LAURIE: So we’re at the White Eagle (scree) Conference Center, and I’m feeling less than psyched about the room that we’ve chosen to host our wedding reception. The ceilings are perilously low, the décor hurts my internal organs, and it doesn’t seem nearly big enough to hold as many guests as we expect will attend. There’s extra outdoor seating for 40 people, but it might rain. It might be really windy. It might be repulsively hot and humid. Or, even though we’re getting married just before July 4th weekend, it might actually be chilly. (Seriously. I have distinct memories of snow flurrying at a late August Allman Brothers concert at the New York State Fairgrounds. And it snowed one week before my college graduation, on Memorial Day weekend.)
A chef at the space named Will tells me that the Chandelier Room seats 300 and isn’t booked for that date. Because of my commitment to the idea of a casual wedding reception, I have been loath to even consider the Chandelier Room, which Will has described as “formal.” Our only other option, apart from scrapping the whole thing and forfeiting the small deposit we’ve already made, is to rent a large tent and have it pitched somewhere on the property, which the chef assures me will “significantly increase your costs.” So we go and check out the Chandelier Room.
This whole White Eagle facility was, at one time, owned by the American Management Association. I guess they took the “American” part pretty seriously, because, as Josh points out, there are figurines and drawings and wooden silhouettes of eagles all over the damn place. And part of the facility is something called the Americana Village, where, Will shares helpfully, some people choose to have their ceremony. We stop by on the way to the Chandelier Room, to see if the Americana Village will suit our needs. I am skeptical before we get there, and screaming inside as soon as we arrive. Although there is a perfectly lovely gazebo in the center of it all, it is surrounded by a series of wooden buildings that can only be described as “in complete and utter disrepair.” Like, slumping on their foundations, broken windows, totally trashed interiors, major flaking paint. What part of “Americana” is this supposed to glorify – a trashed South Carolina plantation after the Civil War? It looks like the Little House on the Prairie set, overtaken by a gang of violent meth-addicted chefs.
Let us prairie.