booked this venue February 2020 in hopes to have a dream wedding there with a 120 guests. Due to covid, I called in April to post pone to 2021 as they were cancelling weddings in the summer. I was able to do that no problem, but found out that they offered a discount rate for the dates in 2020 that I was not informed about. How come we weren’t included in it? We would’ve tried to make it work with the restrictions. We also had family that were immune compromised and could not attend during covid. Which made it hard to move forward with a wedding. Who would even attend when we were all asked to stay home and social distance? No dancing, no socializing and only a sit down service was allowed. Not what we originally signed up for. 2021 wasn’t looking any better to have the big celebration either.Sent on 11/06/2021
The venue wants full price for max 50 people which wasn’t what we original signed up for in the contract. We emailed several times over the year asking for a refund or cancellation or even holding a family gathering instead this year at our deposit price. There was no flexibility or options offered to us, so we had to cancel. All I can say is how hugely disappointing and maddening this was all to deal with through covid. I have other friends that were getting married last year, and their venues were understanding with postponements & refunds. So how come this venue is not? This venue turned something that was supposed to be a positive experience into a negative experience during 2020 & 2021. How many other brides did they do this to?
I bet a lot of brides lost their deposits over the last year. That’s a lot of money for not providing any services. They should’ve allowed brides to postpone to 2022 or refund original deposits to allow brides to book at a later date. All business’ had hardships through covid so it’s not an excuse to treat clients the way we were treated, any many others I’m assuming.
The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds's reply:Firstly, let me congratulate you on the upcoming expansion of your family. Something positive out of this sad year we have had. We have all struggled during this pandemic and we have tried to accommodate everybody with their different requirements. We did not cancel any of our 2020 weddings as you indicated. However we did accommodate all our clients as best we could to suit their needs, which included postponements, transfers to Micro weddings and reduced-price events. As you indicated in your review we had no issues accommodating your postponement request from 2020 to the following year and we happily honored your existing contracts prices. Yes we did host weddings in 2020 at a reduced price to accommodate many couples that did not want to postpone. Couples were informed about the reduced pricing arrangements for 2020 in our newsletter. I'm sorry you did not read that but the information did go out to all our booked clients to the email listed on their signed contract. I realize that you did not sign up for a 50 person wedding, however those restrictions are beyond our control. Yes, you did not anticipate similar restrictions when you first postponed, you probably did not anticipate a new family member either. We have all had to adjust our lives and plans. What is sad is that we vendors and venues are expected to take the full financial responsibility for couples that continue to want to postpone because they cannot have their big wedding or get other curve balls that get throw their way. We have held your first date for more than a year and subsequently your second postponement date for more than a year, we also honored your existing pricing. That is now two dates that we have not been able to book for other clients that are happy with the current restrictions. Two dates that we cannot recoup any income. For this reason we are not refunding but have given, as to yourself, multiple different other options. Contrary to your review, we have been exceptionally understanding and have postponed, transferred and adapted at all times, and no, it has not been many other that have been frustrated. Fortunately we have been able to satisfy most of our clients. It is those that we have not satisfied, like yourselves that have taken to multiple reviews. Your right of course, but it would be nice if all the facts were given.
Ashley N. · Married on 04/10/2019
If you do not book here, you are foolish!Sent on 07/10/2019
The Secret Garden exceeded our expectations. The kind, genuine, thoughtful staff went above and beyond to accommodate all of our requests.
We only had 42 people present.... but we partied like there were 140 and they did not bat an eye! We had a lively crew who kept everyone on their toes and yet the staff rolled with the punches and made very single person feel special.
I can not thank Caroline and her staff for making our wedding dreams come true!
Christa W. · Married on 29/08/2019
Breathtakingly gorgeous, affordable and unique!
We just had our wedding at The Secret Garden at the end of August. We wanted a unique, naturally gorgeous venue and The Secret Garden was just that. As soon as we pulled up we knew we had to get married there. The outdoor ceremony space is gorgeous and the reception space, although a greenhouse, is filled with lush greenery, ponds, fountains and gorgeous chandeliers to set the mood for the evening.Sent on 22/09/2019
Caroline and her staff were very responsive, friendly and accommodating. And hiccups we had during our special day we’re quickly averted by her and the staff which made for less stress. Caroline, we can’t thank you enough for your responsiveness and for going above and beyond for us on our special day!
