Marks Hall – Lovely venue but watch your deposit!

Marks Hall is a pretty venue and a nice location for weddings and other events. They do however like to charge for work that is not done and will happily take your deposit. Make sure you read this post detailing my experiences of Marks Hall before booking an event to avoid being ripped off.

My Marks Hall experience

I recently went to a Wedding at Marks Hall. It was a lovely wedding but it unfortunately ended with me drinking too much and falling asleep in the garden before being carried away in an ambulance. I presume and hope this was a result of me drinking too much but the paramedics questioned whether my drink had been spiked as my pupils were totally unresponsive to light.

After 6 hours in hospital, I was well enough to go home. I went home and slept for several hours before later waking up with a terrible hangover. I felt terrible about what had happened and I was keen to make amends. I telephoned the Bride and Groom and apologised for what happened. They told me that Marks Hall wanted to charge for the damage caused in the garden where I had fallen asleep. Horrified, I telephoned Marks Hall to try and get everything resolved. They were unavailable so I left a message.

Later that day I went and collected my car and while I was at Marks Hall, I had a look at the damage caused to the garden. They had an event on so I was only able to poke my head around the corner rather than have a detailed look but very little seemed to be amiss. I then went and bought some flowers for the bride and apologised a lot.

I didn’t hear anything back until the following Thursday when I received a message on my answer-phone at 12:19 in the afternoon. I phoned back immediately and was told that the costs of repairs came to £346.98. This seemed a huge amount for a couple of trampled plants so I arranged to go in the next day to have a look and to discuss the bill.

The next day I met with the Kathryn Elms, the weddings and functions coordinator and Jonathon Dukes, the curator at Marks Hall. I was shown the damaged flower bed and I was presented with a bill.

Marks Hall damages bill showing over inflated hourly rates and flower prices

I asked to see the photographs of the damage and the receipt for the flowers. Jonathan Dukes quickly informed me that the price was not up for discussion and I was told that if I didn’t pay, it would be taken out of the bride and groom’s deposit. After some encouragement, Kathryn Elms showed me the photographs and the receipt for the replacement flowers.

Picture showing the damaged flower bed

As shown in the picture above, the damage consisted of vomit on the gazebo and a trampled flower bed. Although it didn’t look as good as it should, it is clear from the photograph that the flowers would have grown back. It certainly didn’t look like £346.98 worth of damage to me.

Flower bed after the repair

Picture showing the flower bed after repairs

Although only a small proportion of the erysimum bowles mauve were trampled and it would have certainly grown back, Marks Hall had decided to replace the plants with 25 sedum spectible ‘brilliant’ plants. The other plants that were trampled were left to grow back naturally.

Receipt for replacement flowers

(Note date on invoice and remember the time of call the day before)

As the picture shows, the flowers receipt was £88.38 and not £118 that was on the bill. I was quickly informed that this was simply an error but it did not explain the 14 hours labour charges. 2 hours seemed excessive to wash vomit off a gazebo and 12 hours seemed excessive to prune a small flower bed and replace a few flowers. I was however assured that they had spent all day yesterday repairing the damage (Thursday). Given the time that they phoned me yesterday, they could have only spent the morning repairing the damage.

After pressing both Kathryn Elms and Jonathan Dukes on the excessive hours that I was being charge for, I was told by Jonathan Dukes that staff had to be taken off other jobs to fix the flower bed at short notice and the charges were to repair the flower bed and their other jobs that they had been taken off. I was also told that it also factored in compensation. In effect, I was being charged over twice the labour cost than it actually took to fix the flower bed and I was being blackmailed by the fact that Marks Hall were holding the bride and groom’s deposit.

This was an embarrassing evening for me that I wanted to put behind me. I was happy to pay for the damage I had caused but I certainly did not appreciate Marks Hall abusing this goodwill. It’s a pretty venue but I certainly wouldn’t be recommending it.