The Hotel Cock Block

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“Blocking a hotel rooms is a great way to help guests find a reasonably priced and convenient place to stay near your wedding activities! Simply follow these easy steps to look into blocking your rooms!”

Three weeks later, a delegation to my mom to take care of business, numerous in-person meetings, forgotten emails, and a few minor snafus in the meantime, our block went live for our guests.

AND, IT DID NOT WORK. Queue confused calls and texts from guests.

Grumble, grumble, hiss, hiss, obscene gesture, boo.

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I asked my mom to take on the whole hotel block contract shenanigans in January as I figured it would be an easy-peasy phone call and contract to arrange for a small grouping of rooms at the hotel located literally between the ceremony and reception site. We want between 12-15 rooms. That’s it. She emailed, called, and met with the sales people of this particular boutique hotel. They signed a contract, a contract which requires us to pick up 90% of the rooms in two months with no resell clause. The sales lady very clearly told the mom that only the standard room is offered as part of the block for $150 a night. Suites, though we can book them for $200 a night, are by contract only and if guests book a suite it does not apply to our block of 15 rooms. Sure, okay, so they will offer the standard rooms when guest call, right? Yep. Moving on…

Pastry’s mom calls the first night to book her room. They tell her the option is a suite for $200 and that the only other option “is a handicapped room that is much, much smaller” for $150. Say, wha? Pastry’s uncle calls – They give him the same run around, book him a suite, and tack on the resort fees to everything something that is clearly waived in our contract. My best friend calls and ends up with a suite. They have now booked four rooms, all suites, for $200 a night and fees, and none of them count toward the hotel block.

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Summary of my feelings.

Now, my mom is an epic lady who has managed many, many people for her entire career. She sent perhaps the saltiest email ever to the sales manager at the hotel. Please read the following in a deep, threatening voice of a lady not with whom to fuck.

“We have a major problem with the implementation of the contract we signed for the wedding. Our guests have started to call to book rooms and are being offered only a suite rate of $200. One guest was told the $150 rate was only for a handicap access room, another guest was told that only group sales could handle her request. I am very disappointed in this poor service and the confusion it is causing for our guests is unacceptable. I have an early appointment on Friday morning, but I will call you as soon as I am free.  My expectation is that when are guests call they will be offered the $150 contracted rate. The $200 rate for suites should not be offered at all as we contracted specifically for 3 suites and I have already booked them.  When we speak tomorrow I will look forward to your solutions and expect prompt corrective action.
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The hotel then groveled sufficiently and another friend had no issues when booking her room the next day. Mind you, this is also the same location of the $136 tacos. So, I am not convinced they deserve any business at this point let alone our glorious personages in residence eating tacos at our leisure. But, life and planning move on…
They were very lucky they had to deal with my mom rather than me.

 

 

 

The Rehearsal Dinner = Taco Eating Contest

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In a recent Taco Eating Championship, the grand prize winner managed to scarf down 103 tacos in eight minutes. The second place winner trailed at 59 tacos. (The tenth place winner ate only a total of seven tacos which makes me think I should enter a taco eating contest as I can definitely put that many away in a short amount of time. Plus, free tacos.)

Pastry and I are attempting to plan our wedding rehearsal dinner. Counting just the wedding party of awesome, family, and kids, we are around 22 adults and 5 kids for the event. There is a snazzy restaurant literally between the wedding site and the rehearsal site IN THE HOTEL IN WHICH WE ARE ALL STAYING. It serves fancy tacos. And, it almost always only has about one table full. Despite all that, the food is really great (which makes me really wonder why it’s so empty all the time). We figured, awesome! Fun taco place conveniently located! Bright colors! Sangria! No issue getting a table! This will be swell!

They want a minimum of $3,000. MOST EXPENSIVE TACOS EVER. It averages out to $136 a person for TACOS. 

I figure in order to get your money’s worth, each wedding party member would need to eat at least 54 tacos and have two glasses of sangria. “Why, yes, I will have the pulled chicken taco that likely cost you a total of 73 cents to make, and about 53 additional tacos for my doggie bag, please. Wait, no, make that 37 chicken tacos and 16 carnitas tacos, please.” 

In an article of New York City’s wildest and MOST EXPENSIVE tacos, the most costly option was $36 for a lobster and filet mignon taco at Dos Caminos. LOBSTER AND FILET MIGNON TACO. A. Yes, please. B. Even if we bought each rehearsal dinner attendee New York’s most expensive taco, it would still only be $792!

