During bridal show season I try to visit venues that I’ve not been to before to familiarize myself with the property, their food, and their service. I also go to meet other wedding professional that I may not have known about before.  Today I visited a property that was a good 45 minutes from my office. I had heard good things about this place and wanted to see it for myself. I set the address into my trusty GPS, filled up my tank with gasoline and off I went to be wowed!

The first thing that struck me as I approached the site from the main road was that there was no sign either indicating the venue or that there was a bridal show there that day (which is why I drove right by it even though the GPS kept telling me I had reached my destination).

After I turned around and pulled into the driveway I noticed a sign pointing to valet parking yet there were no valets to be found. I parked my own car and walked to the front door. As I walked into the lobby I felt like I was in the wrong place. There was no one to greet me at the door, no coat check, no guidance, no nothing.

I continued to walk through the wood paneled lobby with comfortable furniture and lit fireplace and found nothing but silence. Finally someone with a name tag (I’m guessing she was a venue employee) appeared and gave me directions to my inquiry regarding the location of the bridal show.

Down a wide staircase and through a maze of halls following the plaques on the walls for the ballroom I finally found the area where the bridal show was being held. The halls were packed with professionals to the point that it was difficult to move especially if you stopped in front of one of the tables to speak to the them about their wares or services. Seriously, did they really need to have 8 photographers there?? The bakery who supplies the wedding cakes for the venue was there with 3 mock ups but no cake samples.

The ballroom was beautiful and spacious and light poured through the windows. One table was set as if for a wedding and the rest were bare except for tablecloth and one lonely votive candle. The chef was behind the table where chafing dishes of ravioli and penne were available to sample. The hallway included a table with cheese & crackers and crudite’.

The pasta in the ballroom was barely warm. I caught a glimpse of two servers with passed hors d’oeurves of tiny stuffed mushrooms and spinach in phyllo dough. They made one pass and then disappeared. I never got to taste either so I couldn’t tell if they were freshly made or warmed up out of a box from COSTCO.

I left after being there for maybe 15 minutes. I found the door that I should have used to enter which took me outside and up a flight of stair to a pathway that went past the front door.

When I go to a venue I want to feel welcome and be impressed from the moment I pull into the parking lot until the moment I leave. As a potential client of that venue you should want that too!

Can all of my issues be fixed? Sure they can but IMHO they never should have been issues in the first place. I’m glad I took that long drive today. Now I can cross this site off my list as I’ll not be recommending them to any of my clients.