There comes a point while looking at reception halls when you wonder how and at what moment did someone hear or think they heard the call to join the wedding industry. For most I’m sure it really is something they enjoy doing. I imagine they often find beauty and joy personified in the giddy, wide-eyed, batting-eyelashes brides. I have met such people along our wedding-planning journey and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t make me feel special, beautiful and mildly idolized. I mean if a stranger is just beaming at you, their face aglow with iconoclastic admiration, something good just has to be going on right? But then there are those people who come right out of some cliché jail scene; the ones where the large, balding guard sits behind a wobbly, coffee-stained desk, his eyes closed and crossed arms resting on his stomach. Sometimes there’s a cigar butt hanging from his mouth and others there’s only a string of drool. We had just such a close encounter recently, when a man we’ll call Melvin introduced us to the anti-joys of reception hall shopping. To be fair, he wasn’t employed solely to work in the wedding industry but just occasionally asked to step in when no one else is around. He was a man of few words, who told us which door to go through and watched as we struggled to enter an obviously locked room. The oddity is that I expected a smile from him, something to show a personal, slightly sadistic enjoyment at another’s silly attempt at the impossible; he kept his mouth closed and revealed nothing to us but a blank stare. Later, a woman who was too busy to help, asked Melvin to open the door for us – which oddly wasn’t the door he initially told us to go to. He walked over, various chains, coins and keys clinking in his pockets, and unlocked the door. Like St. Nick in that poem – the one whose length is no longer suitable for today’s ADHD world – he said not a word and wiping a finger under his nose, returned to his desk.
Again to be fair, he wasn’t hired to be a people person. He seemed to be something of a night watchman filling in for daytime security. We were able to walk around ourselves just fine – the space really was beautiful – and the wedding coordinator who oddly doesn’t work Saturday mornings or afternoons had already emailed us all of the necessary business information. Melvin wasn’t hired to help us but he did, in his own way, and although I liked the place, I’m now hesitant to drop several grand on it. I have to wonder if I’m being unfair. Do I take this moment into consideration? Maybe I should give the wedding coordinator a chance to strut her stuff? I feel as if I need to define quality vs. boo-boos, or what my boss likes to call, “isolated incidents.” What do you think – did Melvin foreshadow a crash and burn wedding or was it inconsequential?