I was the guest of honor recently at the tea room for my baby shower. What a disaster!!!!! To begin with my mother whom threw the shower was told to be there at 10:45. She showed up to be locked out of the tea room and then told to stand on the porch while it was pouring out until the owner was ready. The owner (Barbara) was the hostess that day with her young servers. It was a surprise shower with 24 guests! When I arrived i greeted some of my guests and was promptly told by the owner Barbara that I was to sit down, the food was coming out and that we were on a time crunch due to another party coming in after mine. I was there for 15 minutes before i was told to open my gifts. While i was opening my gifts Barbara asked me to hurry it up, because it was taking too long. I asked several times for a glass of water which I never got, and I asked for decaffeinated tea and was told there was none. The servers took away the food before my guests were done, and the favor basket that was put together by my mother was taken apart and the favors were handed out and the guests were asked to step outside to say goodbyes so that they could clean up for the next party. The owner's demeanor during the shower was rushed, not pleasant and all 24 of my guests complained that they will never come back to the tea room again due to poor service. Moral of the story don't book a private party at this tea room!!!!
I needed a couple of days to speak to all parites mentioned in your review before responding. I mention this because as I am sure you are aware, there is always more than one side to an event, yours, the Tea House and others who were there. First, I will start by saying I am very disappointed in the manner of your post, it appeared that at the time of your shower, you and your guests were quite happy and pleased. Now it is time for me to address your comments, point by point.
1st, your party was scheduled from 11:00 am -2:00 pm. Your mother WAS NOT told to be here at 10:45 and she WAS NOT told to stand out on the porch! Your mother wanted to come early and Colleen mentioned that we will be setting up for the event and that there was not much for your mom to do, but if she wanted to come a few minutes early to drop off items, she could do that.(This is a courtesy). We apologize that when your mother arrived EARLY (10:30 am), the doors were locked;as soon as we noticed her, we unlocked the doors and welcomed her in. Your mother was protected from the weather with our covered porch.
2nd, concerning the 'time crunch', you did not arrive until 11:30 am (1/2 hr. after party was to begin). I believe you also had to change your outfit (another 15 min.) After greeting your guests(including the 'surprise' guest we had to hide in our kitchen for 45 minutes), it was coming upon 12:00 noon At this time I believe Barbara did ask you to be seated so that the 1st course could be brought out. Barbara was aware of the fact that your guests had been waiting over an hour and were possible hungry. We had to adjust our serving time to accomadate your arrival and to see that your party was served in a relaxing manner. The scones were brought our at 12:05 pm, the 2nd course (finger sand.) were then served at 12:20 pm. I am sure of the timing because I was working in the kitchen. The spacing of the courses we followed for your event is the same time used when serving High Tea for private parties.
3rd, it customary that after the guest of honor is done eating her finger sandwiches, it is then time to open gifts. We NEVER ask that gifts be opened upon arrival, as you mentioned. This timing of events for your party was discussed with your mother when the menu was created for your special event.
4th, there was at all time 1 or 2 servers, plus Barbars attending to you and your guests, so I would have to believe with 21(not 25) people in the room they would had seen or heard your requests (several?) for water or decafe tea. In regards to your comment about not having a decafe tea, your mother chose 'Hawaii' which is caffine free.
5th, regarding taking away food early, We started clearing tables at 1:00 pm,giving your guests 40 min.to enjoy them. Prior to removal of plates all guests are asked if they are finished. Dessert is always servied at 1:20 pm, giving you and your guests ample time to enjoy the desserts and to allow for time for thank you's and good-bye's.
6th, the servers did not touch the favor basket you mother put together. As guests were leaving they took their favors. At 2:30 pm (1/2 hour after your party was to end) the servers were preparing for an event at 3:00 pm, and you had guests standing in the middle of the tables, they did ask if they were in the way and our server did say that they were setting up for another event. They joked about taking up so much time, said their good-byes and prepared to leave.
Finally, I might seem a little biased here, but over the past 6 years we have had OVER 600 private tea parties with up to 50 guests in attendence and never have I seen Barbara or our staff behave as you have described,or have we ever received such a negative review. Possibly if you arrived in a timelier manner, you would have not 'felt rushed'.
I would have to say the moral of this story is to be on time and to be more accurate in your posting.