The Maitland Art Center, a unique ambiance of ancient architecture, provides a most enchanting backdrop and intimate essence for weddings. Couples from years dated back to the 1930’s have recited their vows and walked the aisle hand in hand under the canopy of nature's natural beauty. Today, the Maitland Art Center continues to capture the eyes of many as the setting for their special events.
What was your wedding theme? Décor? Setting?
We held our wedding at the Maitland Art Center in October. For those of you who have never been there it is really a beautiful place with interesting architecture and lush foliage.
We chose the Mayan Chapel for our ceremony, which is an outdoor chapel surrounded by plants and canopied by oak trees and holds up to 45 seated guests. Immediately adjacent to the Chapel is the Mayan Courtyard which is included in your rental price of the Mayan Chapel and seats up to 150 guests if you want to hold your reception there.
If you have a larger wedding you can also rent the Mayan Courtyard for your ceremony and hold your reception elsewhere or the Main Garden which seats up to 200 guests.
The rental prices are reasonable - There is a 2 hour minimum for $400, each additional hour is $100. There is a refundable security deposit of $400 required.
While the venue is really unique and picturesque, the Art Center has some operational issues which make it less than ideal.
According to our contract upon our arrival the benches normally located in the Chapel were to be removed so we could set up our rented chairs for our guests. The dressing room was supposed to be open, clean, and the AC turned on. The fountain the chapel was supposed to be turned on. The restrooms were supposed to be unlocked. A caretaker was supposed to have used a leaf blower to clean out the chapel. Yet NONE of these items were performed...when we got there everything was locked up and in disarray.
Our guests were going to be arriving in less than an hour so time was of the essence. Luckily, my friends and family sprung into action to move the benches and tidy the area. When my Maid of Honor and I went across the street to see what was going on we were greeted by an argumentative and unhelpful employee who did not act interested in what was happening. She did not apologize in any way - she just shot a look at another woman who was sitting there and muttered that they should have been there an hour ago. She picked up the phone and was calling someone (who I later found out was the caretaker who should have done the set up) to see where he was. In the meantime, my Maid of Honor needed to use the restroom (nerves!) and the employee would not let my friend use the restroom in the main building. At this point I started to get mad and asked that my friend be allowed to use the employee bathroom - what was she going to do pee in the bushes outside?!?
The employee opened the dressing room and I was pretty dismayed when I walked in. When we toured the facility we were told that they were going to be doing renovations to the room and cleaning it up. Not only was that not done, but the room was very hot and smelled like mold and dust. The full length mirror looked like something had spilled down the front of it and no one bothered to wipe it off. The room was so hot and musty that we got ready with the door open the whole time.
The caretaker arrived 40 minutes late when the guests were already arriving. He came into the dressing room to turn on the AC. Too late, buddy! We were already sweating in our Spanx!
There was also a bat living in the rafters in the back part of the chapel which kept making chirping noises. I know some people would have freaked out about this, but I actually thought it was funny!
The thing that really upset me about the whole experience was the fact that there was no signage of any kind provided by the venue to alert anyone that there was a wedding in progress nor did the caretaker approach any of the crashers to let them know that the space was rented and they could not enter. As a result we had a few people wandering through during the set up process, but after the wedding is when it was just out of control. Three different groups of people barged in on us when we were trying to take our wedding photos. Two of the groups had to be asked repeatedly to leave. I had to actually threaten to call the police on one photographer and her clients because they simply would not leave and were getting in our way. We rented the Chapel and Courtyard area until 6:00 and these people had no respect for that. Where was the caretaker you ask? Well he was sitting in his minivan doing NOTHING about it! He could see that these people were not with the wedding party, yet he did nothing. The fact that I had to get into arguments with these rude party crashers was ridiculous. Contractually I was entitled to peaceful enjoyment of the venue throughout my rental time. We had personal items in the unlocked dressing room that could have easily been stolen by one of the many people wandering in and out.
After the wedding I contacted the Events Coordinator who refunded $100 of our rental fee for our trouble. Frankly, I think they should have refunded the entire fee after all of the hassle. It was such a disappointment!
The venue gets three stars (for the interesting architecture and aesthetics) and one star for service!