Granite City Elks Lodge More Than Disappoints At Wedding Reception,
Thank You Gentlemen
Submitted by Angry Mother Of The Bride - They Know Who I Am
I am writing this letter to inform anyone and everyone of the miserable experience my family had
because we chose the Elks Lodge of Granite City on Maryville Road as our hall rental for
a wedding reception.
This is a warning that will hopefully prevent any additional families from having to go through
this embarrassing nightmare.
Our first and most importantly our biggest mistake other than selecting this organization to rent a hall
from was, hiring this organization (Elks) to cater our wedding reception. We paid the Elks lodge to
cook for and serve dinner to approximately seventy guests. We agreed and signed a contract for Chicken
Fettuccini Alfredo to be the entree served with bread sticks and a salad.
Before dinner was announced I went up to check out the buffet table to make sure everything was made as
planned and at a glance I knew we were in trouble. There was a foil disposable tray full of soupy noodles
and as I stirred through it, I could only find about six to ten nickel size pieces of chicken. I was in shock,
I could not believe this mess is what I was being charged hundreds of dollars for! Counting the
disposable foil pans, the head of lettuce or two, a bag of cold bread sticks and a couple bottles of salad
dressing a couple bags of fettuccini noodles and about two chicken breasts cubed up and a jar or two of
watered down Alfredo sauce, the Elks could not have had more than $50.00 invested in this entire catering
After about twenty five people had gone through the buffet line we noticed that guests were sitting
back down at their tables with nothing on their dinner plates. Our guests were sitting at their tables with
nothing to eat with their (dry) salads as the buffet line had also ran out of salad dressing. We finally hunt
someone down that is supposed to be in charge of the food and ask where the rest of the food is. We tell
them all of our guests have went through the line to get something to eat and found nothing!
Their disposable foil pans were empty. They said they will try to locate more of the
Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo and take care of this.
Quite some time later, they bring out what appears to be a fresh batch of boiled fettuccini noodles,
(NO) sauce and (NO) chicken mixed in. Just a disposable foil tray of dry boiled noodles and they
sit that out on the table. At that point, they walk up to our D.J. and ask him to make an announcement to the
guests that walked through the empty food line, to please come back through the line to get
something to eat. I was so embarrassed I wanted to crawl under a table and hide! Very few of our guests
were going to attempt this twice, and thank God for that.
After recapping this embarrassing mess in our heads over and over we have finally came to the conclusion
that the first nasty, soupy batch of this crap they tried to pass off as Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo was
supposed to be mixed together with the second tray of dry noodles and mixed together to stretch this
disgusting mess enough to serve seventy five people.
We paid $12.00 per hour for a bartender that could not mix a drink. Our guests were pulling up
drink recipe's on their phones to help her out. She did not even know how to make a simple Bloody Mary.
More times than not our bartender was off the job and in the back room smoking with a friend
taking a break. Several times we had to hunt her down to pour our guests a beer that had been
paid for in advance and whatever is left over in the barrel of course, stays with the Elks to be
sold at their own bar. How convenient is that, for the bartender to go missing for half the
wedding reception, needless to say, there was a LOT of beer left in the barrel!
At the end of the night we brought home that nasty tray of noodles only because I wanted it as proof to take
back to the Elks lodge. I wanted somebody, anybody to see what was put out for our catered meal. I won't
even attempt to lie and say I was not angry and upset. I was upset and embarrassed beyond words. So, I
gave myself a couple of days to cool down and take a deep breath before calling the Elks lodge.
Now a few days have passed and I call the Elks ready to tell this story, I wanted someone to listen and that
didn't happen. I was told that any complaints like this have to be told during a meeting and a meeting had to
be set up. I was told I would be getting a return phone call about the matter and the meeting.
This also did not happen. I again call and eventually get a meeting set up for the first Tuesday of the next
month. Again, this also did not happen, meeting canceled due to not enough members showing up.
Now, two months later, we finally set up another meeting. Myself and the bride and another member of the
family go to the Elks. We are taken into a back room and sat at a long table with several members of the
Elks lodge. I will not name the gentlemen by their proper names. they know who they are.
All seven of these men acted concerned, even a little shocked and definitely embarrassed over
some of the things they were told about that night.
