We now continue the ongoing saga of planning the October wedding of my daughter Casey and her fiancé Alex at the Norwalk Aquarium.
As a very brief preamble to today’s topic, I should mention that in the 30+ years I’ve been married to my lovely and exceedingly patient wife Barbara, I’ve probably gone out for the mail about 80% of the time. It’s not that Barb is lazy or anything; it’s just that I have more interest in the mail. I might, after all, get a check. The best Barb can generally hope for is one of her beading catalogs.
Besides, I’m much better at sorting.
Recently, however, the getting-the-mail chore seems to have changed hands. I’m not sure, but I suspect it may have something to do with the wedding invitations going out.
Each day, excitement builds throughout the afternoon as we wait for the mailman’s visit, which usually occurs between five and six, depending on how slowly he manages to drive his truck. There are people on remote islands who get their mail earlier than we do.
How many little blue RSVP envelopes will be in today’s delivery, we wonder. I also wonder if we’ll finally get last week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly before next week’s issue arrives, but that’s a complaint for another post.
We received the first RSVP literally the day after we mailed the invitations. We didn’t know how that was even possible until we opened it and saw it was from Alex’s parents, Fred and Laurie, to whom we had handed an invitation the day before.
They checked the yes box. Two people were coming!
In the days following, the daily influx slowly accelerated: two, then three, then six. Barb would open each one and initiate a massive, high-tech database operation in which she would call Casey and Casey would enter the respondents’ names in some sort of Google doc spreadsheet thingy which Barb could then access at her leisure. Both of them being able to view the spreadsheet in real time from different locations will allow them to more efficiently argue about who sits at which table.
It’s somewhat like the failsafe mechanism on nuclear subs when two different people have to turn their keys simultaneously to launch a missile.
As the early returns came in, I was gratified to see that all the RSVP cards were correctly filled out, with a name and a box checked. I was, perhaps, inordinately proud of this.
You see, we had heard from others who had done this whole wedding thing that RSVPs sometimes come back without a name or without a checked box, so I had coopted one of my direct marketing techniques for the invitations. When I do a mailing to sell something complicated, like insurance, I always put copy on the reply envelope reminding people of what they need to do: sign the application, enclose payment, fill in beneficiary information and so forth. I suggested we do something similar on our reply envelopes. So far, it had worked like a charm, although we still hadn’t sold any policies.
Many people not only told us whether or not they were coming, they added little editorial remarks. “Beautiful invitations.” “Can’t wait.” “Who are you again?”
During our weekly phone call, my mother commented as well. “The invitations are wonderful,” she said. “I’m coming, of course.”
“Okay. Send back the card,” I replied.
“I’m telling you. I’m coming. I’m very excited.”
“Please send the card. We need to keep track.”
“Okay, when I get around to it.”
I then used something else from my direct marketing bag of tricks. “I would hurry,” I told mom. “This is first-come, first-serve and we’re only accepting the first 175 responses.”
She chuckled nervously. She thought I was kidding, but she could never be sure with me.
Meanwhile, the little blue envelopes kept coming: four, three, six and then, on a terrifying Friday…NONE!
I rushed to Google docs and counted the yeses. There were only 67 people coming to the wedding…and my mother wasn’t even officially one of them! The bad news was, that was nowhere near the minimum for the caterer. The good news was, we’d be able to afford another chef’s table during cocktail hour, although we wouldn’t need one, because there’d be more than enough food for 67 people, even if we tossed some dumplings to the seals.
I’m sure we’ll get more RSVPs, right?
See you soon.
P.S. BONUS WEDDING PLANNING TIP! If you’re going to have your wedding in an aquarium, do not click on links such as this one to read about a guy who got drunk and dove into the shark tank at the New England Aquarium.