My Chinese-American boyfriend and I had been engaged 12 hours. His mother had already booked a church in Hawaii – never mind that I wanted to get married in New Hampshire. Sunny, however, refused to hear any plans that ran counter to hers.
Time for drastic measures.
I was supposed to get a relaxing massage at our ritzy hotel’s spa. I went to the business center instead. Armed with my phone, with Andy’s phone, and the hotel’s computers, Operation End Run commenced.
First, calls to Nowhere, New Hampshire, where Ex-Stepmom #1 lived. Ex-Stepmom #1 is not the Evil Stepmother of Disney movies. Ex-stepmom #1 is a teacher, and she loves all kids – even her smartass-stepkids — almost as much as her own two daughters. She’s always in your corner, cheering you on, even when the cause is futile (witness, for example, how long she tried to make marriage to my father work).
Ex-Stepmom #1 was, predictably, super excited to hear about the engagement. She was over the moon that it would be in her town. In minutes, I had a list of the best florist, photographer, wedding cake baker, hair salon, piano accompanist, DJ, and tuxedo rental place. I deployed my Boyfriend-Stealing Baby-Sister (now in high school!) to check out two potential venues on the lake.
I called in a favor from a friend who does websites. She got to work.
Andy called his siblings and cousins, waved off their congratulations, and made sure he had a list of emails.
I spent hours on the phone with area code 603. Having a wedding in a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone means that you immediately know which wedding vendors are reliable. The problem is connecting with them due to spotty cell service and lousy internet connections. Blame those exquisite White Mountains.
It took three phone calls to nail down someone for wedding pictures. Then I spent ten minutes assuring the prima donna photographer that he would have priority at the wedding, since we wouldn’t have a videographer. This at least meant I didn’t have to worry about booking a videographer. Yay.
I left messages, made deposits, fielded return calls, and set up appointments for final floral and catering meetings at Christmas. I made airline reservations for New Hampshire at Christmas for Andy and me.
Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister reported in, recommending the one big resort on the lake. I went with the smaller Inn, because it had an awesome gazebo overlooking the lake. The Inn also had an old-fashioned, two-level steamer that we could rent for a party in lieu of the rehearsal dinner the night before. Nowhere, NH, isn’t exactly a party town. If we were going to drag our big-city family and friends into the Hinterlands, we’d have to plan our own entertainment. Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister was disappointed we didn’t take her resort recommendation, though. I asked her to be a bridesmaid and sing in the wedding. She cheered, and cheered right up. (When you’re in high school, being a bridesmaid is an adventure. It’s only around wedding #5 that it becomes a drag. An expensive drag.)
By noon, a “Save the Date” email had gone to all the familial wedding invitees, including Andy’s parents. It contained a link to our wedding website. The wedding website had pictures of the Inn in Nowhere, New Hampshire.
Andy was half-impressed, half-terrified by his single-minded, objective-oriented fiancée. “That was all kinds of crazy.”
I shrugged. “That was easy. You should see the crap I have to deal with when I’m handling film markets in Cannes! One French concierge got all huffy in mid-phone conversation and insisted he was tired of speaking in English. I didn’t speak French, and so I had to organize hotel rooms and dinners in Spanish, or lose the primo hotel rooms my bosses wanted.”
Andy laughed, but then his face grew wistful.
“What?” I asked. “Don’t tell me now that you really wanted to get married in Hawaii.”
“No, no. This is fine. And it’ll be way less expensive than Hawaii. I just realized, well, Popo won’t be able to fly that far.”
I put my head down on the desk in the ritzy business center. I had forgotten about Andy’s old, frail, and much beloved grandmother, who lived on Oahu. “I’m sorry, honey,” I mumbled into the polished oak. “But if we get married in Hawaii, Ex-Stepmom #1, Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister, Pretty Space Cadet Sister, my Ex-step-Grandmother, and Pretty Space-Cadet Sister’s two-year-old son won’t be able to afford plane tickets.” I sat up. “We could pay for their airfare, I guess, at approximately $1,000 per ticket from the East Coast—”
Andy, way ahead on math and already flinching, shook his head. “No, no, it’s fine. We’ll send Popo pictures. Let’s go get some lunch by the pool.”
I sent him ahead and made one last phone call to Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister. She had a boyfriend of her own now. He had a video camera.
I hired him to film the ceremony. We would send a copy to Popo. She could watch our wedding as many times as she wanted.
The prima donna photographer would just have to lump it.