Thursday, 1 October 2015
The Wedding Reception
I know that you dear readers often smile, or laugh at, my misadventures. But last week's was one of my worst, I tell you.
Last Saturday we were invited at the wedding of some friends of ours. We had not seen them for some years, and they live a distance away - but hey ... we received the invitation by post and we accepted. After the marriage ceremony in Church we jumped in the car and drove to the appointed hotel where the reception was to take place.
I tell you ... this was the biggest and largest hotel in the whole world. If you could transplant it from its position and put it somewhere else it would cover the whole of Texas. That's how big it was. When we entered the main entrance hall it was so huge you could see for miles around. The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling were as big as planets.
Anyway, as we entered the hotel, I decided to go to the rest room. I asked the family to go on ahead to the reception and I would join them later.
FIRST MISTAKE - When I got out of the rest room I took the wrong turning and went to the wrong reception. Did I tell you the hotel was huge? Well, there were two wedding receptions taking place at the same time; and I didn't know, did I? So I went to the wrong one.
As I entered this big hall where the reception was, I looked left and right for my family. Obviously, I could not find them, because they were not there. They were at the proper wedding reception we had been invited to; somewhere else in this big hotel.
I walked around the wedding guests trying to find my family and I bumped into two colleagues from work. A husband and wife. What were they doing there? Obviously, by coincidence, they had been invited to the other wedding taking place in this hotel.
They said "Hi" and we started chatting about work; what else. I thought I was at the right wedding reception and thought nothing was wrong.
We discussed various projects we were involved in and whether we would save money if we bought large paper clips instead of small ones and save by buying fewer of them. This of course depended on how many bits of paper we have to clip together at a given point in time. But who cares? Whilst talking I was surreptitiously looking left and right for my family and pretending to be engaged in conversation.
Moments later a man in uniform asked us in a loud voice to take our seats at the tables. He explained that there were no set places. We could sit where we wanted to. Tables were set for groups of six and there were plenty of them to sit at.
My work colleagues, thinking I was alone at the wedding, invited me to sit at their table. They said I could meet their new friends who were into nude skiing in the Alps. Quite invigorating, they said.
Thinking that my family was also sitting with other friends, I decided to sit with my work colleagues. The discussion, as expected, was about naked skiing and how liberated they felt coming down the mountains and airing their differences. I sat there politely wondering about the risk of frostbite to one's extremities with all that snow and icy winds blowing around the Alps. Perhaps I should have asked them whether they ski with all the other people, or whether there is an area reserved for nudists who want to expose their bits to each other as well as the elements.
The meal was OK I suppose, except I did not particularly enjoy the ice cream for dessert. The very thought of all that naked skiing in the snow sent a chill down my spine.
It wasn't until the best man stood up to toast the newly weds that I realised I was at the wrong wedding. Did I mention it was a big hotel?
Our table was right at the end of the hall; so I could not see the top table very well from where we were sitting. So when the best man stood up and asked for silence, then he toasted the newly weds, I realised that the names he mentioned were not our friends' at all. I suddenly got a brain freeze. Must have been the ice cream, I suppose. For a moment I could not work out what was going on.
SECOND MISTAKE - I made an excuse to leave the table.
My first thought was that we'd come to the wrong hotel. No one had told me there were two weddings here in the same hotel, did they?
I went to the Reception Desk and asked if my family had left a message for me. They hadn't.
I phone home. No reply.
I phoned all the cell-phones in our family. All switched off. What's the use of switched off phones? I ask you.
For some stupid reason, I went back to the reception hall I'd just left and looked around. What's the point? I was at the wrong wedding anyway, so my family wouldn't be there would they? Unless they had made the same mistake as me; which they hadn't. At this point, conscience I suppose, I felt guilty for having eaten a meal at a wedding which I had not been invited to. Do I have to confess this, I thought. Well, I hadn't finished the ice cream, for reasons already mentioned. So that must diminish my sinful culpability somewhat. However, the conversation about naked skiing, and my imagination running wild at the time, must really tip the scales as far as sins are concerned.
I went back to the Reception Desk again and asked if there was a message for me. The kind assistant lady looked at me as if I was an imbecile and assured me that no one had left a message for me.
I asked her if this town had another hotel with a similar name. She smiled politely and said "No."
I mumbled incoherently that I'd attended a wedding meal just now and the married couple, for some inexplicable reason, had different names to what I expected them to have.
The Receptionist was a quick thinker and realised what had happened. She explained that there were two wedding receptions in the hotel at the same time; and politely directed me to where I should have been all along.
I found my family. The wedding meal at the reception I should have been at was already over and all the speeches had been done.
My family has still not forgiven me for all this. It wasn't my fault, I tell you.
Did I mention it was a huge hotel? And to make matters worse, the proper reception I should have been at did not have ice-cream for dessert. They had my favourite forest gateau which I missed by not being there.