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Jan 18, 2011 10:05 AM

Hart House Wedding?

I am having my wedding at Hart House at UofT next year, can anyone let me know about their experience with Hart House?
Is the Food good? How is their service with wedding coordination?


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  1. I attended a wedding there and the service was a bit awful. The courses were staggered so far apart that people didn't eat their main entrees until 10pm. Not sure why. Also, they wouldn't put wine on the table during the meal, you had to walk up to the bar. I also thought their food was pretty average, not horrible for wedding food but I certainly enjoyed the food at my wedding much more!

    1. I attended a wedding there two years ago and had a great time. It was early September and still quite humid - I'm don't think there was air conditioning in the room, but there were large fans. Other than that, the food was good - much better than the typical "chicken supreme"-type of wedding food. The couple made some interesting choices available for their guests, so there was a lot of variety. Since speeches/slideshows were at the beginning of the reception (and were brief), each of the four courses came out promptly.

      1. I think they key with that place is making sure they're on board with you, after all, you're paying them a ton of money! I just remember asking them why they wouldn't put a bottle of wine on each table during dinner and they kept mentioning policies they had. Maybe the wedding couple didn't stress it enough but it comes off as rude when there are a lot of older guests and families with young children waiting around just to eat . Its just not reasonable to wait until 10 with nothing in front of you!
        I saw the menu 2 years ago has probably changed. I just can't get over serving mixed green/micro green salad and israeli couscous is not exactly earth-shattering. Bottom line is if you work with them enough (including the chef), you will get exactly what you want. Just be mindful of their policies. My family considers it really stingy to moderate alcohol and food consumption, especially at a party so it came off badly but maybe the couple priortized too many other things.

        3 Replies
        1. re: albanis

          Having worked in the industry I suspect the reason that Hart House wouldn't just put the wine on the table is because of Liquor License and Smart Serve rules.

          I have heard of a number of cases where if a person is hurt or hurts others due to alcohol consumption the company (or individuals) that provided the alcohol were found partially responsible, Not saying it is right or wrong but I can imagine that U of T is a bit weary on the liability front...

          1. re: Otonabee

            That actually makes a lot of sense! I used to work at U of T and I remember they had to start issuing permits and charging for people to take wedding photos there because so many people in the wedding parties were sort of "vandalizing" property. Not really, but acting inappropriately so probably liability issues there. It's a nice room for sure. I just found it kind of mismanaged and found their catering a bit too conservative for my tastes.

          2. re: albanis

            I myself can't stand the bottle on the table approach - it requires one to lunge awkwardly over butter plates etc to pour your booze. I like a nice subtle approach with servers making regular glass filling rounds. Just a personal preference I guess. I love Hart House - it's gorgeous there.

          3. I photographed a winter wedding there a few years ago - February 29. It was a cocktail party, not a sit-down dinner. The food was very good and plentiful with a lot of variety. It actually felt as if there was too much food. Service was attentive. The couple was very happy with what they received.

            1. Hi everyone!

              My fiancee and I are considering Hart House for our wedding as well, but are wondering whether you can book Fridays for weddings there? Does anyone know?


              6 Replies
              1. re: Meggers12

                Ya you can do friday weddings,more likely the space is available during the summer though, but you probably want to do it during the summer, when there are less students around... just watch it doesn't get too hot. there is no airconditioning, they provide large industrial sized fans but they are not enough, there were 140 of us and definately very warm... Also, we had a curtain back drop for the head table and when the fans were pointed towards us, the curtains didn't stay down and affected the clarity in which we could hear the speeches. Another thing is they are huge and unsightly in photos.

                Also if you do book with them make sure you keep them on the ball - our coordinator was horrible (devon)... e.g. we booked a dessert table (and pre-paid for it) and it was not served at the wedding!
                It is a very nice venue though... another thing is they have purple lighting -we didn't even know it was there until the wedding reception, not good if your wedding colours don't go with the purple...
                Let me know if you have anymore questions...

