We had our wedding at Chateau Challain this past June and it was a complete and utter disaster. Though the setting is beautiful and the staff is lovely and hard working, the owner, Cynthia, was the least professional person I have ever dealt with in my life. We had been planning this wedding one on one with Cynthia for 16 months. On the day we were set to arrive she informed us that due to her friend having outpatient surgery she would not be arriving until the day of our wedding (we had planned a 3 day event, with the wedding being on the final day) She assured us everything would go smoothly and that her staff would take care of us. Day 1: Completely unenjoyable for us. Cynthia was supposed to handle logistics for a shuttle bus service we arranged to pick up our guests arriving by train but in her absence there was no direction and my husband and I spent the majority of the day running around and making frantic phone calls. That evening was to be our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Cynthia arranged for her house florist to accompany us to the church since he had “seen a lot of weddings there” but he wasn’t able to provide any direction and mostly shrugged his shoulders when we asked him any questions. It was the most unorganized waste of our time. Day 2: We had worked really hard to plan a special, full day for our guests. At Cynthia’s suggestion we had planned a bus trip into Angers, where guests could either spend the day in town or pick up some rental bikes for a ride to a winery for a tasting and some lunch. Things began to go horribly wrong almost immediately. We realized once everyone was boarding the bus that the driver did not speak English at all. It raised a red flag for us and we did bring our concern to Chateau staff but nobody offered to come with us and we took off on our trip. The driver got off at an early exit, apparently trying to locate the park where the rental bikes were waiting. She proceeded to drive through a residential area and stop not once, not twice, but THREE times to ask random people on the street for directions. Suffice it to say I was completely mortified. I had a bus of 40 of our closest friends and family being taken for a joyride and no way to communicate with the driver. By this point I was exhausted and crying from all the extra work we had to put into a weekend that we were told would be enjoyable and relaxing. My husband called Cynthia and expressed our extreme unhappiness and she agreed that should would be there that night. Later that day we had a second rehearsal, time that could have been spent with our guests if the first rehearsal was handled correctly. After the rehearsal Cynthia pulled my husband aside to speak with him and upset him so much with her unprofessionalism and lack of concern that he didn’t even want to come downstairs for dinner. She deflected, and continued to deflect even after we emailed her again when we got home, all blame onto other people. At dinner she was very rude to numerous of our guests, Im sure because she knew she was in the wrong and refused to admit it. Day 3: Our wedding day went smoothly for the most part, other than the ceremony starting late because she forgot to pick up 7 of our overflow guests from the hotel. She booked their rooms and had arranged for them to be picked up and dropped off from dinner the night before, so how they were forgotten on our wedding day is beyond me. Conclusion and Advice to Future Brides: Be very careful when dealing with Cynthia. She screwed us over on a lot of charges. It started with her charging us more for the fireworks package than she said in her original quote, which we let go thinking it was a small difference to pay when everything else would be perfect. She never reimbursed us for our bus trip joy ride, something we SHOULD NOT have had to pay for. We paid for real flowers on the gazebo, 400 euro to be exact. When we got there we noticed the flowers were artificial and when we called her out on it she said that real flowers would have melted. Well thats all fine and good, but we paid for real flowers and she never mentioned the flowers would be fake. 400 euro is not worth it. We also had 7 vegetarians at our wedding. She assured us that she would make a risotto or something substantial for them to eat, but all they received was the same roasted tomato and zucchini that was on everyone who ordered meat received. We paid 500 USD per person for those people to basically receive a side dish. Make her specify every single last detail you want on her silly word document “contracts” and then make her sign it. She asked my husband to put our deposit in a french account in Euros. The final payment she wanted in USD and funneling into various accounts. She is clearly ripping people off, money laundering and evading taxes while she goes. .
This review (Chateau Challain Review) was originally published at Holy Smoke !.
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