Oct 23, 2012  •  In Aerin, Korean, Personal

Are You Effing Kidding Me?

So remember how we were planning on throwing a big celebration for Aerin’s dol?

And how we had even booked a fancy schmancy banquet room for the party?

Well, that went out the window…just ONE WEEK before the event.  👿

Allow me to explain.

I had contacted numerous restaurants, caterers, and such in order to find a suitable space for Aerin’s first birthday (which, in case you weren’t aware, is one of the most celebrated birthdays in Korean culture, second only to the 60th birthday).

And in the end, my mother — who was helping me plan the dol because she is more familiar with what needs to happen — and J and I decided that holding the celebration at a Korean banquet hall would be the best option because they would be familiar with holding dols.

Claire’s dol was held at my parents’ because I was so uncomfortably pregnant at the time.

We decided to go with a well-known Korean banquet hall in northern NJ that overlooks the New York skyline. I will not give away the name in the body of this post; all I will say is that if you’re a Korean residing in the NY/NJ area, you have most likely attended a wedding or another large party there. (And if you really want to know, leave a comment and I’ll tell you.)

Since they have several event rooms available, we went for their smallest ballroom, and planned on a feast complete with western hors d’oeuvres, a Korean buffet, and an open wine/beer/soda bar.

The best part? They could set up the dol table (click here to see what they usually look like) for an additional fee. This meant that we wouldn’t have to go looking for another caterer or event planner who could set the table for us, or DIY the entire thing ourselves.

The problem arose when we tried to officially — and legally — book the room.

Admittedly, we were cutting it a little close as there were only 3 weeks left to go until the event. However, I was assured that this wouldn’t matter.

I called every single day for a week and a half, only to be told each time that the banquet manager was not available and that she would call me back.

Every time I called, I reminded them that the date was drawing nearer and that just a verbal agreement was not enough for me. And each and every time, I was assured that the small ballroom was still available and that we could sign the contract as late as the week before the event.

The ballroom where we were planning on holding Aerin’s dol

They were finally able to get a contract to me ONE WEEK before the planned party. I immediately noticed that they had written down the wrong time. And when I called to rectify the mistake, they informed me that holding the party at our originally planned time would cost $25 more per person as it would be a dinner party and not a lunch party.

Ok, fine. We could deal with a time change. Some of our guests wouldn’t be able to make it, but we would still be able to have the party, right?

But when I went to finally sign the contract and hand over the deposit…

…They told me that the room was no longer available.


They gave us the choice of having the party at a nearby restaurant that is owned and operated by the same people; however, I saw from the pictures they sent over that it was nothing special, and I could not imagine spending that much money for a party held there.

So I bitched at them over the phone, sent them a strongly-worded email, and told them to eff off.

Here we were, just one week before the party, and we had no venue, no food, and no decorations.

There was only one choice left. We would hold the party at our place. My mother would work her magic with local Korean caterers and order the food and the cake. And while we may not be able to decorate the entire condo, I could still try my hand at a dol table.

I have spent the past few days researching dol tables, speaking with vendors and begging them to help us out on such short notice, and making runs to stores for craft and party supplies.

I have also taken it upon myself to make Aerin’s dol towers, using the tutorial I found here.

The first dol tower I made for Aerin — she was born in the year of the rabbit.

(I am so grateful to my SIL who made the dol towers for Claire’s birthday — only now, with a sore back and neck and numerous burned fingers can I appreciate how much work went into making them!)

I will be spending the rest of the week continuing to plan and prepare for this last-minute party. I hope that it will turn out okay. 🙁 I really wish both my daughters’ dols could have been the large, festive celebrations they deserve, but life seems to have had other plans for us.

Please wish us luck!

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13 Responses to “Are You Effing Kidding Me?”

  1. Sunny says:

    I definitely know which place you’re referring to with the banquet hall. Sorry this happened to you. That is unbelievably horrible service. I’m sure Aerin’s dol will be just as special no matter where it is!

