That weekend, one was well-run, while the other was a lesson in what-not-to-do at almost every turn.
Gala #1 held on Friday night
Upon entry to the hotel venue, we were greeted and directed. That was great!! We proceeded to the Ballroom level and again were greeted and directed. All good so far, right? The greeters instructed us, that we'd have to go and check in, and then we'd have go to another line, to select our entree. Two lines....HUH????
Well.... putting that aside.... for the moment.... we walked into the line for check-in.
Not just any line, but a line that snaked along the entire perimeter of what should have been the pre-event reception room. We had to wait in that long long line. Not only did it literally take us around the entire room, but once at the check-in table, it was just chaos. My date had left his tickets but remembered his table # since we were to be seated with his friends. Unfortunately because he couldn't produce his tickets, we were reassigned to another table. The folks at the check-in table were then trying to figure out what table to seat us at. I'm really not sure, why this happened. Makes no sense to me. It was the strangest check-in I've ever experienced. I should mention that this was a private membership group, and my date is a member of the group. They had distributed tickets to committee members for them to sell. Okay, I understand maybe not having staff to work on a floor plan, but there was an event committee. And why CHANGE table #'s once guests arrived? It really didn't make sense to me.
At least we've checked in. But guess what?? Remember we were told we'd need to also stand in line to choose our entree. Weird. Never had to do that prior to sitting down. Unless someone needs gluten free or a Kosher meal, usually if there is a choice to make, you make it with your server. So there is a hotel banquet staff person standing there asking us what we wanted: chicken or vegetarian. All that for a choice between chicken and vegetarian! UGH!!!! She gives us a little sheet of colored paper indicating our choice.
Alright, we are finally in the Ballroom. (We both breathed a sigh of relief.) To go along with our relief, we are approached asked for our table number and escorted to our table. That really was a nice touch. So we get to our table, and we are not seated with the friends we thought we'd be with. In fact, they are clear across the room. We sit down and guess what, we see folks already eating their entree... and they have Salmon. We didn't even have that as a choice. it took us so long to get through check in and the entree choice, that folks have already eaten their salad and are on to their entree. So why didn't we get to choose Salmon? Only conclusion is that the hotel allotted a certain number of Salmon entrees and ran out. This was another thing that was just mind boggling. menu-wise they should have planned for everyone to have the same thing. The only exceptions would have been for folks with dietary concerns.
Well we eat our salad and our chicken. It was okay. At this point, there is an announcement. Everyone should down and conversation should quiet down. Every gala has a speaking program at some point, so no big deal. Some issues here too... the speakers were on the floor. We couldn't see them. The sound system was awful. We couldn't understand what they were saying... like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon. Once the garbly-gook concluded a band began to play. A couple gets up to dance on the dance floor and they are told to sit down; told that they couldn't dance. HUH?? A dance floor but don't dance on it. As we talked to other folks apparently the plan was that the band was a performance, and there was a DJ waiting in the wings for dancing. Well it was 11 pm when the band finished. With everything ending at 12 midnight, the DJ only had an hour. We never did dance. All of our energy had been sucked right out of us. We left to find dancing elsewhere. So many not-to-do's were reinforced for me that night.....
The next night was totally different.... Read Tale of Two Galas Part 2 to hear about the next night.
Please share any comments about this gala!