Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let me check my notes ...

I returned a voice mail message and had the following conversation about the possibility of scheduling a wedding for this Saturday ... 


Me: Hi, this is $$ I'm returning your call regarding a civil ceremony.

Him: Oh, hi, Ms. $$, this is -----, we spoke already and you already said that you would be available to do the ceremony on Saturday morning in ### so we're all set.  (NOTE:  ### is 45 minutes away from my office)

Me: No, I definitely did not say that I was available to come to ### on Saturday ...

Him: Oh, let me check my notes - I think you did - hold on - I have to check my notes

** what I wanted to say out loud was, umm, dude don't really care what your notes say - I'm not available and there is no way I would have said that ... instead, I waited ...

... tick tock tick tock ... long pause ...

Him: Ms. $$, can I call you back in 30 minutes - I need to look over my notes and I'm driving.

Me: You can call me back, but I know that I did not say that I was available to come to ### on Saturday morning.  I am planning to leave town and would never have said I was available for that since I have to drive 5 hours the other direction.  What I said was my last available appointment is on Saturday, 11 AM, at my office and that I would be leaving the area immediately after the ceremony.

Him: Hmm, yes, I think you are right and I am wrong.  But, can I call you back so I can look at my notes and so that I can tell you what we are doing.  I will call you in 30 minutes?  I mean I am driving now and we really were expecting that you would call us back much earlier.

** For those keeping score, we spoke yesterday and then he left a follow up message today at 11 AM stating they had more questions ... (I guess I should apologize for being in Court all day in addition to him not being able to take proper notes on what I said <note sarcasm>)

Is it wrong that I have my fingers crossed that he discovers his notes are so messed up that they have me confused with someone else and that they plan to schedule with someone else?  they are way to high maintenance!! 

Now is probably a good time to point out that I spoke with him and his fiance' yesterday ~ on speaker because they were in the car (he clearly spends a lot of time in his car).  I answered their questions about my fee and stated that the last possible time I would schedule a wedding before January would be this Saturday, 11 AM, at my office.  After giving them those two tiny pieces of information, they asked me to "email them all the details we discussed" because they could not write it down at the time.  Confused by their request, since I had only given them those two tiny pieces of information and the rest was stuff they had to decide and call back about (time, date, location, availability of family, etc.) I actually said, "I'm confused on what you want me to send you in an email - my fee is $$ and I'm waiting for you to tell me the day and time you're interested in so I can tell you if I am available."  He responded, oh, yeah, you're right.  We'll call you tomorrow once we figure out what we want.

Clearly I did not realize that (1) I needed to sit by my phone all day and await their call and forget about my actual job as a lawyer; (2) despite his inability to take notes while we were talking ~ he was actually taking notes while we were talking; (3) that those notes clearly had the ability to change my unavailability to go to Woodbridge on Saturday if he determined that his notes said something different than I was saying now; and, (4) whatever they decide they want, they're going to tell me, and I should do it despite my existing appointments, etc. but that I have to wait 30 minutes to know what that is ... and the time space continuum does not actually apply to him, as it has been almost an hour since that call ...

* would it be inappropriate to say "oh, I was really expecting that you would call me back much earlier? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Secret weddings ... Just Happened ...

So, I got a call this week about a secret wedding and it reminded me about the first secret wedding I did.

I used to have an office in a larger office building with a very long entrance way.  You would come in the front doors, pass the elevators on your right, and keep going straight to get to the professional office suite where I had space.  Hardly anyone worked on the weekends in my suite or on any of the other floors as best I could tell.   If they did, I never saw them.

One day I got a call from a bride and groom with panic in their voices - they NEEDED to come get married that weekend or the wedding was never going to happen.  You see they had this big wedding planned a few months later but the fighting between the families over who was sitting where, who was invited, who wasn't, and any other detail you could think of was really heating up.  The bride and groom themselves were not fighting but the stress on them was becoming unbearable.  They just wanted a small private ceremony - just the three of us so the pressure would be off.  No one would be the wiser.  We scheduled the secret ceremony for late Saturday afternoon.

Saturday arrived.  I was in my office working when they called to say they were at the front door of the building.  I went out to greet them and we walked toward the doors of our office suite.  As we passed the elevators ... we heard the "ding!" and the doors opened.  It was a guy who did not work in the building ... but just happened to be in the area when his friend, who never worked weekends ... just happened to call him ... because he just happened to be working on this particular Saturday ... and he just happened to be having a computer issue ... that this guy just happened to be able to fix .... 

Him:  Oh, hey!  What are you guys doing here?

Bride-to-be:  We're getting married!

Husband-to-be:  Well, now, that was a secret for very long ...

