Churches >Chapel By The Sea
54 Bay Esplanade, Clearwater, FL | Directions 3376727.985000 -82.825373
Neighborhoods: Clearwater Beach
Don't book if customer service is important to you – The site is beautiful, set in a beautiful local. The custodian is very friendly, but those are about all of the positive comments i can make. The "staff clergy" Roy Rabatin is possibly the rudest, most brash person I have ever met.
Under his direction, wedding participants were disrespected and almost berated. Specific requests for the ceremony by the bride and groom were completely disregarded, even after they had been planned and agreed upon, and the minister was unwilling to work with pretty much everyone from the wedding party and the soloist to the photographer and the wedding guests.
I have attended and/or participated in many weddings in my life, and have never seen such lousy treatment of people. As a Christian, I find it pretty sad that a man of God has lost the focus on the Holy union shared by the bride and groom with God and their guests on their wedding day, and that he, instead, treats this beautiful chapel like a prison camp where he is the warden and noone else or their opinion matters.
I heard him say to several people that he does x number of weddings a year, rationalizing his actions and putting them in their place of inferiority and ignorance on the matter. He has to also realize that other vendors are used for a wedding such as this (photographers, florists, reception sites, caterers, dj's, videographers, etc) who also work on as many weddings a year and yet still seemed, in this case to remain friendly, and customer service oriented.
I find the problems encountered were less to do with his "experience" in this area, and more to do with personality flaws.
I could not, in good faith, recommend Chapel by the Sea to a bride who expects to make her wedding day the happiest day of her life.
Bad Experience – At first it seemed that the Chapel was going to be perfect! However, as soon as we met with Reverend Rabatin, I begin to worry. The Chapel was booked in DECEMBER for a June wedding. In APRIL I was told that the vocalist would be forced to use the services of the Chapel's pianist, who would only be available to practice approximately 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony! In addition, he would not be allowed to use a microphone and had to sing over the piano to a crowd of 200 people.
Also in April, I was informed that the cost of the videography was going to be $350 instead of the agreed upon $300. And also that the wedding party would not have access to the bride and groom rooms until 4:30p (the ceremony was to begin at 5:15p).
At rehearsal the Reverend walked into the Chapel and started barking out orders. He rushed through the rehearsal and made people feel stupid for asking questions. He forgot to rehearse with the mothers the lighting of the alter candles. This was only one aspect of the ceremony that had been planned and agreed upon by the Reverend, bride and groom that was completely disregarded.
He refused to allow the photographer to get any closer than 10 pews to the alter. He thought that it sufficient to take photographs of the processional, from the BACK of the church, so that instead of getting pictures of faces, you would see backs.
There were several times during the ceremony, including when the mothers were being seated, that there was no music being played at all!
The Chapel advertises "Our staff is committed to making your special day a beautiful and joyful occasion from your first meeting with our wedding coordinator to the final vows. Our wedding minister will work with you to create a ceremony that fulfills your every wish", that unfortunately was not my experience.
It is a shame that a man of God has forgotten the importance of a wedding day.
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