Ladies, I have been a member of this site long before I was engaged. My wedding is 16 days away, and I'll be the first to admit, I've been a slacker posting my wedding plans on here. While the reviews both good and bad have helped me tremendously, I haven't felt an absolute urge to post on here for something being immediately important (I'm sorry! I promise I will post my planning thread and reviews once I get back). Seeing as our wedding has three main important days : our wedding day, first and foremost, our shower, and our bachelorette party, I feel this review is absolutely necessary for all my fellow Chi brides out there. I'm giving you a heads up- it's long, but I really hope that this helps other brides out there.
After the chaos of organizing, orchestrating, and planning a wedding, looking forward to a fun night out with the girls was all that I hoped for. Some of my closest friends dedicated their weekend itinerary to traveling to Chicago in order to have some good laughs and great times at my bachelorette party. After looking online, talking to friends, and trying to get a game plan for what we wanted to doâ€¦ my bridesmaids and I came across this website that seemed to have it all. You give a rough idea of what you want to do, and they can make suggestions and give you some add ons at a reasonable cost, not to mention include transportation. It sounded great, and we eagerly called VIP Bachelorette to set up a contract and start looking forward to the party. We settled on a package for $125 a person that included a â€˜party busâ€™ for seven hours, tickets to MEN: The Show, a free drink there, express entry into Kit Kat Lounge, two martinis and a dessert selection, no cover at Brandoâ€™s, a round of shots there, and the guest of honor drinks free after 10pm. Great! Three places to go in the city with good reviewsâ€¦ all seemed to be fine to us. Too good to be true? You bet. As I sit here and write this review it is with the best intentions that I have for ANY and ALL other brides out there. Ladies- PLEASE if you want to have fun, you want your night to run smoothly, and you want to be STRESS FREE for ONE night, do yourself a favor and donâ€™t contact this company.
Now, typically, Iâ€™m not one to write reviews of any sort. I may scroll through something occasionally if I feel something may be sketchy, but in this case- I have to. What we went through last night is something that NO BRIDE should EVER have to go through- especially when you spend weeks looking forward to this day, planning, shopping, organizing, primping, and looking forward to making some lasting and FUN memories with your girlfriends. The disorganization, chaotic, stressful, train wreck of an evening that was supposed to be my â€œbachelorette partyâ€ cannot go unheard, nor unnoticed. I should throw in a disclaimer to let all of you readers know that while I know that the price per person was quite high, I did not ask my guests to pay that amount. Iâ€™m not some snobby, hoity-toity woman expecting my friends to drop a load of cash for one night out in the city. My bridesmaids were MORE than generous to take a large amount right off the top to make this an affordable evening for all. As far as me, Iâ€™ll let you know that Iâ€™m a middle class, first grade teacher. I think it goes without saying that my salary doesnâ€™t make room for too many â€˜extravagantâ€™ nights out after a mortgage, let alone wedding payments. I pride myself on teaching my students empathy and respect for one another, to care about themselves and to care about each other. Itâ€™s sad to say that six year olds can show extreme consideration and empathy for one another, and here a company that prides itself â€œto create a memorable experience specializing in bachelorette partiesâ€ failed miserably. Their mission statement, as quoted from above from www.vipchicagoparties.com will make you feel like youâ€™re making a right choice, but Iâ€™m hoping youâ€™ll think twice.
The day before the party, I received three phone calls from VIP. One from Cortney letting me know everything was set, another from Rob, the co-owner giving me another confirmation and ending the message with, â€œHave a great time!â€, and then a third phone call later on from Rob again. This time, it wasnâ€™t to let me know that things were on track, instead it was telling me that there was an issue with the contract and that I would not be drinking for free after ten at Brandoâ€™s, and that that was something offered through them last year. At the time, I thought nothing of it. Ok, sure, people make mistakes. But as I sit here after the fact and reflect on everything that could have and did go wrong, the information being misled in the contract is another area of my discontent. Little did I know it was a foreshadowing for the rest of the â€˜partyâ€™. Regardless, I went about my business, my friends and I still excited with anticipation for my night out.