Look at its apparently reasonably priced glory…

Steak taco

For $3,000 we could order 55 of them and have them flown first class from New York to the desert. 

“Well, no, we’re not flying first class to our honeymoon, but our rehearsal dinner tacos flew in on American Airlines from New York just last night. They enjoyed a glass of champagne and their Bose headsets. Yes, I know, still so reasonably priced from that one Mexican restaurant! I mean, I was looking forward to eating 53 tacos the night before my wedding, but one must just prioritize sometimes! We’ll just have to see who is getting married next for the next opportunity to have a family taco eating contest. Watch out for my mom, she loves herself some carne asada.” 

$136 per person for tacos. Pffft. 

 

 

 

The Mid-Year Planning Lull…Plus Muumuus

I’m still kicking in the desert, planning our nuptial shindig ever so slowly with the Pastry. We entered the mid-planning timeline lull from about October to end of December in which we made some easy decisions, finally booked a florist,  did our tasting at the venue, and generally wandered about no doubt eating too much cheese. All in all, terribly boring things which were quite fun for us while still remaining uninteresting blog fodder. Then there was the joy of a the first dual family holiday season…which actually afforded no drama whatsoever. How dull to get along with both your old and new families. (Though Pastry and I did spend an epic evening drinking bourbon with my mom whilst watching Step Up All In on her 3D TV, making snarky remarks and critiquing dance choreography with perhaps too much intensity.)

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This Lull is also not doing much wedding planning.

So, nuptial updates…Just because I should endeavor to not forget where we are in all of this planning.

Final reasonable florist was reasonable, producing a super creative mock-up of textured flowers, a giant manzanita tree for a wishing tree, and multiple stone, concrete, and glass containers filled with a bizarre array of desert plants. We’re going to do a 10 foot tree in the reception space with a table set up to write wishes for us on colorful tags with long ribbons. The guests will hang the tags, effectively decorating the space for us with bright ribbons, and then we’ll eventually pull them all off the tree. I’m planning on framing them in a large art piece to go in our house. This all theoretically works…But, there is now a chance of a drunken Midwestern relative knocking over a massive tree in the middle of the YMCA showdown on the dance floor…Which honestly might be fine if just for the story and minus the rental costs.

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An even more intense wishing tree likely in Lam Tsuen.(Queue outdated Mrs. Doubtfire reference.) Watch out for the drive-by fruitings!

An Origin Story of Wishing Trees: Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
“In the past, whenever there was a festival, villagers would throw joss paper into these two trees and make wishes. The higher the branch the joss paper landed on, the more likely it was the wish would come true. People from all over Hong Kong still come here in their droves to make wishes during festivals; however, as it’s not just local villagers hoping to try their luck in the trees anymore, measures have been introduced to protect the wishing trees from becoming buried in paper. Nowadays, wishes are more tidily made by tying joss paper to nearby wooden racks or imitation trees.”

We went to do our tasting and figured out the menu. It was glorious. And, there will be tons of food. I find this exciting (because I get to eat it all) and boring all at once (because talking about a menu for an evening four months away is…boring). Weirdly, lots of people want a full rundown of the whole menu. Essentially, there will be bourbon, snacks, steak, chicken pot pie, tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and cups of tomato soup, a whole bunch of local produce in vast variety of salads, tiny dessert shots, and lots of pie. No favors though as our favors to our guests consists of 5 hours of open bar and a large selection of pie. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

I obsessed over what to wear for engagement photos. It’s included in our photography package. It seems like a good plan. I’m going to wear a ballgown and try not to fall in a cactus. Pastry wants to embrace his newfound love of sweaters (he had never owned one prior to last year and now wears them all the time). I just keeping thinking about what our future children will say about my questionable outfit choice. “Jeeeez, mom, showing so much leg in such a weird bat-winged dress. You look like an eggplant in a tropical muumuu.” To which I say, “Well, tough, little Adomicus. I may have looked like an elephant-eggplant hybrid, but you’re stuck with a terrible name so I have the last laugh.”

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Muumuu Inspiration = Muuspiration?

