Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stalker Officiants

Finding someone to officiate a wedding is not that simple. First off, I wanted to be married by a boat captain. I figured, I could hang out around a dock somewhere, find a guy with a boat, and then get him to marry us.

No dice. A boat captain is not a wedding officiant simply by being a boat captain in New York. Well, thanks, New York, for ruining my fun.

That's not to say a boat captain can't be an official marriage maker. Anyone can be one: truck driver, boat captain, accountant, meter maid, violinist, baseball player, hall monitor, astronaut, school nurse. Anyone can be one if they file the proper paperwork and become official. The whole thing about the boat captain was that I thought they could do it just because they are boat captains. But now, I kind of want to be married by a meter maid.

Anyway, speaking of boat captains, I logged onto TheKnot.com because I'd heard of it and figured they might have a list of officants. They did. Only I couldn't see them unless I created an account. Fandamtastic. That's exactly what I did not want to do, but I did it.

I was happy I did because I found a boat captain! Some guy wears a very nautical military looking outfit and marries people. He's a boat captain and a wedding officiant. I got Eddie to email the guy. Eddie sent a very detailed business-like email. A few hours later, we got back something like, Got ur msg. May b good. Need date. Will contact. So either the Captain was using some kind of nautical shorthand or he was an unprofessional whackjob. Either way, I was very let down by the captain and decided to search more.

Did you know that TheKnot is not the only wedding website? I found two more. So I searched for more officiants. Some overlapped. Some did not. One wedding site I found actually had a countdown for how many days were left until the wedding. That seemed slightly over-dramatic. I actually deleted my profile from that one as soon as I created it because instead of letting me look for people, it had people look at what I was looking for and then pitch to me. I didn't want that. It was annoying.

I sent out a bunch of messages. Later on, we got another message from the Captain. It was a longer email about his services and with a bunch of questions. We didn't answer right away. The next day, we got another email from the Captain, asking if we were still interested. Whoa, buddy, take a breath.

I received several emails back over the course of a few days. Within these few days, the Captain continued to pop up. Eddie wrote back and asked for a quote. He answered with $550 and then continued to send more messages. We told him we were in early planning stages and we'd let him know. He sent a few more messages but then stopped.

I zoned in on five people who looked like they were normal and knew what they were doing. I contacted one back and within seconds, I had a message from him. Then I sent an answer back to his question and he sent two more emails. Oh no, it was like we had another Captain on our hands, only this guy didn't have a fun nickname. I started calling him the Pastor even though he wasn't one.

One woman wrote me back and was completely helpful and normal. Her prices were actually on her website. She listed packages and what we'd get for each price. So that was a good thing. There was something about her that didn't seem excited about what she was doing, though, so I never got back to her. I guess I prefer some stalkerish qualities over nothing at all.

I narrowed down to three people. I emailed them with the date, the time, and the place. Immediately, the Pastor wrote back, telling me that he was happy I was able to send the venue but he needed a time. I showed it to Eddie, saying that people in general have a reading comprehension problem. I didn't get back to this guy. He was off the list.

That didn't mean that I was off his list. He send three more emails consecutively.

One woman who is also a writer wrote back to me. We had a very pleasant exchange. I liked her vibe. It was probably the writer thing.

Another woman was also in touch with me. I liked her name. We also had a simple, pleasant exchange.

Then, the Captain reappeared. It had been about a week or a bit more, and suddenly, Eddie showed me his phone. The Captain--and I'm not joking here--was on a cruise and wanted to let us know that he would be back soon so he wanted all the information about our wedding so that he could make sure he could be there. As if now he's not really officiating but he's an actual guest, perhaps one of the family already. It was not clear if he was on a cruise for vacation or if he was the boat captain for the cruise.

Let me first explain this: we are having a small wedding. We are inviting our parents, our siblings, his nieces and nephews, and my grandmother. That's it. The ceremony, I'm guessing, will be about twenty minutes. We are going to be in a park. If it rains, the park has an odd metal thing that I think is supposed to be a gazebo that we can stand under. It'll be a slight squeeze, but it's doable. Then we're going to a restaurant to eat. So we're not looking for someone who will be the life of the party. We're looking for, simply, someone to marry us legally.

So, spending 550 for a boat captain was not going to happen. I know we're also paying for travel and services as well as time, but still, that's a little steep. Unfortunately, the Writer was a bit steep as well, ranging from 400s to 600s.

And so, after telling the Writer and the Pastor that we had to decline, we went with the other woman, one with no nickname, a very plain jane kind of thing. Except, I really really like her name. We're getting married by Judy. That's also the name of my GPS system. But that's not why I like the name. I like the name because I can say it in all kinds of fun ways. Yes, this is how I offered input into who would marry us. At this point, all Eddie knew was that he didn't want to be stalked by the Captain anymore.

Judy told me how to send in the deposit to save the date and time for her services. I did so and we had a short email exchange to ensure she'd received it. It's been some time since I've heard from Judy. I'm pretty sure that by this point, she's skipped town and run off to Mexico.

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