Really, the design of carpet can completely hinder your ability to move forward with a venue. I've seen all manner of carpet-collage monstrosities in the past few months, so much so that I'm convinced hotel decorators don't pay much attention to this detail when mapping out an identity for their ballrooms.
Carpet becomes something you genuinely care about in regards to your wedding venue, and believe me, I never thought I'd say those words myself.
It isn't just carpet though; you actually ponder what type of venue best sums up you and your relationship with your bride to be. This identity simply can't be ignored, no matter how much you try. Yes, it'd be cool if you got married on a helipad overlooking Marina Del Ray, but does that really define who you are?
The Angel and I have looked at well over a dozen venues this past summer, and all seemed to fail just a wee bit short in terms of what we want. We looked at vineyards, country clubs, hotels, resorts, and even considered a destination wedding. Sadly for me, there were no options that included Jabba's Sail Barge, the docks of Naboo, or the frozen carbonite chamber in Cloud City. Writer's Note: How cool would that be!
Many people were surprised that we opted not to get married at Disneyland, especially considering how much it played a part in both our lives and engagement. Certainly we considered it, but ultimately opted otherwise for our own personal reasons. Besides, it always remained a pleasant and possible back-up option.
There were several venues that came incredibly close and at one point we thought we had found home in a wonderful quaint vineyard up near Temecula.
But after a late night double MacBookPro session of weeding out other possible options, we stumbled upon a place called Padua Hills Theater that seemed intriguing. It somehow found a way past our now cynical hearts and allowed us to at least want to see it on-site firsthand.
Now, here's the thing. Although the venue is ultimately what matters, you have no idea how important the people at the venue matter as well. Sure, I could deal with a cold and sterile Alfred the Butler if we had the chance to get married at Wayne Manor, but anything less than perfection from a venue means the staff could make or break your decision. You have to work with these people for months, so God knows if they don't understand you, there's really no point. And rightfully so, everyone has different personalities and different expectations for their venue. There were plenty of lovely people we encountered over our travels in venue searching, but very few seemed to mesh up right away.
Then we met Sarah from Padua Hills. Now, like any other event coordinator, Sarah probably isn't for everyone. Who is? Having worked myself in customer service, I can tell you that it's impossible to have every potential customer like you instantaneously. Sometimes you need to feel it out before highlighting certain personality traits about yourself.
I had been running a little personal side-test for all the venues and the chaperones they provided on each tour. Essentially, I was pleasant and upbeat for the beginning. I'd let The Angel handle the lead, asking all the appropriate questions in regards to limitations.
Then, invariably, I'd pick my spot and deliver the question which became the barometer for my instincts in agreeing to work with a particular venue.
It went somethin like this...
"Sarah. Let me ask you this... how does the venue feel about Stormtroopers holding drink trays?"
Now, mind you, from her perspective, this wasn't an easy question to have thrown at you while elaborating on the various linen options. They're thinking about chivari chairs and centerpieces, not Stormtroopers.
And to be fair, I wasn't looking for an answer that showcased the chaperone's knowledge of Star Wars. I was looking for their sense of humor. Because above all else, The Angel and I are fun. We want our wedding to have elements of romance, sure. But we also plan on having quite a bit of fun. Anything less would be a disappointment to both us and our loved ones.
The Padua Hills Theater was already scoring major points, most notably with their Haunted Mansion-esque vibe. Its personality fit ours, and so all that remained was our interaction with the staff.
So when I popped the Stormtrooper question to Sarah, she neither hesitated nor fumbled.
"Quite frankly, I would be disappointed if there weren't Stormtroopers. I mean, that's what weddings are for, right?"
It wasn't just her response, it was her delivery. Dry, monotone, and with just the right touch of understanding.
Sarah had passed with flying colors. Over the next hour and throughout our next visit, it became clear we had found the right person and venue for the job.
Sarah, above all else, was witty and smart. A lot of venue coordinators are perky to the point you know you're being sold a set of goods. Not Sarah. She never strayed from the personality that we found so refreshing. You get a lot of used car salesmen at these places, and a couple like Nicole and I aren't easily fooled. Sarah 'got' sarcasm, which meant she 'got' us.
In short, on a different planet, Sarah seemed like someone we'd hang out with, like another smart, saracstic and fun friend that we always seem to surround ourselves with. Perhaps Hoth?
I don't know, all I know is that we signed with Padua Hills and only hope the positive vibes we feel from their staff continues.
So yeah, rolling with our Star Wars question actually had a tangible hand in why we ultimately went with Padua Hills.
And that's how I knew.
And honestly, are you really surprised?
PS: It seems next to impossible that Stormtroopers will be at the wedding, but this author hasn't given up yet.