Dec 1, 2017

Nicole’s Entertaining Ordeals #1

So at one of my weddings….

Everyone has wedding horror story that they can share - an embarrassing moment or awkward situation or disaster that they have experienced first hand....
When you are in the business of weddings, you have M-A-N-Y more to share than the average wedding guest.  Every wedding has it's nightmare moment – no exceptions.  Some are just more challenging that others...

During weddings, we vendors often dine together, and over a glass of wine (yes, we enjoy the luxuries of French gastronom) we recount the different occasions in which our expertise (and patience) has been put to the we basically just tried as hard as possible to avoid a catastrophe!  

On telling a couple of my wedding "horror stories" at a wedding this past September, the photographer said to me, “You should write these stories down and share them! People will love it”.  So I thought, she’s right! There is almost always a lesson to be learned behind every story – so why not spread the wisdom!
I have decided to name these stories as Nicole’s Entertaining Ordeals – most are funny – at least looking back – while some I actually still have nightmares about (Eeek!!)  I’ll start with something simple and not too shocking...

…Your Taxi has Arrived….

We are in a beautiful venue not far from Bordeaux on a hot summer day.  Everything has gone according to plan for the most part – at least nothing else noteworthy sticks out in my mind...
This was one of my first weddings – I think my 4th wedding to be exact.  It was sweltering hot and I was just so happy to be in a venue that had air conditioning. 

Since the venue could only house around 20 people at the time, all of the other guests stayed in the city and arrived by bus.  These same guests were to be taken home at the end of the evening by that same bus, unless they wished to leave the wedding earlier, in which case they were advised to book a taxi.    Important to mention: Finding a taxi in the French countryside at night is virtually impossible. Of course if you reserve ahead of time, no problem, you will be picked up.  But you can’t just call a local taxi company at 2am and say “Yes, I’d like you to come pick me up here and drop me off here”.  The taxi driver will most likely rant for at least 5 minutes over the nerve you have of calling them at 2am.
Almost all of my couples (and their guests) live in large metropolitan cities where finding a taxi (or a pizza, an icecream, a birthday card....) – at 2am isn’t a problem.    I insist heavily (VERY HEAVILY) that it just doesn’t work like that in the french countryside..

We are now back at the wedding, party is in full swing and the bride asks me to see if the bus can come earlier to pick everyone up because they are tired.  No problem – I call and make the necessary arrangements.

A couple comes to ask me when the bus will arrive and I inform them that it should be there shortly.  They thank me and mention that they had called a taxi to come pick them up, but since the bus will be arriving soon, they’ll take the bus.  I inform them that they should call their taxi immediately to cancel so that the taxi does't make the 20 minute trip from Bordeaux for no reason.

Not even 10 minutes later, I see a car arrive in the driveway – odd at 2am – the car pulls up to the venue, my stomach drops, it’s a taxi.  The taxi driver gets out and asks who ordered a taxi.  The couple that I had just spoken to, are now talking to the taxi driver.  
I start walking towards them.  
The couple, who were in a very “happy” place after a full afternoon and evening of drinking tell the taxi driver that they don’t need him anymore because: 1) he took too long to get there and 2) the bus is coming to pick them up soon and they won’t have to pay for the bus.  
As you can imagine, the taxi driver is not happy.  He starts yelling….
(I should mention that the taxi driver is about 6 foot tall and most likely spends a minimum of 3 hours per day at the gym….you get the picture.)

So the taxi driver is shouting that he needs to be paid anyway because he came all the way from Bordeaux, blah, blah, blah .  
The boyfriend starts arguing as well.  
Unfortunately the boyfriend can’t realize the severity of the situation because he is slightly drunk.  
He proceeds by blowing off the taxi driver with the waive of a hand in a very condescending manner.

As you can imagine, at this point; the taxi driver, totally sober, has become irate.  
He steps right up to the boyfriend and says that he is going to smash in his face if he doesn’t pay.  (In those exact words, in French of course.)

During this whole scene, I have been trying to calm down the taxi driver and divert the drunk boyfriend in another direction –unsuccessfully.  
The bride then comes out and takes part in the very heated discussion – which could become very dangerous very quickly.  
I try to move her because I am convinced that the taxi driver is going to throw a punch.  I have visions of an all out brawl on the threshold of the reception room with DJ mixing and people dancing in the background.... and me having to call the police….

LUCKILY a sober friend also realized the severity of the situation and pulled out the 30€ that he had in his pocket, gave it to the taxi driver and asked him to accept that as payment and be on his way. LUCKILY the taxi driver accepted – I wasn’t sure he would – and he left.

Here I am standing with the guests outside realizing that all of us standing there were all in serious physical danger – I think I was the only one who realized that really – except the friend with the cash. And I was just thankful that I didn’t have to call the police! I mean what could be worse that the cops showing up to your wedding because there was a fight….

Moral of the Story: It is important in any situation to respect the work of others.  
The taxi driver had come from 25 minutes away and was justified in being angry.  He had just lost his pay because someone had not taken responsibility of calling to cancel.  Even if it was too late to cancel, the couple should have honored their reservation and left the wedding in the taxi.  

We wedding professionals see this type of behavior time and time again and come back to the basic rule of just treating others as you wish to be treated.

(2nd underlying moral of the story: DO NOT provoke the mean looking taxi driver with the very LARGE muscles!!)         

Until next time….!