Monday, November 23, 2009

Doubly Married

It's all over and like many brides I've got mixed emotions about the big day. There were things I loved and for most of the evening I was truly in the moment and enjoying myself. But there were some things that keep playing over and over in my head and are keeping me from getting some much-needed shut-eye.

Let's start with the bad (I'm hoping that getting it off my chest will allow me to sleep).

The Venue:
A week before the wedding it sort of hit me that back in October when I dropped off final payment for the venue the owner mentioned that we didn't have Friday set up time anymore as he had rented it out for someone else's rehearsal dinner. We, of course, were at a disadvantage because when we signed the paper work and my Mom asked that the Friday set up time be added to the contract, the owner said 'oh, don't worry I'm marking it in my calendar, my word's good'. Brides don't believe anyone when they say this. Even if it is small town Texas and you can't imagine anyone doing this to you. Nor can you imagine that when you're trying to resolve the situation the week before the wedding that the owner will start yelling at you about how he's 'going to give you back everything but your deposit, not let you have the venue, call his lawyer and sue you and make you pay so much money you wouldn't believe' because you let him know that you'll be writing about your experiences and his dishonesty on every wedding website you can think of (by the way, I was more 'on the verge of tears' upset, not yelling upset). I considered it fair warning, he considered it a reason to ream the bride out. Long story short, avoid the Mary Gray Events Center in Castroville, TX. Everyone we talked to about him in town gave us knowing looks and rolled eyes. I wish I'd listened to Momma MB when she said she wasn't getting a good vibe from him. He also lied about almost everything else. He said 250 people could be seated in the hall (we had 160 and it was jam packed). He said 8-10 people could be seated at each table, 8 barely fit). He told me the room was 100' x 60' when I asked for measurements. That's probably twice as big as reality. The room was so small that the music and dance floor had to be put outside, which seriously hurt my chances of getting anyone onto the dance floor. He said music could be outside until 11 pm, but we found out from anyone else that we talked to that an elderly lady starts filing complaints much earlier than that. And though the venue is very reasonably priced, you have to use their bartenders and alcohol, there are 3 toilets total, and the owner is a 'cut-throat' Los Angeles business-type who came back to Castroville and is doing his best to take over the town by undercutting all the locals. In the end, we got the keys around midnight and a separate storage room (in the building, but not the hall) to set up the large flower wall, so it wouldn't have to be brought in from far away. But I think I should note that we only got the separate room through dealing with his assistant and calling about 5 times to try and get some sort of help.

The Linens:
Because our set up time had been severely shortened, we now needed someone to set up the tables and linens for us. The vendor that the events center works with is Fantastic Flowers, and since they quoted the best prices for round table linens, we caved and went with them. Even though they're closely affiliated with the horrible reception venue owner and we really didn't want to use anyone that could benefit him. Well when I got to the hall I found out why they were cheaper. Their linens were square and only go about 1/3 of the way to the floor. Icky folding table legs were everywhere!

The non-DJ:
Our jazz musicians were great, but turns out that no one dances to jazz. And our laptop set up left for a seriously lacking music situation. I don't care how cheesy the DJ is, there probably won't be any 5 minute pauses after someone decides to cut off the song in the middle of 'Come on Eileen' (remember that's my name) to switch it to some slow, country drinking song. I had finally rallied some people into dancing and then BAM!

The things that didn't happen:
We didn't do a bouquet or garter toss, no anniversary dance, not as many extended family shots as we'd have liked, and some of the decorations I made didn't get used. In the end, I'm only sad about the family shots, but our ceremony started late and we needed to get out of the church for Saturday evening mass. With families as large as ours they never would have been coralled in time.

Alright, the next post will be the beginning of all the wonderful positives and the bjillion last minute things that Momma MB and I did in that final week.

And for listening to my rant, here's a snapshot taken by my aunt.

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