Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Venue Wars III: The 9th Circle of Hell

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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.

Venue Wars II: Bella…Monica's Place!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Last we left our heroes they were in the midst of battle with multiple venue queens. They had escaped the Balcones Country Club and were quickly flying up IH-35 to Round Rock, TX where the next venue was to be faced, Belle Notte on Main. Although it was a quite pleasurable place, it had too much of an out of the box feeling for our couple.

They met with one of their head coordinators, Monica. A tour of the building allows the couple to see that the “chapel” is a rather drab and horrendously brown, or maybe taupe, room. The room is only separated from the reception room by a series of curtains that are the same awful color. Okay so I’m going to take over narrating for now, and give the talking head a rest. Monica said that the curtains are meant to keep people from knowing what’s going on in the other room, but honestly I’d rather have the curtains open. The nicely constructed glass doors are there, which would allow some natural light in.

Bella Notte had two reception rooms, or technically one and a half since the other room was still under construction as we walked through. The first room was very, white. It seemed very plain to me with nothing interesting about its architecture. Granted the room was at one time a rather large storefront, but now they need to do something with it other than white paint and Roman-esque columns. The second room was themed in an entirely different manner. It had very high ceilings, and ornate ceiling tiles. The tiles are usually reserved for palaces or museums I think. I believe Colie and I both enjoyed this room much more than the other. The dark wood fixtures in the room, rather than the stark white of the other, really influenced our decisions.

As the day progressed and we lost the ability to pronounce Bella Notte, we began referring to it as Monica’s Place. This is what I imagine Monica from Friends would have called her restaurant. Moving on. Bella Notte is one of those super American all-in-one packages where they take all of the planning out of the planning of your wedding. They have food, music, a chapel, ball rooms, flowers, tables, cakes, booze-less bar, and a planner. Honestly its largest downfall came from the fact that they do everything, oh and we found the chapel to be horrendously ugly. Not to mention that their lowest priced packages began at above our budget.

Venue Wars: Deep Space Country Club

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

In a time not so long ago, in a city not very far away, three people set forth on a journey that would change the face of the Chet and Nicole Matrimonial Extravaganza forever. Our heroes traveled to three prospective points of matrimonial bliss; Balcones Country Club, Bella Notte on Main and Arbor Pointe Event Center. These are the tales of their adventures.

Balcones Country Club

The adventure begins with Nicole, Nicole’s mom, Carol, and myself blasting through North Austin in the Star Ship Kia. Our first destination was programmed for our arrival at approximately 10 a.m. We docked the car and stormed the front door of the Balcones Club House.

Balcones is the club and course that resides in Nicole’s parents’ neighborhood. It’s a well kept green spot, with a fairly large club house. Recently the club has come under the oversight of a new management company, and the club members are still waiting to see what changes may come.

15th Green
They have a nice set-up, simple ballroom area, a very large dance floor and plenty of room for the amount of people we’d like to invite. However there isn’t a specific area set aside for a ceremony, the best ceremony place they have to offer is part of their “Fountain” package which includes use of the club and a ceremony set-up on the 15th Green. This green is beautiful, and would be awesome, except we’re to be wed in November. As everyone knows meteorologists have had as much luck predicting November weather in Texas as the past fundamentalists have had in predicting the end of days. So that cancels out in plans to make our ceremony solely outdoors.

Centerpiece Example
The food options offered by the in house chef and team were pretty fantastic, not overly priced, but still a touch out of the price range we were looking for. The woman that we met with was very kind and informative. She was not pushy in any way. Honestly Erin seemed as though she actually enjoys her job, and would love to have us, but understands if we go somewhere else.

Unfortunately though, I had some preexisting issues with getting married at a country club. That kind of venue does not have the kind of connotation associated with it that I want our wedding to represent. The club house also had this distinct “retirement center” feeling when I walked inside. So for me that was one place down and two more to go.

Stay Tuned for Episode II

Goals Revisited

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

The past week has taken our adventure in wedding planning down one of those dark and scary paths that the talking scarecrow swears is a short cut, we know we shouldn’t go down it, but we go merrily skipping through the brush anyway. This was the week where we not so much as stepped away from our goals, as much as blew them away when we cracked the sound barrier. If you’ve never had the pleasure of perusing our goals then please take a look at Nicole’s post Hellllooooo February!. Our wedding blew up from our intimate party of less than 100, to some two-day behemoth of a fiasco waiting to happen.
How did this happen you ask? It was a rather simple situation where we decided to share our guest list with Nicole’s parents, and see if they had any suggestions. I’d go on about this, but Nicole scooped me on that topic a couple hours ago, read about the list fiasco here.
Now we’ve talked about goals again, and we both agree that we should stick to our goals, and plan our wedding according to the rules we set forth in the beginning. I never thought that it would be so difficult to stay on our path, but it’s proven itself to be difficult. We’ll see how we do in the future.
Also, just saying and all, but I’m going to be better for Nicole from now on.

See you guys soon.

Who Knew?

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Have any of you ever tried to create a list of only your closest friends and family? The first task is to decide who exactly falls into that category. Which is a challenge within itself. I think I decided that my closest family would only include my parents, siblings, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and first cousins. A pretty reasonable response I think. When writing down who I consider to be my best friends, it was decided that if I couldn’t think of them without the use of Facebook, then we’re probably not close friends.

Throughout the creation of our guest list we realized that we had a lot of people in our lives that just weren’t going to make the cut. As hurtful as this may seem to some of them, it’s necessary for our budget and our goals. We’ve set an invitation list maximum that will allow us to keep our wedding to a very intimate affair.

I believe we’ve created a very nice rough list, and it will be refined in the next week. You all need to be looking out for save the dates soon! We will also have some online tools for you to help us out.

Thanks and Good Night!

By the way, it took me a little while, and a few different ideas, but I have finally coded a method into our guest book that will keep spambots at bay. Hopefully we will no longer have to worry about any dirty, smutty comments!