Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The best-laid plans...

My husband is the type of person who constantly runs into people he knows. This happens in restaurants. On the street. In line at the video store. While buying groceries.

We took Alex hiking yesterday. We were in the woods, literally in the middle of nowhere, and hadn’t seen a soul in thirty minutes. Up ahead, we finally see a woman in a pink shirt. I say hello as we pass her on the trail. Behind me, I hear M exclaim, “Oh my God! Hi, Jen!”

Yes. M even sees people he knows in the wilderness. I was pretty much speechless.


M’s mom married Robert on Saturday. It was to be a gathering of 40 people; a nice, intimate ceremony. Trying to keep the costs low, she asked if I could take as many pictures with my camera as possible.

“Sure!” I said.

So we arrive an hour early on the day of the wedding. I was eager to jump into my role of photographer and decided to snap a picture of M shaking Robert’s hand.

“Okay!” I directed. “That’s great. Robert, get a bit closer to M. Now smile like you’re about to whisk his mother off to Mexico. Oh, right—you ARE! Okay… say cheese!”

Only then do I notice the message my camera has been flashing in bright red letters: NO CARD.

“Fuck!” I mutter. “Oh! I mean-- DARN IT ALL!”

The memory card was at home, in our computer. Where I left it.

M raced off to the nearest Ritz Camera store, about 15 blocks away.

“Where are the programs? And the guest book?” Robert looked confused. “Shouldn’t they have put them out by now?”

I went to the front desk to find out. It took 15 minutes and three hotel employees to arrive at the conclusion that they had no idea what I was talking about.

“For a wedding?” one clerk asked.

“Yes,” I said calmly. “For the wedding that’s happening right over there in 30 minutes.”

They all gazed at the room in wonderment.

“On Wednesday the bride and groom dropped off three boxes full of things for the ceremony and reception,” I said patiently, for the fourth time. “They were put in Carolyn’s office.”

“Well,” said another clerk. “Carolyn doesn’t work today, but I’ve left four voice mails for her. Hopefully she’ll call back.”

I looked at her.

“Do you suppose you could just LOOK IN CAROLYN’S OFFICE?”

“Sure, I can do that!”

(Liz bangs head on marble counter)

The boxes were not in Carolyn’s office. They finally tracked down the banquet manager, who seemed equally surprised that there was a wedding taking place in (now) 20 minutes.

“Oh!” said the banquet manager. “I think I remember seeing some boxes in a store room in the back. I’ll go look.”

“NO!” I said, lunging toward him. “Don’t leave. TAKE ME THERE.”

And there they were, in the store room! I grabbed the programs, guest book, and unity candle, and ran to the room where the ceremony was taking place. I returned to the banquet room to find the manager staring confusedly into the boxes.

“Where does she want all this stuff?” he asked.

I plucked a paper from one of the boxes and handed it to him. On it was a clearly written list detailing what was to be done with each item. He still looked confused. I spent the next ten minutes showing him where to put everything. Another banquet worker came into the room, surveyed the activitiy, and said, "Wow! How do you know where all this stuff goes?"

(Liz bangs head on the cake table)

The wedding was great. Robert, who has never been married before, was adorably nervous. After they exchanged vows, he recited As Long As Your Eyes Are Blue for M's mom. After a kiss, they clasped hands and turned to face their guests.

Robert's mother, who just turned 91 and surely thought she'd never live to see her son marry, was beside herself. As the minister announced the happy union, she whooped, "HALLELUJAH!"

And mom and Robert floated down the aisle to the music of 40 people laughing with delight.


Blogger Bearette24 said...

i remember being grateful at my wedding because the reception people seemed like seasoned experts. i guess it's not always that way ;)

2:47 PM  
Blogger wharman said...

The journey to the goal is where all the good stories are. Sweet story.

2:49 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

Sounds like a crazy, but fun wedding! Kind of reminds me of when my uncle got married for the first time at 50 to a woman 10 years younger, also marrying for the first time. They even had a baby a couple years later, my youngest cousin! :)

5:44 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

The hiking story reminds me of yesterday when I ran into a girl from Middle School/High School at Urban Outfitters in Gallery Place. I haven't seen this girl in a little over 5 years and yet there she was, holding up the line in Urban.

And that wedding story is so very sweet.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

The sound of laughter at a wedding....nothing could be sweeter.

Maybe you should quit the library gig and be a wedding planner. ;)

11:59 PM  
Blogger meggie said...

Loved that wedding story!

Your husband sounds like mine- not so much these days, but everywhere we went, he would meet people he knew! We even met someone in Singapore in a trip, & another in Thailand.

1:22 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

What's with the staff?! Glad it all worked out though.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I don't know what was going on with the staff... they did have the rooms for the ceremony and reception set up with the chairs, etc, but none of the personal things had been put out like they were supposed to be.

M and I joked on the way home that maybe we should go into wedding planning. With my eye for detail and his superb organization skills, I can't imagine we would disappoint even the pickiest bride.

Of course, I would let M handle all the ornery vendors. ;)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Suzy- I'm so sure that Robert and mom won't have any babies, I hereby promise to eat a hamburger if they do. ;)

10:49 AM  
Blogger Frema said...

Great story. M's mom and stepdad should totally complain to the hotel about the lack of service received. Offering some financial compensation for the mix-up would be the least the manager could do.

12:58 PM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

there is a LOT of money to be had in wedding planning. and now you know why. you are so patient, I'd have been screaming and frothing at the mouth.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

babelbabe- I was screaming and frothing on the inside.

4:20 PM  
Blogger kj said...

thank god you were there liz. this crew didn't have a clue. you earn extra points for this, and you may be able to cash them in for new shoes.


5:16 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Oh my, thank goodness you were there!

11:56 PM  
Blogger Suse said...

I am enjoying the mental image of the 91 year old mother pumping the air and yelling HALLELUJAH!

Great story.

(PS. Doorbitch is crryh, which is what she did after she yelled hallelujah, I imagine).

8:05 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

kj-- new shoes? Really?


11:21 AM  
Anonymous banquet manager thatsme said...

It's bad banquet managers like that that make it harder for both the customers as well as the staff.

4:04 PM  

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