Several people have asked me “what ever happened with that bride?” I can’t exactly call her “bridezilla” since she wasn’t overtly “obsessive or intolerably demanding”. But her lack of communication, her indecision, and her (dare I say it? why not?) stupidity threatened to push me over the precipice into a bottomless pit, where there would most definitely be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Well, the wedding was June 25, and with any luck, today will be my final encounter with her.
I am “The Gatekeeper” to rental contracts for the church, which means I field calls from the sublime to the ridiculous, and the following is a true story:
I received a voicemail message on January 29, saying Someone had booked Bride’s wedding at our church – could I forward the Rental Contract. I immediately had words with Someone! It turned out Bride & Groom stopped in during an evening rehearsal and looked around. [Mistake #1: Letting them in the door}. Someone told them the date looked free and to call me in the morning to go through the details.[ Mistake #2: Never suggest the date is free]
I forgave Someone.
So I emailed Bride the approval process, attached the requisite documents, and listed 14 basic questions so we could get acquainted. The questions included silly things like name, time of wedding, and needs (minister, organist, audio-visual technician).
On Feb 3, Someone received a phone call – Groom would drop the deposit and contract on Sunday morning. I quickly forwarded my original email, politely asking again for information. She emailed back that she’d fax the agreement in the morning. It never arrived. Groom, however, arrived after Sunday service with the deposit and an incomplete page 1 (of 2) of the contract.
I got the answers to some of my questions on Feb. 15. I confirmed on Feb 24, that the wedding rental request had been approved, and carefully reviewed the policies and fees again.
I waited a month before I emailed to review and ask for a signed contract. I also asked for answers to the rest of the questions… She emailed 4 days later to call her. Eventually we connected and discussed the fees. She didn’t understand why I couldn’t use the deposit toward the fees? (Umm…in case your uncle shows up drunk, barfs on the carpet and I have to get it cleaned early Sunday morning? I’m not paying for that!) Why do we need a custodian (Stupid people, question #2) when we can clean ourselves? Still feeling magnanimous, I offered to ask the Hostess to her waive fees (since she was also the organist). I waved my magic wand and made it happen. On April 7 she asked, “when can we meet to discuss the contract?” Huh? I explained we didn’t need to meet in person, and I provided options for getting the signed contract to me.
A month later, she asked me again to call her. We had the same discussion as above, over the next 2 weeks, resent the revised contract two more times. I finally got a signed copy by email on May 20, with the requisite insurance certificate BUT she also wanted to know why organist fee was not reduced (because the organist only waived the hostess fee?). Her fiance was told this would cost no more than $450 (not by anyone who works here) and the deposit wouldn’t be cashed (that’s not how it works and I was pretty clear about that …). I threw her budget off (yeah, that was my personal goal).
By now, I was hearing gnashing of teeth – my own! I let her have it! Having a legal background made it easy. I laid it all out in detail, with the dates and content of all our correspondence and conversations. I pointed out that we are one of the most affordable churches in the area. That our costs are fixed by our board and I can’t make any more deductions. That I can’t use their deposit as payment. And finally, if they’d prefer to terminate this signed contract in writing, I’d be happy to return the deposit to them. I gave the pastor a copy of my email to review before I sent it. He thought I was being very nice!
The next day, she asked when can we meet – after 4:30 worked for them! (Why do they need to meet in person?) On May 26, an email said the groom was coming the next day at 10:30. I made sure there was someone in the office with me, but he didn’t call or show up.
He showed up on June 1, the day my Grandmother died. He wanted to discuss the fees. We went through the why you need a custodian conversation again. He even went so far as to suggest he could tell guests they can’t use the loo.
“People should have chips implanted in their skulls that explode when they say something stupid.” – Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
Then he asked why Bride hadn’t heard from the organist? (At this point, I knew the organist had left Bride several voicemail messages, with no response. Groom left in a hurry – he had shorted us by $25.
Later that day, the organist told me she talked to Bride, and Bride would call her back. The next day, Bride informed me she didn’t need a pianist (pianist?) I asked for clarification – did she mean organist? It took a week and 3 emails to sort that out.
I met Bride for the first time on June 23 when she showed up unexpectedly to check on some measurements for decorations. If looks could kill, I’d have been a wet puddle on the carpet that the custodian would have to clean up. Her handshake was limp and she avoided all eye contact. She wondered when they could get in to decorate – I told them during the rehearsal or Friday during office hours. I just wanted this deal to be done!
The wedding was set for June 25 at 2:30. By 2:25, the staff and 1 guest had arrived. The wedding started at 3:20. No one took down the decorations – the custodian had to do it. Only half of it was picked up the following week, after I had gone home for the day. They forgot their candlesticks!
I emailed this week to say their cheque (deposit plus adjustment) was ready. I didn’t mail it because of the impending postal strike and the missed decor. She agreed to come on Friday before 2, but was pretty sure I had miscalculated the fees. She was forgetting that if she wasn’t paying an organist, she was paying a hostess. I explained the breakdown, but she didn’t reply to my email.
I’m leaving today at 2 – if she doesn’t show up on time, I’m tempted to leave the cheque and candlesticks outside. Or give them to Professor Plum…
Some people just don’t have a Clue!