Saturday, January 26, 2013

Showing Up Unannounced

The other day, I got a call from a wedding venue, asking if I wanted to make an appointment. It looked pretty in the photo I saw, where it was lit up at night, in front of a lake. The venue is inland, and we're really hoping for something on the beach, but I figured it was worth looking at -- except it's about 45 minutes from home.

Pete wasn't sure it was worth the drive.

So I didn't make an appointment.

I went out for lunch today, a little over an hour from home. On the way up, I passed a sign for the town where the venue is. It was fate, I thought.

I wasn't sure how long lunch would last, so I didn't call anyone. I just figured I could drive by, see where it was located, and check out the lake. If I liked the grounds, I would take Pete for a drive and a formal look.

So, on the way home, I got directions to the venue and stopped by unannounced. I was greeted by this:

That's the photo of the entrance to a gated community, which, incidentally, you're not able to just drive around -- no matter how nicely you ask the gatekeeper. Yeah, I had no idea that the venue was a clubhouse in a gated golf community.

So instead of going in, you're left to do this:

That's me peering in, trying to figure out if there's a side entrance or a fence I could jump.

There wasn't either.

I did ask if I could just drive around (which seems a little crazy, yes, but across the street there's a vineyard community that is accessible to the public), but was told that I could check out the restaurant down the block.

mad boar restaurant

Apparently, you can have a reception here, but that's not what I was looking for, even though there is a very nice hotel in the same parking lot where my out of town guests could stay.

holiday inn

I could have gone in the restaurant to ask and see if someone could show me around the venue. That was an option. But at that point, I had to think logically. It's not coastal. It's quite a drive from where the ceremony would be. It's in a gated community, so all my guests would be stopped at the gate. It's not that big of a hassle, but a minor inconvenience nonetheless.

And this is what the majority of the grass looks like:

Sure, it can't all be green in January, but this is North Carolina so I just expected more green than that patch.

To be honest, I'm kind of glad I didn't make an appointment because the venue wasn't perfect, so I would have been wasting someone's time. And if I didn't just happen to be driving by, I wouldn't have even stopped by unannounced.

It worked out for me, honestly, but it's not the best way to go. Actually scheduling a visit is the best possible course of action. Going all stealth-like and getting stopped before you pass go, not exactly the optimal option.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Did you make appointments for every venue you looked at?

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