FLASHBACK 5 Years to the day after I got married July 4th, 2008. We had such a horrendous experience during our wedding that i wrote the following review of the bed and breakfast we had our ceremony at:
My husband and I thought we had planned a romantic elopement wedding at a charming country spa. What we got was a bad attempt by inept owners at putting on a wedding. I do not mean to malign anyone’s ability to run their own establishment, but being that I hold a degree in Business Management, and spent most of my life in the management level of the hospitality industry I do feel qualified to call a spade a spade. That having been said, I must first commend the spa staff on both their professionalism and their ability. I had the most wonderful massage imaginable.
Approximately ten days or so before our scheduled wedding stay at Hummingbird Hill the owner had called and asked me to change the date of my planned nuptials. Her way of doing this was to ask me if we had taken the entire week off work because she wanted us to change our wedding date. When I made it perfectly clear that we were not willing to do so she seemed quite put out. Her reply was that she would have to tell the other people, and she quickly hung up the phone. I was puzzled and troubled by this so I had my husband call and confirm our booking and that everything would go as planned. We were assured things would be fine.
When I first arrived I must admit I was impressed by the beauty of the unusual house. The owners seemed jovial and friendly, all seemed as if it would go well. I could not have been more wrong.
During our first night there I had a minor crisis to deal with back home, things got a little heated in a phone conversation and realizing that I might be disturbing the other patron I decided to go to my car for a cigarette. The problem with that was that i became more agitated when I could not find the front door because every light in the house had been turned off. I stumbled back to my room in an even more agitated state. The next thing we knew the owner was knocking on our door and pompously announcing that she was moving the other patron to another room, as if we should be ashamed of ourselves for being human. When my husband explained that a problem with one of my children had upset me, I was given a lecture on parenting. I don’t remember paying for the parenting seminar weekend. However, we went back to our room and tried to make the best of it. After all we were getting married the next afternoon.
The wedding was a disaster. We paid in advance for what is known as the pampered elopement package. There were to be flowers, beautiful gardens, a gorgeous setting for an outdoor wedding. My husband had to request the promised bouquet when none had been produced five minutes before the ceremony was to start. The owners wife strolled through her meager garden picked a scant selection of flowers and tied it with a ribbon and that was the promised bouquet. She was annoyed to have been made produce it.
The minister was wonderful but the promised pictures were taken by the owners wife with my digital camera. Not a single clear or properly composed photo of my most important day exists. After the ceremony we retired to the dining room to sign the license paperwork, and have champagne and the promised cake. While my husband was cutting the second last piece of wedding cake required for ourselves, our witnesses and the minister, the owners wife told him “that’s enough” don’t cut any more cake. We paid for the cake and the chocolate covered strawberries and were being told we had had enough now? I find this quite puzzling. After our witnesses left and we were headed up to our room to change for dinner (at a North Bay restaurant included in the pampered elopement package) the owners wife stopped my husband and gave him the dinner voucher, and told him she had booked us a room in North Bay so “You don’t have to drink and drive”. We were confused by this as we were booked for the night at the B & B. Having had such a bad experience with the wedding however we decided perhaps it would be best if we took them up on the offer. We went to our room changed for dinner and packed our car. We were not given enough time to check into this room that had been provided before our dinner reservation. We opted to go to dinner and then check into our hotel.
When we checked into the hotel they had provided we thought it would be of comparable quality to the accommodation which we had already paid for. When checking in my husband was asked if he was doing some work for the owners of Hummingbird Hill. This did not bode well for the said accommodation but we gave it a try. What these people expected us to spend our wedding night in contained a 3/4 size bed and a tub that went cold before it was half filled.
Having already been devastated by a horrendous wedding experience, we did the only thing we could do. We packed up once again, and moved down the street to a room appropriate to the occasion. In case anyone is interested, the Sunset Inn on Lakeshore Drive in North Bay has the perfect jacuzzi suites in which to spend one’s wedding night!
As for the Hummingbird Hill Bed & Breakfast Spa. It’s an okay place if you want a moderately nice spa experience, but weddings are definitely not their thing. If you are planning a wedding stay very far away from Hummingbird Hill. I left there with a feeling like I should get married again somewhere else, as it turns out, I should, because according to the Ontario Government the minister that married us at Hummingbird Hill WAS NOT LEGALLY REGISTERED TO PERFORM MARRIAGE CEREMONIES!
For the past five years me and my guy have lived life as a married couple, all our friends are aware we married on that day in July five years ago, except in the eyes of the government that ceremony was not legal. The government says they will honor the marriage because we have shown intent, but that isn’t enough for me personally. I feel violated, I feel that the most important day in my life (save for the birth of my children) was a sham, it wasn’t real, it taints my wedding day. The day you get married is supposed to be a day full of special memories, it is the day you celebrate the fact that you became bonded to each other and committed for life. It is the first day of your life together, and it is meant to be special. As you can see from the above account of our elopement wedding we had few special memories of that day, finding out our ceremony was not legal removes the last vestiges of any “special” feelings associated with that day. A woman’s wedding day is special to her, it is the day she made a commitment for life to that ONE special person, and now for me that day has no meaning.
So what do I do? Do I sue the bed and breakfast and the minister? Do I get married again? You hear horror stories about this kind of thing, but you never think you will be the one on the end of the phone when the government calls to tell you you aren’t really married after all!