It all started off great- great food, great drinks, and great company at my house. My girls and I were to be picked up promptly at 6:40pm and taken to a show that was set to start at eight. This left us plenty of time to order a few drinks, take our seats, and RELAX. My bridesmaids and I were super excited; all are from out of town, (some even from out of state), and many havenâ€™t really had a downtown Chicago experience. As we finished games and opened gifts, we started getting everything that we needed- we had our cameras in hand, grabbed our flip flops in preparation after selecting cute but painful heels, and waited outside my front doorâ€¦ and we waited, and we waited, and we waited. You can probably guess where this is going.
Now Iâ€™m not going to give a play by play of the rest of the evening, because this review could be pages upon pages. As you may have thought, the transportation never came. We called the dispatch number on our contract for our transportation and were responded with several dumbfounded answers; one person admitted that we werenâ€™t on any list for pickup! From there, we had to turn to our party hostsâ€™ numbers; one of them found out that this was a miscommunication somewhere and told us that he had to contact another company in hopes of getting us transportation. As the clock was ticking and our 8 oâ€™clock show was getting closer, there we wereâ€¦ sitting outside my house, eagerly watching the corners of the street, hoping that some large vehicle would magically appear, much like a little kid waiting in line to see a glimpse of Santa at Christmas. Long story short- we missed our show. Our transportation never came until close to an hour and a half AFTER our CONTRACTED pick up time. Our â€˜party busâ€™ that arrived to bring us to our destination was nothing more than a glorified bingo bus. There was nothing â€˜partyâ€™ about it. It was what I would consider a mini coach, or a tour bus. Upon setting up the contract, we were told that we could have a fully stocked vehicle. We were also told that we were going to have a party bus. After talking to Rob later in the evening, I understand that laws prohibit buses from being stocked. However, if we were informed and the contract was stated clearer and we had a full understanding and knew what to expect, we could have been prepared. We could have had booze waiting by the door, cups and coolers packed so we all we had to do was walk on the bus. Instead, we scrambled to see what we could grab, not wanting to waste any more timeâ€¦ seeing as we were already an hour and a half behind schedule. We were told that we could be given tickets to another show in place of the one we missed; sounded like a no brainer- ok, sounds great. After us having to tell the driver where to go, wasting our contracted transportation minutes, and trying to get an actual numerical address to go (due to another miscommunication with VIP), we headed off.
We did make it in time for the second show, and walked up to the front of the line to talk to the people at the door and get our tickets. Were we treated like VIPs? Hardly. After three girls from my party having to explain why our names werenâ€™t on the list, and several people from LaSalle Power Company radioing each other, we were told to get to the back of the line and wait like everyone else. Not even close to â€œVIPâ€.
To recap thus far:
Strike 1- Something was taken off the contract AFTER it was signed, agreed upon by both parties, and was the day before the party.
Strike 2- After receiving CONFIRMATION phone calls, and reassurance that everything was ready to go- we had NO transportation and had to wait an hour and a half.
Strike 3- Getting told to head to the back of the line after we were instructed to march ourselves up there. Can you say embarrassment?
