We now continue the ongoing saga of planning my daughter’s wedding, and it seems as though we’re going to have some unexpected guests. A couple of otters, for instance.
From the day our daughter got engaged, it took us less than two weeks to book a venue. This entailed finding a venue that was not the type of place one would normally think of when planning a wedding. This is because we are not a normal family.
We are artistic.
And so the wedding will be at the aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut.
We had not been to the Norwalk Aquarium since our daughter Casey was about five years old, and then we were there to pet the stingrays, not determine where cocktails would be served. But this was, indeed, exactly the kind of cool, unusual venue we were looking for.
And it didn’t smell too much like fish.
The catering person, who I’ll call Lorraine because that was her name, took us on a tour, describing how they set it up for an affair. “Oh, yes,” she said, “the otters love to party.” Meanwhile, I was having visions of one or more of our guests ending up in the shark tank after a few glasses of scotch. “It’s never happened,” Lorraine told us. But she didn’t say it couldn’t.
Lorraine has not met my poker buddies, who, when they hear where the wedding will be, might think about bringing their tackle boxes. And that’s before they consume large quantities of single malt.
Our daughter’s eyes were all aglow as Lorraine told us about the bar with fish swimming beneath it, and how the seals are actually in the room during dinner (“They take a nap when the aquarium closes and wake up about ten and start splashing.”), and how partiers will be able to get up close and personal with giant sea turtles while munching on Andouille Sausage en Croute. The look on her face was the same one she had when we first visited the Rhode Island School of Design, where she ultimately went to college. Hopefully, this time the look wouldn’t cost us nearly as much.
To seal the deal (if you’ll pardon the expression), someone had just canceled for the exact October date Casey wanted.* It was kismet! It was also a wee bit terrifying, since the people who had canceled did so because they didn’t believe they could possibly pull the whole thing together by then.
Then we sat in Lorraine’s office going over what was included and what wasn’t. She gave us the base per-person price and then she began telling us about things we could add. And it will probably come as no surprise that you can add a lot of things.
They really get you with this. They present you with the list of options knowing that, in your feeble, nuptial-nibbled mind, every item is preceded by “as long as I’m spending that much…” As in “as long as I’m spending that much, I might as well get the extra stationary carving table during cocktail hour,” or “as long as I’m spending that much, I might as well get the Viennese table.” A word of advice: when you find yourself thinking “as long as I’m spending that much, I might as well hire the Dave Matthews Band as the entertainment,” it’s time to stop listening to the voices in your head.
“Do you think you’ll want a sushi table during the cocktail hour?” Lorraine asked.
This struck me as unnecessarily cruel given the venue, and I said so. “Oh, they don’t mind,” Lorraine reassured us, referring to the permanent residents. “Although once they set up the sushi in front of the shark tank, and the sharks were kind of eyeing it.”
I suspect the sharks weren’t interested in a California roll slice as much as they were in the California roll slicer, but I didn’t point that out. Still, I think that, if there’s any fish dish on the menu, the temptation will be too great for people to point at an exhibit and say “I want that one.”
In that vein, we recognize, of course, that in addition to inviting guests to this wedding, we’ll be inviting all sorts of horrible attempts at humor, such as comments about mermaid wedding gowns, or Casey being the starfish of the evening, or my wife’s own contribution: invitations with the headline “She hooked him!”
Casey immediately tossed that one back.
See you soon.
*I very briefly considered that this would occur during the baseball playoffs, but then I remembered: I’m a Mets fan!