Melvin, the Security Guard: The Joys and Perils of Reception Hall Shopping

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?

~ Bride

Deadlines: Crush or Be Crushed

Deadlines. Booo!

Talk to any wedded couple, and they’ll tell you that it’s important to make progress on wedding planning decisions. Time is of the essence, of course, and the last thing anyone wants is a bride scrambling to tie up loose ends on her big day.

Unfortunately, after what I would consider a pretty great start in hunting down the perfect reception location, we’ve lost some steam. I can’t tell you the cause, only because I don’t know it. So far we’ve found two reception halls we really like, but since then, it seems we’ve been a bit lax. It’s surprising, too. In May, picking a reception hall by the end of July seemed like an easy task.

Today is August 7. Apparently, not so easy.

Of course, I’m speaking in generalities, as a guy is wont to do. Specifically, I don’t have the slightest game plan figured out for what it is we need to do, and when we need to do it by. I’m sure there are a few glossy wedding magazines that share such juicy tidbits, but I’ve been of the disposition that once the big domino (the reception hall) falls, we’ll be able to knock over the others (invitations, flowers, music) in quick succession. Call it wishful thinking, but I honestly believe we’ll catch a second wind once the stress of locking in a great reception locale has passed.

And believe me – I’m game for hitting the deadlines. Conventional “best-bro” advice says to take a back seat in planning and let the little lady handle it just the way she wants. I won’t be hijacking the search for a dress or anything, but I’m definitely happy – and excited – to help (in other areas, of course) with planning and keeping on track.

Wow, did I just say that?

~ Groom

I consider myself a well-seasoned meet-that-deadline veteran. I’ve taken on the brunt of them with minimal groans and eyelid spasms. But now I have one that I’ve set, one that is not for a job, a class, a long-dreamed-of goal, or freelance work, and I tell you, it’s a whole different ballgame. First of all, this deadline feels soft and pliable. I can push it off to the side and it still looks as pretty and simple as the flowers I have to order to meet it. I’ve started wondering if I should be reading more into my lackluster drive to pummel this deadline into the ground. It’s not that I don’t want to plan a wedding, I do. It’s not that I don’t want to marry the man I live with – I want that more than anything. It’s just, at the end of the day, when I’ve met work deadlines, studied for the GRE and stuck to my daily commitment to write fiction, I find that I’m tired and that couch just looks so wonderful! Planning a wedding is something I can only seem to be excited about on the weekend, usually Sunday morning, when I can be in frame of mind to flip have-to’s to want-to’s. I recently discovered a term called the anti-bride; they want to get married but don’t want to have a wedding. I thought I might be falling into that but after I thought about it, I realized I really do want to have a wedding and a marriage. I just want to sleep and write too. What do you think? Is it possible to have a life and plan a wedding? If so, how? If you know, tell me!!! I could use the help.

~ Bride