Father of the Bride
My daughter will marry in May.
For years, I have been urging her to elope to Las Vegas and inform me by postcard. As usual, she has ignored my wise council and chosen a big wedding. The key factor in declining Las Vegas kitsch was her keen desire to have a large cake on the day, naturally with copious butter cream icing, and that works only at a big wedding with lots of guests to eat the bloody thing.
When I mention her wedding, anyone that has seen the movie thinks of the classic Steve Martin character. The only thing that I have in common with George Banks is having owned an Austin Healey 3000. Oh, I might have been as cynical with Frunk and Hunk, if my daughter had hired a wedding planner. Fortunately, such creatures are rare in this country. Hers will be DYI, but this is Germany, where things are usually well organized...if you pay.
One thing that I certainly do not share with Banks pere et fille is basketball, although I did buy a hoop for my daughter in her teenage years. It was the time of the 90’s basketball/streetball craze in Germany which, like the tennis craze in the 80’s, rose and fell as dramatically as a tsunami. I don’t recall ever tossing a ball with my daughter, because I probably did not. I am not a fan of the sport. It’s a dumb “game”, invented in a time when average male height was probably 5’5” (pictures of Monsieur Naismith on a step ladder mounting a bottomless bushel basket confirm this), but hijacked by men exceeding 7 feet in height. How tough is it to drop a ball through a hoop? I played ice hockey, which is true sport. One must first master skating, before even attempting skills far more complex than bouncing a ball. But, back to our hoop: I removed it after my children showed little interest (smart kids!), and it only attracted boys more interested in the only hoop on the street than in my daughter and cared not-at-all about damaging my flower beds. What we did share was reading, which started when she was still the crib. We progressed from nursery rhymes to Richard Scarry masterpieces to Eloise...until she was on her own. It is a far more-useful skill than bouncing a ball.
Wishing to emulate great sagas, the happy couple has chosen a castle on the Rhine. I doubt that either has read any of these, so are unaware of the drama. Anyway, the venue is very nice, and the catering is promising. That said, the menu selection must be decided months in advance. How can anyone know what they want to eat on a Saturday evening in May? I have difficulty deciding an hour before lunch. I could have some sympathy with the chef, if the hotel was located in the Seychelles (not a shabby spot for a wedding, by the way), where provisions must arrive by ship and Somali pirates wreak havoc on supplies chains. But the kitchen lies a few kilometers from Europe’s most heavily plied road, rail, and water arteries, plus being not far from one of the world’s busiest freight airports. Okay, it’s on a hill and supply trucks must maneuver through two small villages and along a winding road, but three months to prepare a meal....
What should be entertaining for me will be discussions on seating arrangements. Think of the most-sensitive diplomatic conferences called to tackle the most-contentious multi-country wrangle...
No swans, doves, or any animals are planned. That is one benefit of not having a wedding planner. That said, creatures can probably be sourced quicker than the menu can be changed.
If only I could control the weather....I would hire a weather planner for that...although many probably promise such a service and have mastered the art of making excuses for unfulfilled promises.
If it does rain, precipitation will join another free-flowing fluid: wine. This was not an issue in the film, because the wedding took place in the US. Hypocrisy dictated that alcohol should not be mentioned. But, in a more mature culture, wine is regarded as a necessity and normal. Talk about overkill: the venue is located in the midst of some of Germany’s prime vineyards, but the bride’s godmother owns one the top estates in the country (www.kuehling-gillot.de) and her daughter married into another one (www.battenfeld-spanier.de) . Imagine how much of the stuff is waiting to be consumed in celebration.
Let the hangovers begin...
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.