Seriously. I saw a lot. The next one up, is something special as I thought nothing could beat out the Mondrian. And I mean nothing. Until - Angelic Grove.
Angelic Grove is a floral/event design company in Phoenix. It's run by a husband and wife team. They rent out their showroom for small, intimate events. Perf!
It looks like an industrial loft. Perf!
It's downtown. Even better - even though I'm the only one that thought that was a plus. You see, my mom lives half an hour from downtown and when we were driving back home from Angelic Grove, she made sure to make every comment she could about how far away it is. This is what I deal with constantly.
And I loved the owner. Can you tell, I have a thing for contacts. Either love 'em or not. I truly feel that they are half of what sells a place to me. If they can't talk it up like they love it too, I just can't fall myself. If they aren't enthusiastic about it, how can I be?
Angelic Grove had no negatives. Not one. After, I saw this place, I was sold. Done!
Buuuuut - my mother kept making her comments and we moved on, "just to check it out" to The Castle of Ashley Manor...
A castle, you say? Ya. I'm not a castle girly but I gave it a chance.
I only have pictures of the gardens because guess what? That's all I liked. The gardens. The Castle has a set up where ceremony happens outdoors and reception indoors. I asked and no one has ever had their reception outside, ever. But, it's so much prettier...
I asked again and I would have to pay the full price to only use half the facility.
It was around this time - after seeing four venues and hearing prices that will scare you into next year, that a city kept creeping into my mind. And I finally understood why so many brides just flock there instead of dealing with all this. Big casino lights, buffets, shows and gambling floated around in my head.
This day I was so very excited. You see I was always looking for a loft/gallery space for our wedding. I wanted something empty and industrial looking that we could do whatever in terms of decor to make the space our own. This type of space is very hard to find in Phoenix - land of the golf and spa resorts.
After all my googling, I found such a place. Google is my new BFF. No doubt. I get a kick whenever it gives me new venues that I hadn't seen before.
I found Inspirador.
It's website and photos didn't give it much justice but I was in town for two weeks, what else did I have to do but look at venues?!? Off I went to downtown Chandler - which is a town southwest of Phoenix.
I liked the contact. I liked the outdoor courtyard. But with our small guest list of only 65 invited people, the site was way too large. I don't want to feel like mice in a large room. And on top of that, their pricing was the scariest thing I'd seen yet. It just wouldn't do for our small intimate wedding.
I thought I'd give a quick background on the how we met and how he asked me...
Yep, that's my ring. It's designed by David Yurman and yes, it's not your typical engagement ring. But, I have wanted this ring for-eva and I'm not a diamond girl, so its the perfect ring for me.
We met about two years ago at a bar. Take it in.
You can meet the love of your life at a bar. It's not easy.
We met on a night where me and my friends had a pre-drinking party at my apartment. The bar was in walking distance so I drank all I wanted "for free" before heading to the bar to dance it all off. Point is, I was semi-drunk before entering the bar...
On the dance floor He approached me and asked me for a dance lesson. I don't remember what I said here. WAIT. I don't remember what I said for a good chunk of this evening...
After our "lesson", he took me to the bar and next thing I know, he is giving me a shot. I don't do shots. That's one easy way for me to end the night. Plus, I'm already blitzed. No shots for me. I kindly turned it down. He took great offense to that and became upset that I wouldn't accept a drink/shot from him. So off he went.
Two weeks later - I got a text from Him and we talked/texted back and forth the rest of the evening. The next day we were both going to be at a local food festival. We decided to text each other to see if we could meet up there. I never got a text from him. (turns out he forgot his phone at home)
Two weeks later - I was bored to tears late at night and was going through my phone, I saw his number and decided what the heck? I texted him. Again, we texted each other back and forth the rest of the night. This time, he made a date to see me. The date was at a bar, not the same bar, a different bar and it was a happy hour date. The rest is history, we dated, we moved in together, he went to Iraq, he came back...
This January we went to a wedding of a good friend of mine. During the after party, he kept telling me that he wanted to dance on the rooftop with me when we got back home. Our apartment building has an incredible rooftop with a view of downtown. It was around 1am in the morning when we got home and went up to the rooftop and started dancing. Mid-dance, he stopped and told me there was a question he wanted to ask. I turned around and there he was, on bended knee.
After I left the Mondrian, it was time for me to skeedaddle quickly to Firesky Resort.
I was very excited to see this place because the online photos were gorgeous. And so it was in person, too.
What you can or can't tell is it's also pretty small. And anyone at the pool can see you getting married. That's not so bad. But it was the ballroom and contact that made this a no for me. The ballroom didn't reflect the rest of the hotel. I'll elaborate. The hotel lobby is full of funky furniture like zebra ottomans. It's fun in the lobby. The ballroom is dark and drab.
And the contact. Hmm. I got word before meeting with her that the normal contact (a person with glowing reviews) was leaving so I was meeting with a catering manager. No problem. Well, she turned out to be very dry. VERY DRY. It was work just to talk with her.
Next up is a brand new venue located on downtown Mesa. I'm not from the area so I had no idea downtown Mesa had some questionable spots. This venue was located in one of them. It's called Tre Bella. And it's cute.
The bad news is the parking lot. I wouldn't park my car there or trust a valet to park it there either. It was an eyesore. And the ceremony and reception rooms are not connected. And to get to either one, guests enter from the back of the building. The back of the building houses all the other buisnesses' dumpsters and the caterer will be using the back too. And the best part is at least you can check in on your car when we switch rooms because that's what you see, too, the parking lot.
Thank goodness I was finished for the day and it was time for lunch.
Both of our families live in Phoenix. So we thought we may as well have it there.
Note, my family is not from Phoenix, they just live there and when I say family, I mean my mom and my younger brother. All other fam on my side live in Florida and New York City.
His family is just as spread out with the bulk of them living in Phoenix.
In an effort not to make the important people in our lives travel far or travel at all - I gave Phoenix a chance...
The Mondrian Hotel
Let me preface - this was the very first place I visited.
I LOVE the Mondrian.
The Gathering. This is a pre-function/sorta hallway. Off to the sides are several meeting rooms behind curtained walls. People use the pre-function area as their function area. All the lounge furniture you see here, comes with! And a dance floor and lanterns and faux orchids in potted plants.
The Mondrian's contact. We clicked right away. She was super busy with all the NBA All Star activity happening in the hotel but she still made sure all my emails and questions were answered, same day. Now, in the wedding industry that is unbelievable. Same day contact! LOVE.
She was one of my two very favorite contacts out of too many too count. The downer of the Mondrian was price and bankruptcy rumors.