We even went as far as to pull out of the deep freeze, that now famous nasty tray of boiled noodles
and took it into this meeting for them to see. We went into detail about how the bartender did not know
how to bartend. They said well, of course not, she isn't a bartender. She is just a member here, she doesn't
bar tend and never has. We asked then why in the world would you have her tending bar at our reception
then? They replied, we were told by another employee of ours that you requested her. We told them that we
absolutely requested no such thing. The members told us that an employee lied saying that we knew this
woman and requested her, because they were good friends and wanted to work together that night and the
lady who tended bar at our reception that night, needed to make some extra money.
They just sat around the table at this meeting looking at each other. They kept apologizing and seemed so
sincere. They confessed that our Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo was made from a mix (box type dinner) and
should have tasted "okay" if they would have followed the directions correctly.
The members in this meeting just could not believe that the guests of this wedding reception was directed
out of their chairs and through an empty food line. Then, later on in the evening directed again by
the D.J. to do it all over again with the promise of actual fresh food being sat out. Then they blew it again,
chance number two, by trying to serve our guests plain boiled noodles, no sauce, no chicken!
I asked the Elks members during the meeting who the female was who trolled our hall, non stop. Walking
around with her hands on her hips, watching all our guests. Walking on and off the dance floor and
in between the tables, looking and watching everyone. I told them it was the oddest thing, she was like an
uninvited wedding crasher. They said it was one of their employees and that by law they are
not allowed to rent out a hall without one of their employees being in the room the entire time
it is rented out. I have never heard of such a law and maybe this is true. But, if it is, they need
to have this employee stay out of the way and as out of sight as possible.
During the meeting with the Elks members, they apologized many times and as I said earlier, seemed very
sincere. They asked me what would make this situation any better. After all, it was a wedding
reception and is nothing that can just be done over.
I told them out of respect I wanted to do the decent thing. I did not want to react with a knee jerk reaction
and strike out of anger. I had not told this story to anyone. I wanted to give them the benefit of the
doubt and allow them the chance to maybe explain that the bartender we paid for at $12.00 per
hour was a last minute replacement because the real bartender became ill and could not show.
There are always two sides to every story and special circumstances that can alter plans. I even thought
perhaps the person who usually does the catering had became ill or had a family emergency, you just never
know. I tried to imagine possible excuses for this terrible chain of events for the Elks. After discussing the
terrible food, the lack of food, the unwanted wedding crasher, the missing in action, cigarette smoking,
break taking bartender...they could offer nothing. It was basically, we're sorry someone didn't follow the
instructions on the box when they prepared the food. Sorry, we let the crappy tasting food run out.
Sorry, they didn't put out dressing for the salad. Sorry about the Elks member who needed to make extra
money that night and wanted to play bartender.
We are so sorry, what would you like to see happen at this point, they asked. I told them, we rented
the hall for a few hundred dollars that night, and we used it...so I don't expect a refund on that.
We reserved and paid for barrels of beer and a small amount of that was used, so I don't expect a
refund on that.
We paid for a bartender at $12.00 per hour and she was present about half the time and couldn't mix a drink
from lack of knowledge, but she tried, so I don't expect a refund for that.
But, I paid hundreds for myself and our guests to be served an edible meal and we were not. I even brought
back this full untouched tray of noodles. I (do) expect a refund for that.
They again apologized and could not thank me enough for not spreading this story. They told me and my
family, you have no idea how much we appreciate you giving us the chance to make this right.
We are sorry it took us so long to have this meeting. We apologize for all the unreturned phone calls.
And, we promise it will not take us months to get this resolved.
This refund has to go before the members. We will have to call a special meeting and take this to a vote, but
rest assured there will be no problem. Our members will vote to refund the catering portion of this mess and
again, we are so sorry. We want to thank you again for not telling people about what happened with this
wedding reception. The last thing we want is for the people in the area to hear about this, we don't
want a bad reputation, we don't do business this way. You will be hearing from us very soon!
Well, gentlemen/members of the Granite City Elks Lodge, thank you for once again blowing me and my
family off. It has been MONTHS and I have yet to hear a single word from you, not a phone call,
not a letter, nothing.
Not only will I tell this story to everyone I know, I will SCREAM this story at my every opportunity
and make sure that everyone of my guests at this wedding reception repeats this story every time they
get the chance. I will make it a personal mission, to make sure I warn everybody that will listen in
hopes they steer clear of doing any business with your organization!
Thank you for ruining this special night for my family and a special thank you for the embarrassing memories.