Over the years, I’ve collected many funny stories about things that have happened at Shelter Island weddings. Since this is the “Marry” Month of June, I thought I’d share a few stories.
First, there’s getting to the wedding. One couple had parents flying in from Colorado. What do landlocked people know from islands? Looking at a map of the East Coast and not wanting to land at JFK—which they thought was in the big city—it seemed to make sense for them to fly to what they considered a nearby island. They flew to Nantucket Island, with the assumption that there were boats going back and forth from Shelter to Nantucket. Chaos ensued, but they did get to the church on time.
Another wedding party had guests coming from upstate New York. Since there are bridges between Manhattan Island, Staten Island and Long Island, they assumed there surely must be a bridge to little Shelter Island. This is only important to someone with a phobia of boats. Having never been in a boat in her life, the mother of the groom refused to cross on the ferry. Did the groom know of his mother’s phobia? Yes, he did, but he thought her phobia might make an exception in this case. Moving the venue to Sag Harbor was impossible, and she would not take the ferry. There was only one honorable thing to do. And while they tried to think of what that might be, they got a rum and Coke to calm her down. She used the rum and Coke to wash down the Valium the daughter had given her, unaware that her husband had already put two Xanax into her drink. When she awoke, she was in bed at the Chequit Inn, and it was the next morning, the day of the wedding.
Then there are the receptions. Multiple weddings commonly happen on the same day during wedding season. You can hardly drive on the island on a weekend without seeing balloons and signs directing you to a reception. But, since not all our roads have signs, mistakes can be made. One set of guests showed up at a nice reception, put their gifts on the table, and sat at a table with their name cards, which were common names I will call “Tom” and “Sue.” They had a lovely dinner and enjoyed themselves. It was only at the point when the bride and groom got up to dance that the couple realized that they were at the wrong reception. What to do? Well, they couldn’t take their gifts off the table in front of everyone, and they had already eaten the dinner, so they decided to stay and just continue to have fun, since both sides assumed the other side had invited them.
There was the wedding where the cake was to make a grand entrance via boat to the wedding reception, which was being held dockside. The cake approached so everyone could see it, but the tide was out, and lifting a multi-tiered cake up onto a dock while climbing a short ladder had not been factored into the logistics of this elaborate presentation.
You can see this coming, can’t you?
One man climbed up, the other tried to hoist the four-tiered cake to waiting hands on the dock, and then gravity intervened and took three tiers off the top and into the water. The bottom tier made it, and the bride and groom did not let it ruin their day, which is why they were still laughing when they told me this story so many years later.