                1. re: Meggers12

                  oh and some of our guests did request bottles on the table and the servers complied because they made us close the bar during dinner. Our courses were staggered, we told them when (what time) to serve each of the courses, the first 3 were fine, but had to wait 1.5 hours after the entree for the dessert. They did not stick to the times we gave them

                  1. re: zinasj

                    Hi zinasj,

                    Good to know about Devon - thanks! AND the purple lighting - totally not what we would want! I think we're going to aim for May or June, so hopefully there won't be too many students, and it won't be quite so hot. What time of year were you married? If you don't mind, would you answer a few more questions? How was the food? What were the best hors d'eouvres/entrees? Did you look into the air conditioning truck at all? I've heard that it doesn't do a very good job, and can be a waste of money.

                    Any other little tips or things to watch out for/ask about would be great...

                    1. re: Meggers12

                      We got married August 20th, 2011 so ya it was very humid and hot. We weren't told about the air conditioning truck, but May or June shouldn't be too bad. The food was really good - from what I could remember. Our parents went to the tasting because we couldn't make it and they were pleased. The presentation of food was was nice too. We didn't have cocktails at Hart House, We had them at Christie Mansion - Also a UofT building (Regis college -pretty site also and they have air conditioning).
                      Our menu at Hart House was:
                      1. Tomato, buffalo mozzarella and argula salad (good)
                      2. Black Pumpkin Ravioli (REALLY good, but this is from the 2010 menu)
                      3. Chicken (we had the 2010 style option with asparagus, I'm more of a seafood person so I wanted the fish but more people eat chicken and parents said chicken tasted better from the tasting) I remember it being good
                      4. Strawberry Rhubarb crumble w/ ice cream (ok but at this point I was looking forward to the dessert table that never came...)
                      Tips: If you get ready at hart house (ie hair and makeup stylist comes to you) not many plug points around which are needed for hair curlers and straigtheners. There is a room on the 3rd floor that you can request to get ready in - it is airconditioned - The Bickersteth room - it is bigger too.
                      You can request any wine (red, white, sparkling) from lcbo (check lcbo's webpage) - you don't have to go with hart house's wine list. There is a corkage fee but it is less for ontario wines.
                      You can request to have your suppliers drop off decor items the day before - this was quite important for us because we had quite extensive decor,
                      Check the room rental rate between the different days of the week to confirm if friday and sunday is less than saturday.
                      We had our dance floor in the middle of the great hall because we heard from others that if you have it at one end of the room, there is an echo created... so speakers should be in the middle of the room...
                      Another thing you can do at Hart house is create a signature drink (most venues allow this) it can be any drink/any type of alcohol available at lcbo and they will bring it in, you just have to give them the recipe.
                      Your coordinator is paid to be there for 8 hours on your wedding day. This could be to set-up during the day - lay out menu cards and name cards, help you decorator because there is another event head that oversees the dinner reception portion.
                      I heard that it is possible to have dinner in the courtyard too...

                      1. re: zinasj

                        Hey there!

                        It's been a while, but thanks so much for all of this information. It's been so helpful for us! We're also going with the Black Ravioli as an appetizer, and are giving choice between Chicken and Fish for the main course. I was wondering whether you did an hors d'oeuvres, and if you remember which were good? These were not included as a part of our tasting, so we're choosing them blindly!

                        Good to know about the rooms, as well. I was shown the South Sitting Room upstairs, which was bigger, but I'm still not sure it would work very well for getting ready with a bunch of people.

                        Thanks again!

                        1. re: Meggers12

                          Hi there, Meggers12 (and zinasj)

                          Just wondering if your wedding has taken place already, and how your meal selections turned out? How was the food? Was the timing of the courses organized? And for both, or anyone else with experience, any other comments or advice for a future-HH bride?

                          Thanks a million!!