Tuesday, November 18, 2008

so close and yet so far

The search for the perfect venue has taken us all over New York City and parts of Westchester too. It's been challenging, educational, tiresome, exciting--all those things. Needless to say we are both exhausted and I don't think I'd be stretching it to say neither of us likes the prospect of having to look at another place. I think we've seen 14 or 15 in all--and that's in person. Not to mention searching the internet and ruling out places we thought were in appropriate.

The wedding industry is big business and there are some industry standards. However, I have learned that you HAVE to get out of your house and look at the venue. You can't just look at their website and talk to them over the phone. Well you can but if you're picky (and we are picky) you'll be sorry in the end. One place that stated it had outdoor facilities available for the ceremony showed us a patio, which would have been fine, except it was about 100 feet away from a major street--exit off the interstate 87 North. I know people like to gawk at weddings, but I didn't want to be responsible for slow traffic off a highway exit. Another place had a little gazebo perched up on a hill that looked like a sheer drop into the Hudson River. Yet another place was trying to put 15 of our guests into a space that was the same size of my office cubicle. It's a large cubicle, but still.

One place we liked was about to start major construction that we couldn't be sure would have been finished by the time our date rolled around. They said May and we're saying August. But you know how contractors are. Still, that's where our friend Jelly, was working so we think maybe those contractors know what's good for them.

The prices mostly varied within 20 dollars of each other for the dates we looked at. But what you were getting for those prices made it necessary to sit down and do the math in order to have a good comparison. You could have 6 appetizers and three courses here for $55, vs. 5 appetizers three courses and a free cake over there for $75. Or you could have the whole shebang for $110 complete with ice sculptures, crudites (you know, veggies and dip), antipasto, and intermezzo (a small dish of something served in between courses such as sorbet before a heavy course of beef, fish, chicken--it cleanses the palate etc.) By the way, all our prices quotes were without alcohol. Don't think weddings in NYC are cheap.

All banquet and catering managers are not created equal. Some people were great on following up and paying attention to detail. Some were polished and very professional. One guy we were sure had just narrowly avoided a career as Jelly from Analyze This but we liked him. That was the thing. Some of these people, we just didn't like. Two guys in particular seemed to think their facility was too good for us. And in my mind I'm thinking, "hey, maybe you're right. How about I just take my cash somewhere it's appreciated". And other places where we just couldn't afford it, they were very polite, professional, understanding, never snooty, and even suggesting other places that we might want to look at. One guy, he should be teaching hospitality courses at the community college he was so good.

So we think we've finally settled on the place we were going to make our deposit at the other night. We took the contract home for closer inspection. We even showed it to uninvolved parties. But we weren't sure about dealing with a manager that seemed a little too snooty for our liking. At this point, I'm a little frustrated with looking but willing to look further. At the same time, I think this place is a good value, good location, and suits our style. So maybe I'll save up my patience and spread it out over the next 8 months rather than starting back at square one.

1 comment:

PaSho said...

That was a great summary. I believe we made a great selection. Very nice how you summed up everything though.