Him:  Oh, you're kidding me ... my wife is going to kill me if I don't tell her.  My wife is going to kill you for not telling her.  My wife is going to be so mad that I knew first. 

Turns out this guy ... just happened to be the bride-to-be's best friend's husband.

*all I could do was laugh because ... really ... you just can't make this stuff up ... it just happens.  ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SURPRISE! We're getting married! (aka: Wedding by Ambush)

So, mother of the groom calls and schedules an appointment for her son and soon to be daughter-in-law's wedding.  I thought nothing of it until they arrived at my office and the bride immediately went in to the bathroom with 3 wedding dresses and a flock of people.   Its a one person bathroom.  After a brief period of time and my stellar investigative skills ... I learned that this was a "surprise wedding" ... or, as I'd like to call it ... a "wedding by ambush."

Picture this:  you go the courthouse with your whole family, including your "baby daddy's mother" (bride's words, not mine).  You think you are there for babby daddy mother's court date (because she really does have one coming up).  You are led to the Clerk's office, told to sign some papers, swear under oath that you are the person on the paperwork and swear under oath that your answers are true and accurate.  You really have no idea what's happening - when someone says "surprise! you're getting married in about 30 minutes!"

You walk a block to my office for your appointment - and your mother-in-law to be hands you 3 dresses, asks where the bathroom is and then shoves you and a handful of other people in to the bathroom.  Your entourage, now piled in to a one-person bathroom, begins to liberally apply hairspray and perfume to you while you try on the 3 dresses someone else picked out that morning from the Ross around the corner.  **FYI:  I mean, they REALLY hair spray the hell out of your hair & douse you in perfume (because as I later learned you did not shower for what you thought was your soon to be mother-in-law's court date and because you are most likely covered in the things that small children cover you in). 

**Another side note:  the hairspray and perfume lingered for what seemed like days.

Now the people crammed in to the bathroom with you are also applying someone else's make-up to your face, stuffing you in to the only one of the three dresses they brought that kind of fits you and shoving you in to some shoes that your feet immediately declare are uncomfortable; all this while your husband-to-be sits in the lobby paying zero attention to the screaming children running amok.

The couple were no strangers to each other - the screaming children were theirs, together; BUT I'm  guessing the bride REALLY REALLY wanted to get married ~ and REALLY REALLY wanted to get married to this guy because she turned a blind eye to the fact that the groom knew about the wedding by ambush and that despite the entourage did their best to get her "all dolled up" in an office bathroom he was content getting married in sweats with food stains on the front.

You married me two years ago ....

 Caller:  Hi, I'd like to schedule a wedding with you.  You married me 2 years ago.

Me:  Oh, okay, so you want to do a renewal - not a wedding.

Caller:  Oh, no, that marriage only lasted a month.

Me:  Umm ... oh ... I'm sorry to hear that ...

Caller:  But you were so nice and genuine ... and your ceremony was so thoughtful and sincere, I just knew I had to have you again.

Me:  Umm ... thank you, that's very kind of you to say.

Caller:  Yeah.  My fiance' saw that your name was circled and knew that it had to be you, but ... umm ... well, he doesn't know why.

Me:  Umm ... well, okay, I'll not mention the previous wedding then, I guess?

Caller:  Okay, that would be great.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The fantasy world of a groom, isn't always about the wedding itself ...

At 11:15 AM, I made a phone call to a wedding couple who had an appointment for 11 AM this morning.  I left a voice mail message.  5 minutes later the groom returned my call and said "hi, this is ---, we have an appointment for 11 AM today.  We are on time, but we had trouble finding the building, so we spent 20 minutes for nothing.  But, we are on time."

10 minutes later they FINALLY arrive at the building, and then he says "hi, we have a problem, we didn't forget the money - but it's on the coffee table, neither of us picked it up off the table.  so we didn't forget it, but we don't have it."

After the ceremony, while I was completing the paperwork ... I asked where they were parked so I could determine which door was best to let them out.  The groom says, "we're out front, hopefully we didn't get a ticket.  We didn't have a quarter for the parking machine."

In my world, I would've gotten a ticket.  In his world, he didn't ... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

For as long as we both shall ...

Her:  Do you say "til death do us part" in the vows?

Me:  I can, if you want me to.

Her:  No, that's okay - I mean obviously we know it ends in death.

Me:  I usually say "as long as we both shall live."

Her:  Oh, can we change that?  I mean, you can live a long time and we all know that people fall out of love with each other.  Can we change live, to love?

Me:  Okay, so you want me to say "as long as we both shall love."

Her:  Yeah, I mean, let's be real here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things better left unsaid (PART ONE ... since we all know there will be more!)

Things that should never be said, heard, or done during a wedding ceremony ... (We'll just call this PART ONE, since we all know there will be more ...)