I bought a bunch of shoes and used everything wedding planning to procrastinate from writing actual critical analysis papers for ye olde doctorate. Read a chapter, pin dinosaur related items to wedding board. Read four sentences of social construction book, suddenly become enthused about our wedding website! Consider writing outlines, remember blog suddenly and update for first time in months! Look up muumuu patterns! Order another pair of gold wedges! Inquire about Pastry’s suit ordering timeline! Sketch ideas for flagging tape 20 foot curtain with magnetic attachments for outdoor reception area! EVERYTHING WITH ENTHUSIASM THAT IS NOT ACTUAL WORK! Sigh. Then return to work 10 minutes later.

At least there will be lots of pie and bourbon in four months.

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Flowers are slowly driving me mad.

Flowers are slowly driving me mad.

730f04fd81cb732aae13f2ea1a21f11fTranslation: I’ve reached my first wedding planning hiccup and it makes me want to fire bomb a peony-selling establishment just out of spite. Okay, maybe not that extreme…But, it’s just been a truly odd experience having wedding flowers, something I assumed would be easy, be the hardest and most frustrating part of planning this shindig.

So, I adore flowers. I love getting them, I love picking them, I truly light up when I get to put them in my hair. I stop to smell them on walks. I am now contemplating hitting every flower I see and just calling it quits, spray painting some Home Deport stir-sticks gold, and putting them in dollar store plastic containers on each reception table. There. Done. Le Home Depot chic wedding theme.

Stir Stick Art for Every Table

I thought the flower process would go something like this…

“Hey there, established and reputable vendor, we’d like bright and colorful with lots of texture for this total price point, bonus points for creativity and the ability to let us rent a giant tree for an odd community art project for the middle of the reception.”

“Yeah! Awesome! Here’s the quote with an item breakdown by unit. We buy wholesale and offer competitive prices! Also, here are some other creative ideas in your price point! We’ve worked at your venue before and this will totally work there!”

Reality:

Me: “Hi, yes, I did call earlier. No, I can’t come meet you in the middle of the work day as, uh, I work. Clear over there, huh? Sorry, I can’t drive an hour away to talk about succulents for 20 minutes…Your minimum fee is $5,000? Would you take a kidney donation perhaps as a down payment? No? Liver? Wait, I need that…Yes, I can send you a pinterest board for ideas. Oh, and we’re just going to discuss that after I drive way over there? Okay…”

60 miles of driving later…

Florist: “We’ll send you our proposal in the next week and should you not accept it within 48 hours, it will self-destruct, rendering your computer, left side of your face, and hopes and dreams useless. Also, we will not provide any details and instead quote you a totally random total cost with no justification whatsoever. Additionally, our proposal will consist of cropping pictures from your pin board that you sent us and just naming random flowers in the text. For no additional cost, we will also forget to update sections and writing a long detailed section about the use of pastel yellow ribbons. Because when you said ‘saturated, bright yellow’ we thought you were tasteless and decided light yellow is the way to go. Here’s a free bouquet toss bouquet. YOU WILL TAKE IT AND LIKE IT, YOU WEDDING HEATHEN. Enjoy this bouquet of PINK BEARS. That will be $4,000 and a kidney.”

Also, it seems like all florists are really technologically challenged and they all just REALLY want to talk on the phone. Maybe it’s a lonely profession amongst the flowers and they just want a bit of human contact…But, they really want to call me in the middle of the work day. This is time consuming and I don’t want to have to get obsessed, fall in love, break up with floral ideas anymore. Also, NO LIGHT YELLOW RIBBON.

Introducing The Long-Awaited Engagement Ring, Liberace

I just realized that I had never introduced Liberace, the custom designed engagement ring we had made. Liberace, or Lib for short, is awesome and I adore it. SO MANY PEOPLE asked me as to its whereabouts, I can started telling elaborate tales of its adventures during its design and production. I’ve actually had Lib for over 2 months now and it’s so normal to wear at this point, it’s just part of my day. Albeit, a sparkly part of my day that distracts me occasionally and elicits comments from strangers. I gave Pastry an engagement ring as well, and he has named his ring Edison, as it is made of tungsten and Edison invented the tungsten filament for light bulbs.

