One of the benefits of planning a wedding are the perks: the free tastings, the hotel room upgrades, top-notch customer service. If you have the potential to throw down tens of thousands of dollars on a venue, they’re going to roll out the red carpet. I scoured venues up and down California, including the City Club a block away from where I work. I was trying to work around a certain price point. Until that criteria was met, there was no use looking at a place.
I remember watching the show Say Yes to the Dress. A bride had fallen in love with a gorgeous dress completely out of her budget. She wanted it badly, but was tormented by the price. Her mother scowled, “I don’t know why you tried the dress on in the first place.” She turned to the camera, “It’s like test-driving a Cadillac when you can only afford a Toyota!”
I couldn’t agree more. Why would I look at a venue if I couldn’t make it work with my budget. The City Club was too expensive. Easy decision. But they seem to have kept me on their email distribution. So I signed up for an event they were hosting–A Summer Soiree: Seasons of the City Club. Convenient? Check. Guest allowed? Check. Fits in the budget? Free!
Dean and I headed to the event after work yesterday. Our first stop was the 10th floor decorated summertime with large sunbrellas. Two rastafarians in the back of the room were playing drums. An open bar was pouring your choice of cocktail, wine, or champagne. The center marble table had an assortment of cheese, crackers, and breadsticks. There were grilled sliders, french fries, mini hot dogs, ribs, and crabcakes. The head chef came by while we were munching. “Don’t forget to make your way upstairs. There’s even more food up there.”
On our way up the staircase, Santa Claus was ringing his bell and greeting people with winter cheer. The ice sculpture was the centerpiece for a massive table of seafood: caviar, oysters, mussels, lobster, crab, jumbo shrimp. I wished we had started on the winter floor first. There was a harpist playing Christmas songs. The 9th floor had a scotch tasting bar, a mojito bar, and a table of petit fours, cheesecake, chocolate cake, tarts, glass vases of candy that you could bag up and take home.
Most of the attendees had no idea what they were doing there or how they had gotten invited. I shared my connection. A man in front of me in line at the bar said he was a radio talk show host. Another said he was the event planner for the restaurant formerly known as Bacar. One woman was a florist. She said, “I’m here because they want my Rolodex.”
Still, in this economy, it was surprising to experience such a beautiful event…all for free.