(1) another woman's name during the vows 

(2) stuffed animals should never speak during the vows even if they are dressed in a tuxedo and gown and the humans are dressed in dirty jeans and sweats

(3) the word fornication should never EVER never EVER be said during the ceremony, for any reason

(4) the phrase "fabrications in your heads" should really never be part of the ceremony, really

(5) the phrase "you commit to do what your partner needs sexually and sensually" should never be something the wedding celebrant has to say as part of the ceremony, really

(6) the question "are you ready and willing to try your best to hold your commitment to each other" just seems inappropriate for a wedding vow ... it sounds like you're already admitting defeat

(7) telling the celebrant that there will be a ring exchange and then "faking it" because you think rings are required ... and thinking the celebrant won't notice ~

Some things that should never be said while scheduling the wedding ceremony:

(1) does he need to be there?   (and yes, by "he" - the bride was, in fact, referring to the groom)

(2) oh, no I don't need your address, you are in the same building as [NAME], right? ... because she performed my last wedding

Some things that you never want to learn after the wedding ceremony:

(1) Can I get an annulment?  that was the WORST night of my life!

(2) I received this voice mail message about a year after performing the wedding.  It relays some very tragic news and some even more disturbing information:  "umm, I was wondering if we could get our wedding annulled?  we had a baby, and the baby died because we are first cousins.  my mother and his mother are sisters and they have the same mother"

(*** if you want to know more about any of these - just let me know and I'll blog more about that "incident" ***) 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I take you ... again ...

Occasionally I get a call to perform a ceremony for a couple that had a cultural ceremony (typically African) already back in their home country and are simply looking to renew their vows and legalize their wedding here in the United States.  I got one of those calls today from the courthouse and agreed that they could come over right away.  They needed to finish by 11:30 and it was already almost 11.  While completing the paperwork for them (quickly because of the 11:30 deadline) I discovered that they had already had a cultural ceremony in their country.  While talking about their cultural ceremony and how both families are typically involved in the ceremony, I asked how long ago it was ... they said 3 years.  I just laughed and said, "wow, take your time, you don't want to rush in to anything." Seeing the humor in the 11:30 deadline when they've had 3 years to do this, they laughed too.

While performing the ceremony itself, I "tweaked" a few places to reflect that they were marrying each other again. 

First, I had the bride repeat the vows after me.
  ((I [NAME] take you [NAME] again, to be my wedded husband.  To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.  I promise to love you, cherish you, and be faithful to you, for as long as we both shall live.))

Then, I had the groom repeat the vows after me ... which is where we all got another good laugh ... again.

Me:  I [NAME] take you [NAME]
Him: I [NAME] take you [NAME]
Me: again
Him: I [NAME] take you [NAME]
Me:  again
Him:  I [NAME] take you [NAME]

At this point the bride and I lost it laughing and both said, no I [NAME] take you [NAME] AGAIN to be my wedded wife.

After we regained control of our laughter -  he made his way through the rest of the vows.  As they walked out the door of my building - he turned around and with a very wide grin said "Thank you ... AGAIN!!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Religion of Bridesmaids and Stuff Like That. (UPDATED)

... sometimes, all I have to do is type out the conversation.  This is one of those times.

Her: I just have a question about the justice of the peace and weddings.
Me: Ok. What would you like to know? (answered basics re: cost, etc.)
Her: Do you perform religious ceremonies?
Me: No, I am authorized to perform civil ceremonies.
Her: So that means no bridesmaids and stuff like that?
Me: ... pause ... umm ... no, that's not what it means. It means I am not authorized to perform a ceremony that involves God or whatever religious beliefs you may follow....for that you would need to find a priest, or minister, authorized in Virginia that follows your religious beliefs.

*Who knew there was a religion centering around "bridesmaids and stuff like that"? JUST.WOW.

 UPDATE:  Gee I Do Too!    Jan 18, 2012 12:36 PM
And one of my friends' response to this conversation: Remember in the Bible where it says, "and thou shalt join in matrimony in the presence of no fewer than three ladies in frumpy attire and an even number of men in rented tuxedos"...I think it was in the Book of Inexplicable Social Conventions.

 UPDATE: Gee I Do Too!     Jan 24, 2012 12:13 PM
Remember the religion of bridesmaids girl? Yeah, she just called again to confirm her appointment - and give me a few more nuggets like: "Oh, no, we haven't gotten our license yet - we're going to go on Thursday because I already have Court on Thursday" ... and "I think I'll be more nervous for the big reception we're going to throw this spring, then the small dinner ceremony and actual wedding we're going to have with you" ... and "okay, should I call you sometime and maybe again on Saturday to, you know, see where you are and everything?" ...