At this point, there was no holding us back. I am glad that simultaneously, several members of my party shouted, â€œNO WAY!â€ in response to being told to wait. We had to explain ourselves to someone else for the fourth time, and then finally, we got in. We entered an elevator, told to go to the third floor, and wait to be seated. After exiting the elevator, we were stopped by yet another person, ready to check us off the list. Now for the fifth time, we had to explain why we werenâ€™t on a list. After realizing that they let us in downstairs and we were ready to be seated, they had no choice but to try and find somewhere for us to sit. Two employees looked over floor plans and open tables, then came back and told me the following: we could either sit as far back in the back corner, literally as far away the room would allow (mind you being obstructed by a wall), or get split up. Split up? Sit in the corner? Again, is this considered â€œVIPâ€ treatment? Hardly. At this point, the frustration boiled over. I began calling Rob over and over, and I refused to stop until I talked to someone. Here we were, now close to 9:30 pm and we were hardly being treated with the â€œexceptional service and incomparable hospitalityâ€ that their website promises to deliver. Noting my frustration and feeling sorry for our entire group, one of the girls that worked for the show then had to move someone elseâ€™s party to inconvenience them in order to try and make a happy medium for us. We ended up sitting in the back, while not in the corner, we were seated as if we were in a straight line, every one of us looking at the back of someone elseâ€™s head, and were stuck in back of a pole. Hardly the ideal situation to giggle, laugh, and have a good time celebrating your last night as a single woman with your friends. As the show started, Rob then showed up to come talk to me. Being more than upset (and I feel, rightly so), I asked to talk to him somewhere out of the show since it was already starting. He apologized and said that these types of things never happen, that VIP parties are so fun, and they take pride in what they do. Unfortunately, it did happen. Not one thing, not two, not three, countless things in the evening thus far went horribly, horribly wrong. I told him that I understand that the whole situation with the bus may not have been his specific responsibility, but for a company that is supposed to take care of everything, and be a â€˜one stop shopâ€™ for a memorable nightâ€¦ why did I receive two CONFIRMATION phone calls and a CONFIRMATION itinerary, if in fact things hadnâ€™t been confirmed? Now, obviously, Iâ€™m not a party planner. But I feel that it should be common sense for this company, VIP, to call and confirm our party plans with each of the vendors and THEN call the client to confirm. Sounds logical, right? Here I was, now close to ten oâ€™clock, pissed off, embarrassed, let down, disappointed, and fully sober. On a night that I should have been fist pumping, jumping up and down, dancing, laughing, taking shots, here I was- trying to resolve ALL of these issues. Rob said he would do whatever he could to make it better, which was nice, and I do give credit where credit is due. It was nice, just not very consoling. For a party that was quite costly, and promised to deliver, it wasnâ€™t living up to any expectations. Rob said that my party would have an open bar for the remainder of the show and an open bar at our last place, Brandoâ€™s. He also said he would accompany us to our second spot, the Kit Kat Lounge. I told him alright, thanked him for his help, and headed back towards the dark pole. I was greeted by faces of eight other women who were trying to put on their party faces, trying to have a good time and make my night enjoyable, and who were anticipating what they thought was the next round of bad news. I told them what Rob said, and we tried to watch the show. The same employee that arranged the seats constantly came over and checked on us. You want VIP service? Hire her. She came over and told me that our drinks were on the LaSalle Power Company, gave me her business card and said she would take care of us on our next trip there, and then ended with, â€œIâ€™m so sorry that this is the night that you have to remember. If you want, youâ€™re more than welcome to join some of my friends over there and stick with them for the rest of the night. Theyâ€™re having a great time.â€ While nice of her, I couldnâ€™t help but look around and hear all the other screaming, laughing girls taking pictures, having fun, and feeling like I desperately wanted to burst into tears. Thereâ€™s no feeling in the world that can compare to being decked out in ridiculous accessories, dolled up, and having other people apologize because they can only imagine what a let down of a party you are experiencing.
As the show ended, we headed out, called our driver and waited to get picked up and go to Kit Kat. As promised, Rob met us and escorted us in, got us a really nice table, and even arranged for a shout out for me. It was a nice glimpse of VIP treatment, and we did have fun at Kit Kat. That, I would recommend. Fun martinis, delicious desserts, and charming d©cor- that felt like a party. Unfortunately, because of our late pickup, missed show, trouble at the door previously, we arrived at Kit Kat rather late and didnâ€™t get to spend much time there. Just as we started to unwind, it was time to pack up so they could close.
