As a Music Direction / Dance Instruction / Wedding Consulting Business, we work in many, many banquet facilities. I can honestly review the Waterview from our first experience there yesterday, as Truly Top Notch.
Chris Wilkinson and Hildy, staff members, gave 100% PLUS to accommodating to our Bridal couple's needs. Their attention during the Ceremony Rehearsal the day before was EXCELLENT. During the outdoor ceremony, on the wedding day, the attention to detail was fantastic. I was truly impressed when Chris, standing next to me as the bride was entering during the processional, noticed that she was having trouble walking - feet catching on the front of her gown. He suggested that we have her stop once she was behind the bushes, obscured to her guests, and rearrange her gown - the train being carried by Hildy. We did and he even suggested to the Bride, a way of walking to help that situation! It was a moment of true professionalism and I was impressed. I had NEVER seen anyone on the banquet end even take an interest in such a detail before, let alone direct it!
There was always a good amount of staff assigned to every detail. Nothing is ever perfect, but, from a vendor perspective, I would give the Waterview a Tremendously High Rating. And as a vendor, who must transport a great deal of audio equipment, The Waterview's set up and access made our job so much easier - a GREAT ASIDE - with elevator access for discreet entry and exit for DJs with equipment. (more electrical outlets on the wall where we were asked to set up would have been that much better. We had only a gang of 4 outlets available. Many current audio setups, such as ours, run power speakers, which require their own outlets as well as lap tops which should be set up on outlets separate from the audio equipment for no interference. It meant that we had to run long extension cords from the speaker to the outlet, which limited the placement of one of the power speakers. Another good aside is that The Waterview's electrical service for audio is run on separate circuitry to help avoid the interference that we have experienced at other locations.)
Many things were different about the Waterview then we had ever experienced before. Their method of using upholstered separators to keep the cocktail area separate from the dining room was creative and new to us. As we had to do an equipment switch after the outdoor ceremony up to the dining room, it allowed for us to do our work discreetly and professionally without interrupting the conversation and comfort of guests. When it was time for the Grand Entrance, the Waterview staff was right there, providing hands that I am unaccustomed to having. The upholstered wall mysteriously disappeared, allowing me to invite guests into the dining room. And even then, staff, was "right there" on the ball, going from cocktail table to table to inform guests that they may now enter the room...something that I have never seen a facility do before. The entire atmosphere was overflowing with professionalism. I was VERY impressed.
Apparently, couples are assigned a Bridal Staff. Hildy, who seemed very in charge for our couple, provided excellent service. Her persona, despite the many roles she fills and how busy she obviously is, was friendly, courteous and warm. She not only offered personal service to the Bride and Groom, she kept in constant touch with us - the Music Direction, Master of Ceremonies and Coordination Team. It was obvious that her goal was what was best FOR THE COUPLE- not for herself, as we so often see- CONTROL FREAKS - vendors / facility all fighting for the TOP DOG - DO IT MY WAY - POSITION. I could not compliment her enough. The Waterview has an excellent representative in her.
Our wedding was different in many ways. My method of presenting the Wedding Party through personalized Introductions takes approximately 20 minutes, something that was unheard of to The Waterview, apparently. But I had informed them of my method previous so that the meal could be scheduled accordingly. Though I sensed some reluctance on their end, when it came time to make it happen, they did so with grace and cooperation.
As often happens with Bride's make up and dressing preparations, time had slipped away from the female members of the Bridal Party. This changed the anticipated scheduling, setting the ceremony about 20 minutes late and rearranging photographs that were scheduled pre-ceremony to post ceremony. Though this creates challenges on the end of a banquet facility, it was handled well and with great decorum. Chris stayed in contact with me and provided plenty of warning that we needed to keep things moving and might have to abbreviate anticipated pre-dinner events. Because a tea ceremony was scheduled pre-dinner and because the introductions were uniquely authored to honor each individual member of the Bridal Party, this was not good news. But, working together and keeping in constant communication with each other, we were able to keep the flow going, meet and rise above the challenges, so that nothing appeared amiss to either the Newlyweds or their guests. Chirs was cooperative and compassionate in his demeanor, rather than demanding or controlling. This made him very easy to work with and respond to.
One of the major strong points that The Waterview seemed to have was the attentiveness and cooperation of the full staff. Service to the guests was exemplary. The bartenders were professional, friendly and very skilled. Wait staff was friendly, prompt, courteous, as well as neat and clean (which is a small but very important detail). During the ceremony they provided at least 3 staff members to cover the details and positions that I usually must cover by myself.
Though I did not consume any of the hors d'oeuvres, everything looked good and plentiful, with cheeses and an hors d'oeuvre bar set up in the center of the cocktail area. Wait staff roamed from table to table, offering a variety of foods to the guests from hors d'oeuvres. Guests seemed pleased with both quality and quality. The dinners were excellent, if not over abundant in portion. The filet mignon could be cut with a butter knife and the stuffed chicken was excellently prepared.
From the vendor viewpoint, I do take exception to their advised seating of vendors for dinner. Our Bride had specifically requested that her vendors - there were 3 teams of 2 of us, totaling 6 - (Videographers - Still Photographers- and our Music Direction / Consultation Team) would be served first, after the Bride and Groom (I was there when the request was made, so that I am certain that it was made and recorded. FYI- Brides and Grooms - your vendors need to be moving around almost all of the time. When a facility serves them last, it either means that they must wolf down food or not eat or your events after dinner take longer to get started. When your vendors are served at the beginning, rather than the end, they can serve YOU better. Though, the concept of feeding vendors last is a sign of respect to your guests, it inhibits their ability to work for YOU. Please consider this in your planning.) When it was discovered that a table had not been set for us, we had to ask where we were expected to sit and were instructed to select any table in the cocktail area. Though the tables are small cocktail tables we decided to stay together rather than split up into 3 groups. After all guests had been served a pasta dish and salad, the Bride noticed that we were all sitting there, no water, no place settings...though we had already requested those things. The Bride had to instruct someone to provide service to her vendors before we received any attention. I will stress, though, that ATTENTION TO GUESTS and THE NEWLYWEDS was EXCELLENT. The Bride, having previously instructed that her vendors be served first, sho