Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wedding: Rehearsal Day

Wedding Weekend is all over. I am officially Mrs. SP. Honestly, I feel no different! SP now has a ring to wear every day, and I have an additional ring, but otherwise...

Last Friday was 'Rehearsal Day.' In the afternoon, my parents took the favors and place cards and other things up to the reception restaurant while I visited with L and our friend C (from VA) and SP got some X-Box time. Around 3 pm some storms moved through. Our lights flickered a few times but we never lost power. The trees in the woods behind our house swayed in the wind but didn't topple. It seemed like a 'typical' storm rolling through.

Around 4:30 pm, as we were leaving for the church, my phone rang. It was the reverend, He said,"We have a problem." Uh-oh. I can't even begin to describe the thoughts that went spinning through my head. Those are just not words a bride, or groom, or bride's parents want to hear so close to the big event!!

It turns out that the road to the church was blocked at both ends due to downed trees and power lines. No one could get to the church. Uh-oh. I asked him what he would suggest for a new rehearsal time. He suggested Saturday - the day of the wedding - at 1:30 --- and the wedding is at 4 pm!!! But what choice did we have? So I quickly yelled down the stairs and out the windows at my family to not leave, explained the situation, and we all started making phone calls.

My brother's family was just passing the exit to our house, so they detoured here. SP's dad also was able to detour here as were EPAS and her family. Unfortunately for Googer and SP's mom, they were too far past any exits for our house and stuck in traffic so they ended up just meeting us at the rehearsal dinner.So everyone hung out here for about an hour before we went to the rehearsal dinner at Buca di Beppo. We were at the Pope's table, which I thought was in a private room, but I wouldn't call it a room so much as a nook and it was a tight squeeze. We all took turns spinning the creepy Pope face in the enter of the table - no one wanted it looking at them! The decor was, in my opinion, cheesy, but I suspected going in it wouldn't be 'serious' Italian decor.

I made the reservation and food selections in early March. I reconfirmed the Wednesday before. We even signed and returned a paper confirming our guest count and food selections and giving a credit card to hold the reservation. And yet the room was NOT SET UP for our party. Unbelievable. I have zero tolerance for this kind of thing.

And oh yes - SP and I were the last to arrive (since we were feeding the cat and locking up the house, we left after everyone else). We told the hostess we were there for our rehearsal dinner and she told us to go wait in a corner of the crowded entryway for someone to show us to our rehearsal dinner!!! We are the bride and groom!!! Not to be all Bridezilla, but all weekend long everyone else bent over backwards to cater to our every whim and need and desire and made us feel like a prince and princess but not Buca!!!! Fortunately, we caught sight of Googer and followed him to our table.

Buca finally managed to add the additional 5 place settings and chairs but then it seemed to take FOREVER to have our server show up to take our drink orders. The soft drinks arrived quickly enough, but the wine seemed to take a while, and the beers arrived AFTER THE APPETIZER. I was annoyed. Especially since it took a while for the appetizers to arrive. Grrr.

We had Fried Mozzarella and Mozzarella Caprese for appetizers.After another long wait, the salads arrived: Caesar Saladand Apple Gorgonzola Salad (tart Granny Smith apples, spiced walnuts, dried cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese tossed with lettuce in Italian vinaigrette).After another long wait, our pasta and entrees arrived. The pastas were Chicken Cannelloni (pasta tubes stuffed with chicken, spinach, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses with a hint of lemon zest and nutmeg, baked on a bed of rosa sauce)and Spaghetti Marinara.The entrees were Chicken Parmesanand Chicken Limone (chicken breasts lightly sautéed and topped with lemon butter sauce and capers).I should mention here that our group had 4 children. My 11 year old niece was eating the 'adult food' but the 3 nephews (ages 9, 7, and 5) were supposed to get cheese pizzas. The pizzas were on the signed confirmation. But Buca FORGOT the cheese pizzas. I had to remind them when the adult pastas/entrees arrived and then the pizzas didn't show up until AFTER the adults finished eating their meals. Do you know how hard it is for children to sit at a restaurant and behave and NOT have their food? They ended up snacking on the 'adult food' and then barely touched their pizzas!

