After a brief hiatus, we now continue the saga of planning our daughter Casey’s wedding, which will be at the Norwalk Aquarium in October.
And it’s time for me to stand up and say, “My name is Mark, and I have a drinking problem.”
Specifically, my problem is the vast amount of drinking that is likely to occur at the wedding.
Back in December, when we first met with Lorraine from the caterer, she gave us the list of liquor they’d supply: Absolut, Dewars, Tanqueray, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo and so forth. We knew immediately that wouldn’t cut it, because there was no single malt scotch on the menu. Our friends like single malt scotch. That’s not all they drink by any means, but blended stuff won’t do. Unless they’re really, um, thirsty.
Now, I can remember the day when, if you wanted to bring a really good bottle of scotch to someone’s house, you’d splurge twelve bucks on Chivas Regal. But somewhere between my father’s generation and mine, blended scotch fell out of favor, and only the likes of Macallan–at $55 or so a bottle–would do.
When we told Lorraine that we needed a single malt, she said it would be cheaper if we supplied it ourselves. So we asked her how much we would need. “How much do you drink?” she replied.
Since I don’t drink scotch at all, I didn’t know the answer to that. But I did remember one time when we spent a weekend in Mexico with a group of our friends (all of whom would be coming to the wedding), and the resort ran out of tequila. In Mexico. And, frankly, I can’t even swear it was just the resort that ran out and not the entire country.
Fortunately, we had a way to find out approximately how much scotch we’d need for the wedding. Last year the daughter of someone in our group of friends got married, and they chose to pay for drinks by the glass, which meant the place kept an exacting record of consumption. On the subject of single malt scotch, the consumption was a case and a half. Which may, in fact, have been a record.
Of course, some of the scotch at that other wedding may have been consumed by the groom’s side, and they wouldn’t be coming to Casey’s wedding. On the other hand, we didn’t know if the groom’s side at Casey’s wedding contained any prodigious scotch drinkers. So, okay, we figured we’d get two cases to be safe. After all, we’d be able to keep what was left over, which could always be used at one of our poker games. Maybe even two of our poker games.
Now we fast forward to last weekend, when we went for a food tasting and to decide on a menu. My wife Barbara and I assembled with Lorraine, Casey and her fiancé Alex, and Alex’s parents Fred and Laurie in a room at the aquarium, and the chef began bringing out food. Meanwhile, we discussed other matters.
Lorraine, who has been doing what she does for many years and had, until that point, seemed quite unflappable, flapped. “I’m sorry? Did you say two cases?”
I’m sure her mind was flashing back to our first meeting in December, when I had asked if there was any possibility of someone getting very drunk and ending up in the seal tank. She was likely rethinking her nonchalant pooh-poohing of that inquiry.
“Yes,” I replied, and I related the basis of that estimate.
“Wow.” Here was a woman who had probably seen hundreds of weddings, and yet I had managed to impress her with our group’s liquor capacity.
Alex’s parents also seemed impressed, but not exactly in the same way as Lorraine.
Then my wife Barbara had a question. “If we don’t do a champagne toast,” she asked, “can we apply that cost toward another stationary food table during cocktail hour?”
“Absolutely,” said Lorraine, who was possibly calculating how many people might still be standing after the cocktail hour. She also may have been thinking it would be a good idea to cram as much food into our guests as possible. “But keep in mind that if we don’t do the champagne toast, we won’t have any champagne on hand, so you’ll need to supply some in case anyone wants a glass.”
“Sure,” we said. We didn’t think anyone we knew drank champagne much, so we figured we’d get a few bottles from the same store that took our scotch order.
Later, Barb texted the mother of the bride from the wedding that consumed a case and a half of scotch. “Sixty,” Barbara told me the next day.
“Bottles of champagne. They used 60 bottles of champagne.”
“But that included the champagne toast, right?”
“They didn’t have a champagne toast.”
Jeez. Evidently, I didn’t stay at that party long enough to see all the staggering.
After the tasting, Alex’s father Fred mentioned to me that he might be able to supply the wine, since they have family in California that is in the business. So Barb had also texted our friend about wine consumption. Let’s just say it made me wonder if Fred could provide enough wine for the wedding, even though there’s an actual vineyard in the family.
I should say here that I wouldn’t identify any of our friends as alcoholics. There have been no DWIs among them, no inappropriate voice mails, no trashed hotel rooms, no instances of public nudity. That I know of. There was one time when Barb’s sister threw up in the middle of Playa del Carmen in Mexico, but that was only after drinking some concoction with smoke coming out of it while sitting at a bar that had swings instead of stools, so I’m not going to count that episode.
Our friends simply like to have a good time. And I certainly hope they have a good time at Casey and Alex’s wedding.
Still, the seals better be alert.
See you soon.
P.S. You can still get my book, Kids Are Dumb; Parents Are Dumber, in time for Father’s Day if you act this very minute!