  2. carrie says:

    Whoa, that is pretty crappy of that venue to treat you like that. But, hopefully you’ll have an awesome celebration at your place. Best of luck with everything!

  3. What a mess-up! I can’t believe this is a popular venue. >:( I’m so sorry this happened. 🙁

    I’m sure the dol will be wonderful regardless. That dol tower with the bunny is ADORABLE. And think about how wonderful Claire’s dol went and that was at home & DIY too. It might be better this way in the long run when the girls grow up. Claire might get jealous finding out hers was a at home dol while Aerin’s was at a banquet hall.

    On a side note, I remember Claire’s dol had giraffes. Does Aerin have a lovey? I don’t seem to recall you mentioning her having one yet…

    • No she doesn’t…with Claire, she had “chosen” her lovey from the stuffed animals and soft toys we had placed in her crib. We’ve done the same with Aerin but she hasn’t grown attached to anything in particular. However, since she was born in the year of the rabbit, there will be a very loose rabbit theme!

  4. christina says:

    hi there! thanks for linking to us. sorry for what happened. what a piss off :/ i’m sure things will turn out just fine having it at your place. good luck with making the towers! can’t wait to see pictures.

  5. susie says:

    ugh so sorry! how stressful! if this is daewon/palisadium, they have the absolute worst food and i heard service was terrible…. next time, go to daedong in flushing. they are amazing, so organized, and they take care of everything including decorations, cake, dduk, and have all the dohljabi items for you to use. they even print out a huge picture of your baby and you get to keep it after. prices are reasonable too!

    • My mom says that the service and food at Daewon hasn’t been nearly as good since the new owners took over a few years ago. I wish we could’ve gone with a place in Queens, but that’s an hour+ drive for us and our inconvenient for our guests too. 🙁

  6. Amanda says:

    Ugh how stressful! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that!!

  7. Carol says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry this happened. My first instinct is always to offer help, but then I remember I’m a stranger from the Internet, haha. Anyway, I think this will be an interesting story to tell the girls when they’re older. I’m sure the party will be wonderful considering all the love that’s going into it. Claire and Aerin are so lucky to have parents that are burning their fingers making decorations and grandparents that are freaking out getting the perfect food. 😉

  8. Annie says:

    Oh Jenny! That really STINKS. I can’t believe they did that to you. It makes me so upset they even reassured you that there wouldn’t be a problem. UGH.

    I love the rabbit dol im. It’s so adorable! If I were there, I would help make those for you. I still have burn scars on my hands from making them for Claire. LOL It was WORTH it, love her (and you, aerin!) so much. I know that it’s not what you had planned but it’s going to absolutely wonderful at home! 🙂

  9. MarcieT says:

    So, when relaying this story in the future you can focus on your ability to pitch in and problem solve, as well as make smart financial decisions. You can also mention the pure love, tears, sweat and sleeplessness that was poured into the event in order to make it suitably spectacular. Your daughters will love that they both had at-home parties and that so many family members, friends, and members of the community pitched in to help fix what could have been a bad situation.

    I am certain the dol will be wonderful, and the storytelling aspect of it in the future will be fantastic. Good luck! 🙂

  10. judy says:

    I am usually a lurker here but I wanted to tell you that my best friend in the whole world and her husband are both Korean and all 4 of their daughters dols were held either in their condo or later their home and they were beautiful. I know you are really disappointed but all that matters in the end is that she is surrounded by people who love her. It will be just as beautiful as Claires….I also wanted to say I would come help but again strange person on the internet who lives in Philadelphia so won’t work.

    Don’t worry. Breath. It will be perfect.

  11. M chang says:

    I’m looking for a place now! Where did you have this bad experience? I’ve talked to PoongLim in FT Lee and Dae Dong Manor in Flushing (but it’s a little bit of a hike for us, too).


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