December 24, 2009

Ho Ho Hotels

Imagine you're in a tunnel. Looking in one direction, you see a bright, too harsh white light, beckoning you ... its radiance nearly suffocating ... its sheer nothingness overwhelming. At the other end of the tunnel is the process of securing a block of discounted rooms for your destination wedding.


Run toward the white light.

Yes, I know what they said in Poltergeist, but never mind that. I'm not messing around. Whatever the white light is, I guarantee it's better than that other thing. Seriously. Don't be a hero.


There's a man at the hotel that is providing accommodations for our wedding guests. This man is the guest relations coordinator for group reservations. We'll call the man Chuck. 2E's has been on the phone with Chuck almost daily for the past month, trying to decipher the hotel's cryptic block-o-rooms policy, hoping to reduce our not-yet-reduced-enough rate and (finally) managing to secure a reasonable contract.  It's been an uphill battle to say the least.

Chuck can be pleasant but is never very bright. He can appear courteous but is never truly concerned. He asks for our trust and, in turn, gives us guff for every harmless question or concern. In the wedding planning community, he's a gem in an ocean of very similar gems.

Chuck is topaz.

CHUCK: Chuck here.
GUEST: Hi Chuck, I'd like to book a room under the 1E's/2E's wedding block...?
CHUCK: (silence)
GUEST: Hello?
CHUCK: Fiiiiiiiine. Let me look it up. (minutes later) What kind of room?
GUEST: The King Suite.
CHUCK: (elongated groan)
GUEST: So ... can I book it with you, or...?
CHUCK: Let me look it up. (hours later) Fiiiiiiiiiine.

But we've grown to love Chuck. We had to. After all, we will be spending the next ten months in constant contact with the guy. Every time a guest of ours has a booking issue, Chuck will be there. Every time there's a cop beatin' up a guy, Chuck will be there. Every time he gives someone the incorrect rate, ... well, we'll be there. Calling Chuck. And Chuck will be there. Or perhaps his voicemail. Either way.

2E's and I are fortunate this week in that we get to spend the holidays with our respective families and answer all wedding-related questions, 98% of which are hotel-related. We'll address all issues and clarify all misconceptions, particularly for those relatives who are convinced that DUMBO is either an imaginary place or one inspired by the 1941 Disney classic.

Dad is in the kitchen as we speak, cutting up the ham with what could very well be a chainsaw; my siblings are nibbling on sweets and homemade jello; and my niece is curled up in the bed beside the makeshift desk that I'm working at. And in a few hours, in the midst of opening presents, one of them may ask teasingly, So how daunting is this whole wedding process? And I'll say,

"Well, just imagine you're in a tunnel..."

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