Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Weekend of Family and Lessons: Part 1

I was so excited to begin this wedding weekend and the first wedding was Jordan and Julia on Friday. I was told they were getting married at Morris Chapel in Niles. I found the address and asked the bride about it in a prior email along with some other follow up questions. She neither confirmed or denied the question and so I mistakenly assumed all was well with the location.

It had been a difficult week prior to the wedding for Julia, Jordan and their family, as Julia's grandmother had just passed away. I tried to keep communication to a bare minimum, and when we last spoke, I told her I would arrive 30 to 45 minutes ahead of time, as is customary for me. She told to come right in when I got there and she would be in the basement area preparing.

I showed up at the mapped out location at 2:45 pm for a 3:30 pm service. I got a "sinking feeling" immediately driving up, as there was not one car in the lot. I walked up to the doorway of the chapel and there were cobwebs on the door! I knew this had to be the wrong place, but I had been told it was a historical site and there was a historical marker in front of the chapel!

I went back to my car and began trying to call the two numbers I had for this couple, but only reached voicemail. I left a message on both. I noticed a woman across the street and approached her, but she said they do have church every Sunday there, but no one had been there last night to prepare (and I knew the couple had gone the night before). A sign outside the church gave two phone numbers; one just rang on, the other went to voicemail but gave an emergency number for the minister. I tried that and got voicemail and left a message, hoping he would know where the location was. I tried the couple's numbers again and left voicemail twice.

Finally, I received a call from a bridesmaid who had gone to get their cell phones and found my messages. I got directions from where I was to Morris Farms Chapel from the photographer and arrived late, but everyone understood what had happened.

The wedding itself was lovely and the location is beautiful. I highly recommend it. The difference between where I was and ended up is not a big stretch. The church I was at first was once on the site where this wedding took place; hence the name/location confusion. However, I must insist, from now on, in verifying the address of the location, especially for smaller weddings that don't have a rehearsal before, as this one. I may even ask that one person have a cell phone "on," and on them before everyone arrives, as the "emergency contact". I would still have been on time (not too far between locations) had I been able to reach someone right away. Another lesson learned. Thankfully, the couple were gracious, patient and understanding, along with all their family and friends.

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