I left out a few important points that you need to fully understand the situation. The WD started a new job on Monday. Trust me, we all told her that she easily could have asked to start a week later but she was afraid to ask. Fortunately, when her workplace found out she was getting married, they gave her Thursday and Friday off (paid b.t.w).
Also, they had just purchased a new house about a week ago. It was a foreclosure and the previous owners had just abandoned the place. It is in decent shape and they got a good deal but there are things that need to be fixed and some cleaning still required. Add to that the move in process where there are unpacked boxes everywhere and there is a bit of chaos in the house.
Last piece of set up. Her maid of honor was someone she met during her first trip overseas and they’ve remained friends ever since. So this person flew in to stay with them for about two weeks to visit and to help with the wedding. Another of the bridesmaids was the daughter of someone back here and both her and her mother had driven out for the wedding and also to do some sightseeing and they were staying at the house. Lastly, the best man is HTB’s brother and he is also staying at the house. Oh and there are two cats to complete the picture. And one of the things that needs to be repaired is the upstairs air conditioning. It was actually pleasant when we were there but had been in the 90’s the week before. So the house was a bit crowded.
If you have a wedding of any size, there are many working pieces that need to come together to make it all happen. This is where it is most helpful to have at least one person who is a serious planner who can work out all the details and make sure it all comes together. When you don’t, you get what we had which was everyone basically flying by the seat of their pants and hoping nothing gets forgotten. This is what we stepped into on day 2.
The original plan was for the WD to pick us up at the hotel where she would transport us to her house. Her friend was picking up breakfast (bagels of course) and then the eventually plan was that we would take the train into NYC and do a few things. Her friend is the expert at navigating the various forms of transportation both to the city and within the city so he was going to lead the way. But there were a few things that needed to be taken care of first (like picking up the marriage license) so the trip into the city was to start around noon.
We were given a couple of options. The mother/daughter pair were going into the city first because they had a list of things they wanted to see and they were going to catch up to us later. We were given the chance to go with them but that didn’t seem like a good option. I have no idea where anything in NYC is and didn’t really have a strong desire to see anything in particular so I’m not sure what we would have done to pass the time. The second option was to go to the venue where the reception was being held and help with the decoration. That’s what we decided to do. I know next to nothing about decoration but my wife has a good eye for that type of thing.
Oh, one other bit of back story to help. The HTB is a second generation immigrant and has a very large family. He speaks flawless English but it is a mixed bag with the rest of the family. My wife was also not born in the USA (its Jersey, how could I not toss in a random Springsteen song title). She’s been here long enough and had to use English as her primary language that it is good but not really at the level of a native speaker. So there is a bit of a language barrier which I thought you should know for later reference.
So we arrive at the venue and there are many more introductions. Lots and lots of aunts from his side and a few other assorted friends. The aunts are all working on the floral arrangements for the tables and there is a bit of chaos and confusion. There is one person sort of in charge who has some ideas but is having trouble putting all the pieces together. My wife is not professionally trained but she has an artistic side and she’s big into floral arrangements. Plus, she’s her own boss and can take charge when need be. Which is what ends up happening. Working through the language barrier, she basically takes the various flowers and puts something together and I see nods and discussion and it looks like she’s hit on a winner. I know she got introduced and all but I’m not entirely sure that all the aunts really understood the connection but they were all fine to be working together to get the flowers done.
Also, HTB and the WD are discussing the various things they need and there were a couple of things missing that were still back at the house. The WD brought over several bags but had left a few items back at the house. Again, this is where a list would have been good but I cut them both a lot of slack because it had been a stressful time. Anyway, there were other decorative items that were needed. I think HTB had picked up a few things but there were cases where he only bought one item where more were needed. And there were things that had been overlooked. For example, it was brought up at the reception that they wanted to have people blowing bubbles on the happy couple as they exited the church but there were no bubbles so that was on the list to be picked up. As the WD had to pick up a few things, I was assigned to go with HTB and one of his friends to pick up the remaining items at the house and to then go to a couple of big box stores to pick up the missing items. We did have a small verbal list that HTB kept repeating and we were there to be memory backups.
We managed to find the items needed at the house and then hit the first of the big box stores that specializes in various items for all types of parties. We only had a few things on the mental list (balloons and soap bubbles), as we passed the aisles and aisles of stuff, HTB kept finding things and wondering if he should get them. I felt for him but it was kind of funny. Some of them we’d agree and some we would talk him out of. If you’ve ever been to this kind of store, there are aisles and aisles of stuff and it can be hard to focus in on what you are looking for but I did find the little bottle of soap bubbles. They came with a certain number to a bag so there was the momentary “how many do I buy”. We ended up convinced HTB that having extra was better than not having enough so, based on a rough estimate of the number of guests, we made sure we were covered.
There were several random purchased but we were still looking for balloons. There was a specific purpose that HTB thought he needed balloons for so we were looking for red balloons. We ended up splitting up to cover the various aisles. It was clear that none of us were experts with this store and I think he was getting ready to ask someone when I finally found the balloon aisle. (No they weren’t marked – I know what you were thinking). Yes, there is probably a joke about guys and directions in there but the point was that we found them without help. Had the same conversation about how many to buy and ended up overbuying. (Side note was that the rest of the family vetoed HTB’s idea about the balloons so we ended up not needing them)
At the checkout, HTB realizes his wallet in still in his car. His friend jumps in and pays for everything so we are good.
Then, it is on to the second big box store for more decorative items. There was a shiny silver backdrop that HTB had planned for people to use for photos (not sure anyone used it by the way) but he only purchased one and we needed more to cover. Plus, he had put it up with tape and the venue owners saw it and said “no tape”. So we needed to find these connect strips. Plus, he had a string of lights at the main table but he also only purchased one and so we needed to find another one. The good thing about this store is that it has lots and lots of stuff so if you are looking for a specific thing, it can usually be found in just a few aisles so you don’t have to wander the entire store. Well, the three of us looked up and down the appropriate aisles multiple times and could not find any more shiny silver backdrop stuff. At the very last minute, as we were leaving, my eyes hit on it and there was much rejoicing. We ended up buying two (remember too much is better than not enough because nobody wanted to make another trip). And we also found the lights and a few other random things.
At checkout, HTB realizes that his wallet is still in the car. Hadn’t thought to bring it even after the experience at the first store. Friend again fronts him the money and then they use electronic banking to square up in the car on the way back.
So we return and I find that my wife has been very busy. All of the table arrangements are done and she’s also mocked up a small bouquet that they can use to attach to the church pews. It turns out that they didn’t have enough flowers the first time so someone had to go to another big box store while we were out and they also subscribed to the “more is better” so there were extras and that’s how they hit on having flowers to decorate the pews.
I help hang the second decorative silver back drop. It turns out that we only needed two but that’s OK. While we were gone, HTB’s mom and aunts decided they didn’t like the string of lights attached to the bridal party table, so they set them up on the stage behind it. So that’s where I put the second string.
We did a few more random things but the place was going to kick us out in about an hour so the WD decided we should probably leave and head into the city about an hour or so past when we originally wanted to go. Again, nothing ran on time the entire weekend and since we were really just there to observe and help, it didn’t matter.
I will leave the city visit to its own post as I’ve rambled on far too long. Have to get in another post about the actual wedding and reception first. I may try to do that later today since I have to go back to work tomorrow and I don’t know how much free time I’ll have.