We Have A Venue (A Groom With A View)

stone hll

Sitting in that banquet room, we imagined our family and friends all dressed up to celebrate our wedding, Evin in her dress, me in my non tuxedo. We both looked at each other. No words were spoken, it was just a pinch of time really, but long enough to know that this is where it should happen. This is where we should get married.

Yes, dear readers, followers of this blog, friends, family, and the rest of you that fall into other categories altogether, our long national nightmare is over. Evin and I have agreed on a wedding venue!

We had been to the New York Botanical Garden before — last summer or the one before to see the Orchid Show which if memory serves, wasn’t my idea to go to.  The show was great but the side trip afterward to Arthur Avenue — The Bronx’s Little Italy — for the one of the best Chicken Carbonara’s we had each ever had was the highlight.

They had two different spaces for us to choose from. The first one was The Garden Terrace Room. It held a lot more guests than we were planning to invite. It was also where a number of our friends had been to weddings before and they were quick to offer advice. “I was there in 2000 for a wedding,” a good friend told me, “I could ask how they liked it but they’re divorced now.”  The decision was made for us as the minimums were prohibitive. So we went to see the second choice, The Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill, an 1840′s building that looked as if General George Washington has used it to plot the capture and killing of the British had the Revolutionary War still been going on and had Washington not been dead when it was built.  Hey, my mother’s name is Lillian, that had to be a good sign. But it was that stone building that I thought might be a metaphor — if our marriage could be as strong at the facade of that building, we’d be just fine.

Jayme the Catering and Sales Manager led the way. She took us to the slate patio against a stream where the ceremony would be, then inside for cocktail hour, then upstairs for where the reception would be. There was a room for the bride to get ready, and a corner in the back with a hook on the wall for the groom. Then she sat us down a table in the same room where the reception would be and showed us mouthwatering pictures of a meal we would probably not even get a chance to eat. It was easy, there was no hard sell, every question had an answer, nothing seemed impossible. everything seemed to scream, “HEY, HAVE YOUR WEDDING HERE!” We discussed a few preliminary numbers, chose the date of July 13, 2013, and pretty much made up our minds right then and there to get married at Abigail Kirsch at New York Botanic Garden Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill. If only every other decision could be this easy! Jayme told us a contract would be coming, we all shook hands, and Evin and I went over to Arthur Avenue for a celebratory Hero Sandwich.

A week or so later a contract arrived, we signed it, wrote a rather large deposit check, and I took a walk to the post office to mail it back. About halfway to the mailbox, I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the street. I just stood there thinking to myself random thoughts about what our wedding would be like.  My friends from my days living in the south for college would be meeting my writer friends here in New York.  That Evin’s cousin Andrea from Bogota would be dancing with her dad and uncles. And that my father would need a new suit and knowing how long it takes for him to choose a style or color, might take up until the day before the wedding to get accomplished. And Evin’s mom, so happy, so proud.  I know what you’re thinking — you’ve been engaged for months now and it’s all  just dawning on you now? Yes, it’s only dawning on me now! And for the first time since I asked Evin to marry me, I am now officially excited.

Then some guy rode by in his car, screamed an expletive at me for standing in the middle of the intersection blocking traffic, and sped off.