Friday, January 30, 2009

Texas Old Town...and it's own brand of charm

So don’t you know that it turns out the FH has to work on the Saturday that I’ve scheduled us to go and look at Texas Old Town? That’s just our luck. But the good news is that he thought that it would be a short half-day of work, and worst case scenario we could drive there separately and just meet instead of riding together.

In the end, it worked out fine. We managed to meet up, and ride together and got there right on time. As we’re driving along, I’m trying to keep an open mind, preparing myself to find the things that I don’t like about the venue. I mean, honestly, it’s the best option that we’ve come across on line and seems to fit in with everything that we’d been looking for. But nothing can be that great, right? Once again, that’s just my luck talking.

So as we’re driving along, I’m trying to see things from an outsider’s perspective. It was nice that Texas Old Town is situation so close to our house, a DEFINITE bonus, and I was trying to follow the directions given to us by Danny German, the manager as if I wasn’t familiar with the area. Good news, the directions were great, and the roads were clearly marked and all turns noted. Check on directions.

As we pull into the property, there is a large wooden ranch-style archway that you drive through, reminiscent of an actual ranch. Once inside the gates, there is a fork in the road. One way points toward two of the halls, and the other direction is clearly marked for another hall. Once again, kudos for having the trail clearly marked. I can see that this could be a nightmare if not marked clearly, but never fear, the folks at TOT seem to know what they’re doing. I also notice that underneath each building name is what looks to be a chalkboard frame, and I’m assuming that when there is an event scheduled, the event name is probably written upon that board to more clearly define where your guests should be going. Quaint, and I like it.

So we follow the roads around until we find a grouping of buildings where the office in located. Immediately I can see the outdoor stage area, as well as one ceremony site and two of the halls. The two halls are situation close together, but not side by side. They are separated by the outdoor stage as well as the office buildings, which is good news for me.

We find Danny, the manager, and are immediately welcomed to TOT and find him to be genuinely friendly and informative. He immediately lets up know up front that he’s not a salesperson, he’s just a tour guide. He welcomes us to his family’s business and immediately sets about making us feel at home. He gives us some papers to look over, with information about what is included in the rental and the rates and some preferred vendor information. He patiently explains some things, and answers any questions that we have right then, and we move quickly to the tour portion of the visit.

Danny does a great job of explaining the history behind TOT, giving us a better understanding of how the place started and how it morphed into what it is now. And there is a method to his madness…while on the tour, you can see the buildings and feel of the place change. The older buildings were built for reasons other than to be event locations, you see. The original founders (Danny’s in-laws) built Texas Old Town to be a throw back to the good old days of West Texas, back when there were cowboys and Indians roaming about. It was started as a “cow-town” settlement, for entertainment purposes only. It’s only been in the past few years that the wedding industry has discovered the unique charm and rustic elegance of having a Hill Country wedding in a locale such as this. And I think that it was important to have the brief history lesson – it gave us an understanding of the where, when and why behind it all.

And it explained the differences in the halls. Before going out there and seeing things myself, I couldn’t understand why two halls that hold different size parties would cost the same amount, and the other building was so much more expensive. Seeing things first hand, really helped clarify these points for me. And it truly is such that each hall has its own character and set of attributes that might appeal or not appeal to each individual bride. There are things that one hall has that another doesn’t that makes it more or less appealing to different people. And we liked this. It gave each hall its own little personality, and it was a joy to try to match that unique set of characteristics with what we’re shooting for with our wedding.

And as such, we felt it when we walked into the hall that “fit” us and our wedding. There was no question about it. The other two halls were nice, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but this one hall just fit US….stayed tuned to find out which one!

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