Breanne B. · Married on 01/06/2019
4 out of 5 stars
4 stars out of 5Sent on 26/06/2019
The venue was beautiful, Caroline and her husband do a great job of maintaining and keeping their property in gorgeous condition. The staff did an amazing job with the decor, set up and bar tending. They all hustled and kept our evening going. The kittens were a hit! All of our guests kept commenting on the venue and how beautiful everything was. The wine and all alcohol was delicious! So glad they served their own items and not name brand things such as Budweiser etc. Our day all in all went great but some of my comments to better the service for future couples would be:
If you are paying them for decor make sure you are very specific. I took images while I had my meeting in their room and added it to the dropbox but some things were not put out. Also we were charged $25 a table (15 guest tables) for decor and all that was on the tables were glass candle holders and tea light candles. Maybe it was the images I provided or maybe things weren't communicated between the venue and myself?
The dropbox/excel spread sheet could be more detailed. I said no to the "bridal suite" which I thought was something different. It was really the room where the bride can go while waiting for the ceremony to begin. I didn't have access to the room so I was sitting in the back behind the gate with farm equipment in the hot sun, uncomfortable and over heating before the ceremony. I don't think they allowed/wanted that but I had no where else to go without my guests seeing me before the ceremony.
I feel as though that room should be a given for using the venue and not to be charged an additional $100.
We didn't have our wireless mics during the ceremony, as we paid for beforehand, which was a disappointment but was later apologized for and reimbursed.
Also our DJ and MC were running around trying to find a working mic for the reception which I later learned about, not something they should have been worried about or had to deal with.
I've read some reviews about Caroline being "rude". The secret garden runs, I'm guessing 4-5 weddings a week from May - October. They are extremely busy and she has to have thick skin and be direct with people. I think she was appropriate and straight forward for all situations. She knows what she is doing and does her job well.
Thank you again for making our day beautiful. We are very glad we decided on your venue. Not everything can be perfect 10/10 every single time, this is just feedback for future brides. Continue your wonderful work and beautiful venue!
The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds's reply:Thank you for your review we certainly appreciate all the feedback. You have done an excellent job analyzing your day and conveying to us where we can improve things. I'm so sorry I was not there to catch you sitting in the hot sun. I will certainly make sure that my staff looks out for that in the future. That's usually something that we do not miss and I would have shown you to a little sitting area in the back of our store that we keep specifically for brides and grooms that do not rent the bridal suite. The suite is not included as we do need to bring in an extra staff member for cleaning in between events and so if it is not rented I simply don't bring in that staff member for that day. In fairness to our staff the microphones were given to the DJ prior to the event. There are definitely areas in our planning documents that can be improved upon and expanded. We are working on a revised format for the 2020 year. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your experience and I wish you all the best. Please come back and visit us on your anniversary.
Ashley M. · Married on 17/05/2019
The Perfect Venue!
Caroline and her team at Woodbridge Ponds were amazing! You can practically feel the love that has been put into every inch of their beautiful property. We’ve received an overwhelming amount of complements from our guests about how perfect and magical this Venue is. Planning was a breeze because of their Dropbox shared file - It left minimal room for error and kept everyone on the same page without having numerous emails/calls. Despite our morning going a bit array causing us to drop off our flowers late, it was handled with ease and everything looked absolutely wonderful!Sent on 27/05/2019
Aunt D. · Married on 05/10/2018
Dreams come true
Brides and grooms you can stop your search for the PERFECT wedding venue: this is it. Our wedding was 1 week ago. The staff was wonderful.... Weather was questionable for an outdoor wedding.... But at the last minute Caroline and her staff knew the bride had her heart set on an outdoor wedding, so they made it happen..even though they had completely set up for indoors..the staff took it all down and reset up everything for an outdoor ceremony. Thanx for making the bride's dreams come true. So so appreciated. Secret Garden took our wedding ideas and inspirations and created "magic". If you want a stress free day, a wedding day to just enjoy every special moment... This is the place... Put your dreams in their hands.Sent on 13/10/2018
Just a note: book the table decorating pkg, and the clean up pkg..... More than worth it.
Thanx again to a great team. Cheers to everyone!!!
The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds's reply:Thankyou Debbie for all your sweet words. We are thrilled that we made all the brides dreams come true.
Camille N. · Married on 30/09/2018
This venue is gorgeous. The staff are great. They helped make everything run smooth. And their wine is delicious. I don't want to say their cats were my favourite of all the staff, buuuut they were pretty cute. HahaSent on 03/10/2018
The Secret Garden of Woodbridge Ponds's reply:Camille, your wedding was unique and absolutely beautiful. As are you. It was a pleasure to host your event. We wish you both the very best together. Yes my cat is a monkey, and loves to come party if the client don't mind like yourselves.