Ring on hand pictures are super weird and I am always stuck by how the top of my hand looks like a creased desert wasteland, a study for the set of Mad Max Fury Road. Plus, I don’t want internet strangers to judge my total lack of special bridal manicure. So, here is Liberace as photographed in dim light with my super awful phone on random desk objects such as my rubber-band ball (he used to have a blog about his adventures in Boston), my narwhal-i-corn from a good friend, a tiny purple dinosaur, a not-so-successful-at-dancing-when-it’s-its-only-job robot, and a wooden elephant a student brought back to me after a trip to Thailand. Lib is approximately 800 times sparklier in person (I apparently just really suck at ring photography), hence Liberace.

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dino Monster Nars robot

“Oh Yeah, the Wedding…”: A Nonchalant Wedding Existence

Well, the academic year began. And, I was henceforth completely overwhelmed.

Pastry and I are trucking along, commuting through the desert, going to NFL games, making insane amounts of plans for the one day off a week we tend to take, harassing each other to do our homework/design projects/mow the waving lawn, taking the dog-boys for bike rides, trying to coordinate visiting his grandma in Tampa, doing the endless piles of laundry that seem to come along with being an adult, etc. Exciting, no?

Meanwhile, my new love is spray painting random items in our house either red or a various metallic colors. My work version is that I laminate things  when I’m stressed. Beyond stockpiling cardboard for spray paint projects and making hardy, weatherproof signs, I’m taking three doctoral classes and teaching a course for undergraduates on top of my regular full time job, so any delusions of free time I might have this semester really were delusions. While shoving fries in my mouth while frantically driving between campuses for classes last week as I had forgotten to pack dinner, a tiny thought flitted by my mind, “Maybe I should be dieting for the wedding to better fulfill my OPTIMUM BRIDE POTENTIAL.” To which my brain said, “Meh. Eat those fries or otherwise you get really cranky in your class by the time 10:00pm rolls around.”

My ultimate downfall, especially when served Animal Style.

Besides, my friends and family know I have arms more in line with the Pillsbury dough boy than Michelle Obama, and it’s not like eventually wearing a white dress for one day six months down the line should be the only reason for a lifting schedule and sudden French-fry-less clean eating. I do have health and fitness goals, but they are just not wrapped up in feelings related in any way to wedding shenanigans, hence why the lone French-fry, bridal readiness thought was so odd.  My larger life issue is more prioritizing health goals for myself is quite hard right now, and when you are chronically mentally and physically tired from a busy life, French fries almost always seem like a good idea. (As they are delicious.)

Otherwise, wedding stuff is the least stressful part of my whole life. I just cannot muster any worry, obsession or preoccupation around anything wedding related. We’ve booked almost everything and figured out what we want. At some point, we need to spray paint (YES! Stress relief!) a bunch of dinosaurs and make a fun streamer arch. Given my normal job of constructing large LED birch trees for public art projects and Pastry’s epic handyman skills, we got this.

A wedding arch made of mini-kegs of Canadian beer. See? We’re not even that fringe!

We ordered some standard invitation samples, and promptly meh-ed at them. I designed a couple options and they were, well, honestly a bit too classy for our eclectic affair. Then we happened upon some glorious invites which will likely make a good portion of guests think we are more than slightly crazed. But, you know, I truly doubt we will look back on our wedding when we are yet older and wrinklier, and say, “I regret nothing but those insanely quirky and fun invitations featuring an awful pun and something we both love. That…that was the beginning of the end.” Then we will turn to each other and startle as we recognize each other again, and instead of perishing in each other’s arms as Nicholas Sparks would have us believe as a romantic end, we will likely make T-Rex noises (via Jurassic Park) at each other before going back to nap on the couch.

The call of true love.

Wedding Video Fails: Gravity, Cakes & Penguin Poop

Two years of middle school gymnastics has led to a bridesmaid concussion and a pending Aenta claim at the local Urgent Care.

A lifetime of paying for therapy after being constantly reminded, “Yeah, well, you THREW ME ON THE GROUND trying to catch Second Cousin Lydia’s bouquet.”

It is indeed a Bittersweet Symphony when your wedding is remembered for the intrusive videography AND your dress trying to abandon ship pre-ceremony.

Generally can be summed up as – Walking is hard (especially when real drunk or wearing a gown). And, belts are fairly important.

Also, if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a wedding cake, it might also be a good idea to invest in a sturdy table.

A compilation of falling, running, knocking over cake, breaking things, penguin poop, lost security deposits, and impending divorces. And, a random naked dude at 1:25. Also, the epic dancing at 2:28 is also amazing.