Wedding Venue Previews- Part 2
Finally- the good stuff!
So Saturday rolls around and my mom, T, Amy and I all head out to our first stop.
It’s at a place that is pretty far out, but looks pretty from the photos they have on the website; and is very affordable.
We get there and the first thing Amy said was “they must be doing their summer maintenance”. Based off of our Pioneer and Steakhouse experiences we learned that a lot of venues do their maintenance over the summer (slow) season. To be honest the gorgeous running pond/water feature/water fall was lookin’ kinda sad. (We asked about it later and the coordinator just said the pump wasn’t on.. the water was a good 2 feet low. First Clue. The entire property looked like it hadn’t had any maintenance in a good 10-15 years.)
We walked a little further and had a hard time finding anyone, so I tried calling the coordinator. She didn’t answer so we just explored a little bit to kill some time.
Hey- I took pictures.. too bad they are terrible! haha
There was a really long, pretty walkway that was covered in lights that marked the entrance of the pretty grassy/gazebo area. The area was nice, but there was a little road noise from a nearby street and it was in levels/layers so it had a kind of strange effect. The area supposedly seats 300 (we are having 150), but everyone agreed it seemed like a person would be hard pressed to get even 120 in the area.
(Please don’t think I am knocking these places.. these are obviously just my opinions and based off what we want to do!!)
We walked a little further into the venue and ran across some random men walking around. One asked if we needed help and I let him know we had an appointment, but that we had had a hard time finding/getting a hold of the coordinator. He pulled out his cell and called her and she took his call and said she would be right over. He said we should look around in the meantime.
This place also had a little western town area.. all kinds of store fronts, “saloon”, animals, cave you could walk through (?!), and a bunch of random stuff.
We found these guys + a sheep so I immediately made plans to kidnap them..
The coordinator found us over by the animals and walked up and asked what our questions were… she didn’t even introduce herself and I found it a bit weird.
I took the lead and introduced myself and everyone and she finally introduced herself and asked again what our questions were. At that point I asked her if she could tell us a bit about the facility and give us a tour and she acted completely put out. She did show us around and assured us that they could accommodate up to 300 people. She also asked like 3 times what our date was even though I asked her in the initial e-mail if they had it available. She showed us the “bridal parlor” and then took us over to the “saloon”/banquet/indoor area. She showed us around and it was super neat, but really musty/dusty smelly. As we were walking out she mentioned “Sorry for the set up- we just had a funeral in here”.. uhhh come again???????
Next she showed us a pretty little antique church front/ grass area (she was walking waaaayy too fast to take pics- sorry!) It was my favorite by far out of the three sections we looked at. The only drawback was the ceremony and the reception would be on the same grassy area so there would have to be an intermission where guests would have to get out of the way. To where, I am not really sure.. We talked in the grass area for a few minutes and I started itching.. like BIG TIME! There were definitely many, many ants in the area! Amy asked about them and the coordinator got defensive and said they treat for ants- she didn’t know why they were there.
I asked about Lori being there and she acted like I had grown another head. She also took the moment to mention that there could be other weddings going on and we weren’t actually able to bring in outside vendors. I asked if she hired extra staff to cover twice as many people and she had a very blank look on her face.. After she was done giving me crazy looks she decided to go in for the big sales push (she had already pushed the sale in the initial e-mail that she answered a full week after the other venues..) and when she realized I was still looking she started prying about the other places I was looking and tried to talk crap about them!
On the way out we checked out the bathrooms and they were hot, dirty and smelly. To top it all off, another bride and her entourage came though and she immediately latched on to them and hardly said good-bye to us.. I will give her credit though, she called the next day to see when we were booking with her! hahaha!
After we got into the car everyone just exploded in negative comments. It was actually kind of funny because everyone agreed 100% on everything. It was nice though because I really liked the previous 2 serious contenders so it was nice to know i wasn’t just going to like everything. haha! Though I do feel like Goldilocks; the steakhouse coordinator was too brusque/cold, this lady was too pushy.. Cry me a river.. I know 🙂
*I didn’t bother looking up pictures for this one, I think it may be a favor.. And for the record this one “wouldn’t really work” for T’s plan.
Next up we headed out to our top pick. It’s on a ranch out of town, around 1-1:15 hours away. T is absolutely IN LOVE with this one. I love it too, but think there are some logistical problems.
So we get there and the coordinator meets us at the closest restaurant and leads us up to the ranch.
Let me just say I was sold from when she pulled up in a Jeep with a Border Collie sitting next to her.
So we followed her, and followed her, and followed her down a winding gravel road. But once we finally got there and it was a million times better than we remembered. (We had only been there once for a work function, 2 years ago). This place has a legit western town- complete with a quick draw game with antique revolvers, camp fires, complete music stage/dance floor, gun shop, ax throwing, beautiful bridal room, covered patios for appetizers, cool bar areas.. just everything. Plus it’s a bit out of town and off the mountain so it actually gets quite cool out there. I realize this probably sounds like a carnival, but it is just seriously so cool. Plus we think T’s family from Indy would love it.
The coordinator was BEYOND amazing, she was sooo sweet. She answered all of our questions, gave us a great tour and told us the history of the place. Turns out they do events, but their main focus is providing a cool experience (field trip) to kids that have been taken away from their parents and are awaiting foster families. They have places for them to camp and regularly hold services in their complete (non denominational) church for them. They also teach them about animals, archery, wilderness, etc.
She also said that if we wanted to, we could come set up the day before, and come back for our decorations the day after; that was totally fine. We could stay as late as we wanted, and she has a staff of like 4 girls that help her with the organizing/serving/set up/tear down. She also has 8 “cowboys” that man all the activities for as long as we want them.
She was so unassuming and acted like she truly wanted us there, but like she would be happy for us no matter where we landed; as long as we enjoyed ourselves. We also found out that she had worked with/trained the Pioneer coordinator!
The ONLY thing that really stunk about it all was the fact that I didn’t know the prices going in. T’s HR friend told him the prices were “decent”, but we didn’t really know what that meant since they tend to go all out for their award dinners. So we went in hoping that they really would be decent, and maybe we would be able to get shuttle/party buses for everyone to avoid the long drive/ possible safety issues on the dirt road. No dice though.. it would probably be $80/person…. and that doesn’t include tables, decorations, cake, DJ, dress, tux, flowers, Photographer, etc, etc, etc 😦 At 150-200 that is just not gonna work for us.
The good news was we found out that the offer horseback rides.. so we’ll be back 🙂
Last Preview: September 17
Do you remember this post?
This place is having an open house and we are going to check it out. It is more expensive.. but I do want to check it out. It has just about everything I have dreamed of…. drawback being it’s a ways out (90 minutes). Either way- we shall see 🙂
Congratulations (& I’m sorry) to anyone who made it through this novel 🙂