February 20, 2008

Choosing Locations: Our Dinner and Reception Location

Posted in Cultural Differences, Wedding Locations at 12:57 pm by Jess

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Maison Vallier, Cressier

We had five appointments in various parts of Neuchatel one Saturday in November, about seven months before the wedding. Honestly, at eleven a.m., after seeing the first possibility, which is in my all-time favorite village, I was ready to sign for that one. I was literally smitten, jumping up and down with excitement, both at finding a place that I loved so quickly, and at the prospect of freeing up our Saturday. However, Jon wanted to be practical.

We visited a sad little place in a random village, then a large place up in the mountains with a grand view of the lake, the valley and the Alps. However, the man who ran the establishment was such a rude and absolutely arrogant person that Jon and I walked out saying, “There is no way we are putting our guests in his vicinity.” So, sorry to tell you, but guests won’t get the Alpine-Lake view over dinner.

The next place we visited was a farm converted into a restaurant which specializes in regional cuisine. We were tempted to book it, because the couple who own the restaurant know Jonathan from his teenage years. It was a big surprise, and that touch was a nice idea. However, the room really didn’t speak to us, and the road – like many mountain roads in Neuchâtel – was extremely windy and narrow. I got road sick on it in the middle of the day. Not the kind of road I wanted my guests driving down after dinner and dancing.

So, I am pleased to say, that bright and early the following Monday, I was able to call and reserve the original, first place that we visited. WOW, I don’t think I could be happier. It is an historical home, in a village that I adore, which is near the lake, close to the highway, and therefore, very close (and flat!) to the hotels in either Neuchâtel or Morat. Ironically, long before we seriously talked about marriage, I told Jon that “if ever we did” I wanted to be married in this village, my favorite village in the Neuchâtel area. While the ceremony is not there, it is in a better place, and we are able to come to this same village for dinner!

Having booked this place now, I can honestly say that I could not be happier with our choices. For me, they are perfect.

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The Building Next Door

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The Maison Vallier from Exterior

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This building is 200 years older than my Country!!

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The front door, where I will hang our DIY Wreath

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View behind building – The vineyards will be greener!

So we showed up on a Saturday morning to check this place out and plan the seating arrangements. This is one of the greater examples I have of cultural differences.  Your wedding location person of contact is probably a professional looking person, possibly in a collared shirt, with a notepad. He or she points out things to you, and leads you around.

Our person of contact is the concierge, who lives in the village, and who keeps the keys. She showed up at ten a.m., already drunk. To be perfectly fair, this is totally normal in this region. It’s a more rural region, a farmer region, and also a (bad) wine region. So a lot of people can be found in smoky packed bars at ten a.m. on Saturdays. Sundays too.

She had on working pants and a parka. Her nose was the tell-tale sign: She has the same bulbous, vein covered nose that so many older people have in this region. It’s a side-effect of alcoholism. I really had a hard time looking at it. But, she was very nice. She did not “show” us anything; She stood in the background, timidly, and let us explore. We started to erect a few tables, and it was kind of cute how she inched forward a few feet to watch, but still refused to say anything.

We had a few questions, but she directed, in slurred words, to call the city hall on Monday. All she does is keep the keys.

At one point a sudden burst of noise erupted – loud laughing voices. It turns out that there is a “cave” in the building – we had walked right past as we went up the stairs, but the door was closed and we did not notice. A few extremely drunk people came up the stairs to inform us that they were done drinking and were leaving and we had to leave! The concierge meekly tried to explain that she had the keys. It took a few tries, but eventually they understand and then suddenly they were shaking her hand, hugging her and saying “Oh but why didn’t you say…” Just as fast they all filed out the downstairs door and were gone.

Turns out the cave is in the building, but is separate. Does that mean that the cave could be rented out for the same day as our wedding? Quelle histoire! Can you imagine? It’s not even in a separate part of the building. It’s just a room half way up the stairs!!

What we did find out was that we rented the place for 700 Francs (roughly 600 dollars) and we can have it starting from Friday until Sunday when we are done cleaning.

Done WHAT!?

Oh yes, Jon informed me that we would be spending Sunday afternoon cleaning up after ourselves.

Is he crazy? I mean CRAZY crazy??!!

There’s another whopping difference for you. Well, not only do I have to take people back to Geneva to catch airplanes, but there is just no way that I am cleaning up that place the day after my wedding. Or doing it period. This is my bridezilla moment people, and I’m riding it full steam.

So, we are hiring the bulbous nosed concierge to clean it, at 40 Francs an hour.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] Our next bride in need is Jessica who is planning a very intimate wedding in a small Swiss village. Her colors are teal, gold and white. The wedding will be held at Le Vieux Manoir and the reception at Maison Vallier. […]

  2. Amazing! You are lucky to have found such a pretty place in this world to marry! When is the wedding? What will thew weather be like? I love the inspiration board on Elizabeth’s blog. That BLUE is stunning! Do you have a photographer yet? I would be in heaven shooting at this location! I’d offer a deal because it would be wonderful for my portfolio…..just thought I would throw it out there??? Cheers and happy wedding planning to you!


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