Onward to our third destination- Brandoâ€™s. After handing over our IDâ€™s, out of curiosity, I asked, â€œHow much is cover?â€ â€œNothingâ€, the bouncer replied. Come again? I thought part of our $125 package included free cover at Brandoâ€™s. More misleading information. Armed with more fuel for the fire and another mental note of what to write in this review, we walked into a fun and cozy karaoke spot, and thankfully, had a table waiting for us. After dancing to the â€œCupid Shuffleâ€ and keeping our spirits up, we sat down and ordered drinks. One of the girls tried to order me a shot- only me. We were promptly turned down with, â€œSorry, thatâ€™s not includedâ€. â€œOk, how about a martini for her?â€ â€œSorry, thatâ€™s not included either.â€ Talk about a damper. More bad news and another let down. Normally, I would have been â€œOk, thatâ€™s cool, letâ€™s move onto something else.â€ Iâ€™m typically an optimistic person, but seriously, after our less than stress free party we were told that we couldnâ€™t have one shot or one martini, after being promised an â€œopen barâ€? Come on. At this point, we sarcastically laughed out of disbelief. This was my â€œcrazyâ€ night out with my girlfriends? This? We ordered another drink, of course, from what was allowed in our â€˜open barâ€™ package. Itâ€™s important for me to stress here that none of us are big booze hounds. We each had two drinks at Brandoâ€™s; a couple of the girls even ordered water. No, thatâ€™s not a typo- water. Not really a good sign. Hoping to make something fun at our last place, I texted Marcos, our party planner to ask if we ordered a pizza and if that would be alright. Like I said, weâ€™re not booze hounds so we didnâ€™t really take advantage of our open bar, and thought that food might make us feel slightly better. When he responded, â€œOf course!â€ That was pretty much the highlight of the party. An ok for free pizza was the highlight and good news of the party; something that wasnâ€™t screwed up or denied. Honestly, as I sit here and recap the evening, I canâ€™t even believe the things that I am typing and replaying in my head.
We left Brandoâ€™s (and that was a fun place as well), our bus ride back was quiet, calm, and tame. Everyone wanted to end the night, forget that it happened, and get home. We got back a few minutes after three in the morning, and everyone got in their respective cars and drove home. Why is this important to mention? Again, ALL of these girls came from out of town. There they were- let down, sober and disappointed, and ready to head back home, with stories of disbelief due to misfortune, rather than stories of disbelief because of an incredibly fun party.
From a party planning source that has the audacity to name themselves VIP, I felt nothing remotely close to feeling or being treated like a â€œVIPâ€. Instead, we felt cheated, felt like an afterthought, a burden, and just wanted the night to end. Do I have lasting memories from my bachelorette party, yes. The kind of great girl bonding, stress free, incredibly fun party that all us brides look forward to- NOT EVEN CLOSE. The anticipation of a great party, the planning, and excitement that builds was quickly taken away and replaced by feelings of frustration, anger, disappointment, STRESS, and more importantly embarrassment. I spent the majority of my night apologizing to my friends. Here I talked up this company, â€œOh, they take care of everything, so many people have had good reviews, it will all be great!â€ Instead, I felt I had to apologize for this sad, sad excuse of a â€œpartyâ€. I woke up feeling robbed from part of wedding planning that is supposed to be a culminating activity, a â€œrewardâ€ so-to-say for your hard work and preparation of finalizing wedding details, and honestly hope that NO BRIDE feels robbed the way that I do. If you want to be treated like a VIP, call individual places yourself and try to work something out. The extra time needed to do that would be well worth it in replace of someone having to wake up with regret and sadness. While long and detailed, I feel the good from this will come from the readers out there. Word spreads quickly like wildfire, and I know that myself and the eight other women in my group have nothing but disappointment to spread about this company. I hope that future brides out there donâ€™t make the same mistake that I did. You worked hard planning the wedding of your dreams, you deserve a good party, and YOU DESERVE TO REALLY BE TREATED LIKE A VIP!