Part 3: Booking the ceremony room
December 23, 2005
We got out of the car and walked across the asphalt to the front door of the hall. Through the corner of my eye I could see Naz sizing the place up. We entered the hall and were amazed at the ceremony room. It was a large room and was decorated rather well but it had a slight smell that to this day I wonder about. The room was filled with tiny white lights and plastic flowers. As a man I thought it looked nice but the shocked look on Naz's face led me to think that she didn't like it. The coordinator kept on telling us to close our eyes and imagine that night but when I closed my eyes all I could see what Naz standing me up at the alter.
After viewing the room we walked to the area that they dubbed the cocktail area. It was the small area outside of the reception hall that was large enough to hold about 25 people comfortably. My family loves to drink at weddings; an open bar is a must but with a room this small there would be riot. Regardless of our opinion of the hall, we decided to continue the tour. Naz pulled out her long list of questions and started shooting them at the coordinator as if it were a machine gun.
They had plenty of options and even would throw in a free wedding cake. Taking into the account that we would spend about $20,000 for the wedding room and food, we were not so blown away by the free $500 cake. But we appreciated their unique marketing plan. Trying not to be too discouraged we headed back to Naz's house. Not a word was spoken between us, neither wanting to criticize our first location. Finally not being able to stand the silence I chimed about the free and ample parking. I thought that at least I had not criticized our first location and had pointed to something positive. Not to be out done Naz mentioned the free cake. This followed by my mention that it had indoor plumbing.
Now with the first location out of the way, we had a better idea of what we wanted in a wedding site. Naz found a place that close to her house and in the middle of a canyon. It was a ranch built in the late 1800's that was converted to a sanctuary for exotic animals. In order to maintain the ranch, the owners rented out the entire location that included a ballroom. It was a beautiful site and luckily it was right across the street from rather famous biker bar. Never the less, we checked out the location and Naz fell in love immediately. It was perfect, life was perfect, we were happy and ready to the sign the contract. It seemed too good to be true and as those thoughts went through my mind I saw the bold writing on the rules and regulations: MUST BE OUT BY MIDNIGHT.
Now I'm sure how non Iranian weddings work, but for those of you who have never been to an Iranian wedding, the wedding reception doesn't really start until 10 pm and usually ends at about 3 am. So if we had to have the place cleaned out by midnight, that means we have to ask our guests to leave at 10, are you kidding me? I could just imagine having a wedding coordinator with a large bell standing on the terrace making sure we were on time; and at 10 PM having everyone get up from their seats folding them nicely and putting it in the chair closet. Oh yes, let's make our guests clean up after themselves. That would be one wedding everyone would talk about for years to come.
With heavy hearts we decided to pass on this wonderful location as well. Although visualizing my family members surrounded by a motorcycle gang amused me. So back to the drawing board we went. Naz was busy planning other aspects of the wedding and working long hours so it was up to me to find the location. Luckily, with all the reorganizations within the company I worked for, I had no apparent manager or work, thus I was free to pursue my location search without interference. I spent many hours at work contacting various hotels within our vicinity. After weeks of calling and viewing hotels, we finally managed to find a hotel near us that was nice and allow outside catering.
We finalized the contract 11 months before our planned wedding date, but were told by the coordinator that since we waited so long to book, we weren't able to get a Saturday wedding date so we decided that we would get married on a Friday. Now I'm not sure about you but I thought that giving a years notice to a hotel would enable us to have a Saturday date, but the coordinator explained that Saturday weddings in the Summer book up anywhere from a year to two years before the wedding date. Now in any other situation, I would have told the coordinator to get lost but since we both really liked the place, and because the price was right, and because the ability to bring in outside caterer, we decided to go for it.
As we signed the contract, the coordinator asked us for a small deposit of $7,500. Of course once you are in midst of wedding preparation everyone wants a small deposit; and soon the dizzying cost of a wedding will make you forget that 1. You have no money 2. $7,500 could buy you a lot of anything you want under $7,500. At the end of our meeting with the wedding coordinator we were informed that we needed to meet at least three more times to choose our options. Meet again? Options? More money? When will this misery end?
After the meeting with the coordinator, I went back to work and updated my married co-worker on my wedding woes. Jokingly I ask "When will the misery end"? His answer ˆ You are getting married the misery has just started. I laughed at that and was waiting for him to laugh back, he never did... >>> To be continued
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