This was followed by what I swear was a half hour wait for coffee and dessert. We ended up using that time to give out our thank you gifts, which included thank yous for the kids and the thank yous were toys, so the boys got to play with new toys to keep them amused.

Dessert finally arrived: an order of cannoliand the Dolce Platter: TiramisuChocolate Cake, which was such a deep fudgy chocolate that even after a 'photo quick fix' is still too dark to see much detailCheesecakeand Apple Crostata.And then - we waited and waited and waited for the check. The coffee was never refilled (although the server did leave the pot, but once it was empty, it was never replaced). Our server never returned to check on dessert, never returned to see if we needed anything else, never returned to see if we wanted dessert wrapped up.

Finally SP went off to find someone, anyone, because we hardly ever saw an employee outside in the hallway area by our nook. We also had to locate our own wrapped up food!!! (But of course not the desserts because we were never given the option to have those wrapped to go).

I was furious, but we had a large group, everyone was getting tired and maybe even a little hot in the small nook space, there was the stress of the church being not reachable, so I didn't complain. Take away the crappy service, and it was a wonderful evening with family, and really, that's the point.

After we got home, SP realized he forgot his bag with his diabetes stuff so he went back to get it and when he returned home, he mentioned that they hadn't even started to clear our table and that it seemed all the employees were in the bar watching the Pens game. Yes, it's playoff time, but YOU ARE AT WORK!!!! We suspected that's where our server was all evening and SP's extra trip back confirmed it. I am so mad about the LOUSY service. I can't believe that HORRIBLE server got an automatic 20% tip because we were a large group. Their paperwork is very clear about having 2.5 hours at the Pope's table for your event, but at 9 pm, after 3 hours, we still didn't have the check and hadn't seen our server for at least half an hour.

So my Buca di Beppo Robinson opinion: acceptable but not great Italian food but LOUSY LOUSY LOUSY SERVICE.

Did I mention the service was LOUSY??!!!!!!!

**Thanks to Googer for the photos. I am not good with Photo Editing, so all I did was a 'quick fix' in Jasc Paint Shop Photo Album. If the the color or something looks 'off,' it's my fault for trying to brighten them a bit from the raw photo data. Don't worry, SP, I was careful to not save over any of the converted files - all original data and conversions are safe!


  1. Congrats on the wedding! Yay!

    I'm so sorry about your dinner -- that's just terrible! I would still call a manager to complaint. That's just unacceptable.

  2. A few things:

    Congrats!! So happy for the both of you!

    Buca -is- horrible with service for large parties which is ashame because they are made for this type of seating. This was our experience with my sisters shower at Station Square

    I love the apple & gorgonzola salad! The desserts were good, but not great. Very rich, everything there. In fact, I cannot eat there without getting upset stomach. Food is good, though.

    Maybe its all about the company at Buca?

  3. I do plan to complain. As for the food - my stomach felt a little off later that night and I didn't think the desserts were all that good. I like Bravo's tiramisu better and the cannoli was just OK. I doubt we would ever choose to go back/have an event there.

  4. I was really disappointed in the service, too. Shame, since this is what Bucca is DESIGNED for, yet they dropped the ball several times to varying degrees -- the check was confusion, but the forgotten kids' meals was horrible...

  5. Yum Yum,

    Congratulations on your wedding! We are glad to hear that you chose to make Buca di Beppo a part of your special weekend, but are so sorry to hear how the evening went. The service that you described is unacceptable, especially at an event like yours. At Buca di Beppo, we pride ourselves on being the leader in celebratory dining, and we apologize that we did not live up to this expectation.

    I see from your comment that you plan to contact us about your experience. We always welcome feedback as we are always striving to improve for our guests. I would be very happy to help make sure the feedback reaches the right people. Please forward your contact information to famiglia@bucainc.com so that we can have the Paisano Partner (our restaurant manager) contact you directly.

    Jason Smith
    Buca Inc.
    Guest Services Supervisor