Venue Wars III: The 9th Circle of Hell

I’ve been writing these in a third-person point of view, but when I arrived to this juncture I couldn’t hold back. This place deserves my full attention, and the tale is just as magnificently enthralling as the others, probably better even.

Our final destination on Friday was the distressingly poignant Arbor Pointe Event Center. It’s name alone is enough to push me away from using the place. It’s a primarily outdoor venue which meant that since it had been drizzling rain most of the week this was not the place for us to look at. Alas we went anyway. Arbor Pointe had never struck my fancy, I had decided to look at it with Nicole because her dad had heard good stuff about it. Turns out he heard the good stuff from the guy who owns it, go figure.

We arrived at Arbor Pointe at approximately 2:06 for our 2:00 appointment. While I don’t like to be late, I figured six minutes was none too shabby. We parked and decided that the best place to meet our coordinator would be in the office which had a “Open, Welcome” sign hanging in the window. We took turns flipping through their assorted photo albums and subscription bridal magazines. We rather quickly ran out of things to do in the tiny office. At 2:40 we were still sitting in the office twiddling our thumbs with no sign of life, extra terrestrial or humanoid, in sight. We made the executive decision to leave a curt no and leave. Of course my message of, “I waited 40 *explicit deleted* minutes for you. Screw Off,” which was to be lovingly scratched into the top of desk below the keyboard and to the left of the mouse pad, was not acceptable by Nicole’s standards of etiquette. She took the time to find a notepad and pen and leave a nice note explaining that we’d wasted enough time on their couch devouring their candies, and we were bouncing out. Of course that’s still much more curt than what she actually wrote down.

As we drove away from Arbor Pointe we noticed lights on in a not so adjacent building. We made the not so collective decision to stop and see if they were who we were waiting for. Parked in a fire lane, we abandoned our star ship and marched toward the unknown. As we approached pod bay doors of this new vessel we witnessed the doors open and a new life form arise. This life form will from here on out be known as Kristin. On the outside Kristin looked like a pleasant woman, smiling and ready to make nice. However on the inside it turns out she was a Vogon from the mind of Douglas Adams. Are we level now?

We wearily approached Kristin with hands at the ready for the initial handshake, though Kristin never made the gesture. Nicole introduced us, and stated that we believed our appointment was at two. Kristin’s unrelentingly unapologetic responses began now with, ” Yeah we did. I just lost track of time.” Inside I was exploding in the most livid colors one’s mind can produce. I thought to my self, “Are you kidding me? Are you *explicit deleted* aware that it’s three *explicit deleted* o’clock.” I had however set my phaser to “play-nice” and this stayed inside.

Kristin took us inside to the reception center, completely bypassing their namesake arbor. (This is an arbor by the way, ARBOR, because I had no idea that this is what these were called.) The reception hall was small, tacky and not memorable in the least. We moved on to Groom’s Room, which was dingy and featured a portrait of Henry VIII, in case you didn’t know he invented modern divorce rituals, married multiples times and then proceeded to behead more than one of his wives. So he’s a real stand-up guy to have hanging in your wedding venue. It took a lot to not mention something about this historical figure to Kristin.

Our next stop was the “Bride’s House”, AKA storage closet, this house is supposed to be dedicated to the bride on her day of joy, but it’s also where Arbor Pointe stores all of everything, including plants that were haphazardly collected across the floor, but there’s an iPod dock! Nicole and I are none too impressed with their chargers, or that if we go with even their most basic package we could use up to two, that’s right two(!), of their centerpiece decorations.

We left that building and made our way back to the office where our note was not so ambiguously placed upon Kristin’s keyboard.

I said hello to my friend the couch again, but was herded over to the uncomfortable chairs near the desk so that Kristin could conveniently lean on her elbow while she ever so excitedly described their pricing plans to us. This is another one of those all-in-one, except the booze, places, which has prices that began at a couple thousand dollars above our budget. While we had already decided to not use this place we decided to humor her, and listen a bit longer. She hurriedly went through the pricing, but made a point to explain that they were flexible when it came to the 8.25% sale tax they just so happen to charge. Again my brain writhed in pain as it was prodded like a stubborn cow. “How are you flexible with a state mandated tax?” That’s what I wanted her to explain, but didn’t ask. I figured however their flexibility was probably shadier than the Red Oaks on campus, and left well enough alone.

Before we were able to stand up and blast our way through the doors and jump back into Star Ship Kia, Kristin politely asked if we had looked anywhere else to host the wedding. Of course we said this place, this place and Bella Notte. At the sound of the first syllable of Bella her eyes lit up. I basically blocked out the next 5 minutes of conversation because she ever so delightedly regaled us with all the trash talk she could muster from her Antarctic soul about Bella Notte and their coordinators. The real gem that I took away from her digression of business was that she thinks the people at Arbor Pointe are more personal and caring, as witnessed by their ability to show up at appointments on time.

Kristin moved on to say that she thinks Bella Notte was too much like a fancy restaurant and that she’s always pictured herself getting married in Southern Gothic novel, or a chic downtown loft. I’m not sure if she’s aware of the fact that most chic downtown lofts are fancy restaurants, but I’ll let her discover that on her own. Of course this led into the fact that Arbor Pointe was rustic and secluded. (A) I don’t think Kristin is aware of what rustic means, and needs to brush up on her adjective skills. Their building quality barely falls above that of the portable buildings seen on high school campuses across America. (B) I refuse to accept that a place is secluded when it’s less than two miles from down town Round Rock, and I can see three apartment complexes from any point on the property. A 300 yard driveway is not the definition of secluded.

As soon as Kristin was done plugging her shop, we made nice faces, and left. I held my breath until we had traversed across the parking…area (?) to Kia. When the doors closed I let Colie know exactly how I felt about this place.

So that’s three down and no decision yet.

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