Monday, September 7, 2009

Taming Groomzilla excerpt by E.N. Holland

In Taming Groomzilla by E.N. Holland, Joel Harfner and Luke Townsend, lovers for two years, have just bought their first home together in Scarborough, Maine. In a moment of domestic impetuosity, Joel proposes to Luke, who says yes. Then, to Joel's surprise, Luke says he wants a wedding with "all the bells and whistles." Joel, who never expected to be married, suddenly finds himself in the midst of planning a full-scale destination event to be held in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Why Massachusetts? As Joel says, "We can't get married in Maine ~ yet ~ but we are ever hopeful." Taming Groomzilla tells the story of how Joel and Luke navigate the tribulations of the six months from "Will you marry me?" to "I do." And while they do seal their union, complete with a kiss, there is more than one twist and turn in store to complicate their journey and keep the reader hilariously entertained.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Protect Maine Equality to help support their efforts to protect same-sex marriage in Maine.

Taming Groomzilla
Publisher: Bristlecone Pine Press
ISBN: 978-1-60722-010-7

Excerpt (from Chapter Four)

Marital plans were proceeding apace. In fact, I was amazed at just how quickly things were moving forward. I felt like I had gone from a laid-back, low-key sort of guy whose biggest decision every day was what sort of latte to have on my mid-morning coffee break, to a whirling dervish of planning and organization. And if I was a dervish, what was Luke? A Tasmanian devil? I think so. The description seems apt.

Once we had decided on the date, a whole chain of decisions suddenly presented themselves. Where to have the wedding? How elaborate? How many guests?

We started with location. Since same-sex marriage is not legal in Maine (yet—we are ever hopeful) we decided to get married in Massachusetts. We tossed around ideas such as Canada, Spain—even Iowa—but really, I don’t do cornfields well.

Massachusetts made sense: it is familiar and almost local so it wouldn’t be an onerous trip for friends and family.

Luke liked the idea of Provincetown, the gay mecca at the very tip of Cape Cod. While I love P-town, I wondered if it might be a little too “in your face” for some of our guests, especially his parents. But that was precisely why he wanted to force the issue. “I’ve been out for twelve years,” he said. “They need to realize this is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ or phase I am going through.”

I shrugged. Whatever. If he wanted to have a family showdown at his wedding, I wasn’t going to argue. I just hope they take the fisticuffs outside at the reception.

The next obstacle was finding a venue.

We discovered that planning a wedding on a six-month timeline is, at least in the eyes of event managers, akin to planning the invasion of Normandy in three days—in other words, were we nuts? I had a few memorable phone conversations, such as this one with the wedding coordinator at “The Dirty Gull” (name changed to protect the guilty!).

Wedding coordinator, in a faux British accent: “You are scheduling your event for October seventeenth, I assume that would be next year? Eighteen months from now?”

“No,” says I, “October of this year…in the fall.”

“Surely you jest,” says WC. “Don’t you realize that The Dirty Gull is booked at least two years in advance for all events of significance?”

“If I realized that, I wouldn’t be calling now, would I?”

WC sniffed. “Next time, sir, plan better. Propose sooner.”

“I am not planning on proposing again. This is one of those ‘for now and forever’ type deals.”

“Hmmphf,” he said. “I’ve heard that old saw before.”

I hung up on him.

“The Bitter End” seemed promising: they had availability on our selected date and they could accommodate our proposed number of guests. I felt my pulse speed up.

“What’s the process for making a reservation?” I asked.

“Easy,” said the bubbly, chirpy young woman on the other end of the line. “First, we confirm the date.” She whispered to herself as she did this and I could picture her writing the information in big loopy handwriting in a spiral bound notebook. I wondered if she used a purple pen and dotted her i’s with hearts. “Now, do you want a three-course or a five-course meal?”

“Actually, we want passed hors d’oeuvres and champagne.”

“Sorry, no can do!” she said brightly. “Luncheon or dinner only, three or five courses.”

I paused. “Well, let me discuss that with my fiancé. He might be open to the idea of a meal.”

“While we are on the topic of what you can and can’t do, let me outline the rest of our policies: you will use our chef, our baker, our florist, our tables, our chairs, our linens, our silverware, have our bartenders serve only our top-shelf liquor and the event must not go longer than four hours, otherwise we begin charging by the minute. No exceptions. We have a list of approved DJs that you can choose from who will ensure that the music is not played louder than one hundred decibels so that the neighbors aren’t disturbed.”

Quite a list, I thought. “Is that it?”

“Will you be having out-of-town guests?”

“Yes, of course. None of us live in Provincetown.”

“Well then, we require your guests to stay at The Bitter End.”

I looked at the phone like she was a lunatic. “How can you possibly enforce that?” I asked.

“We have our ways,” she said mysteriously.

I hung up on her, too.

I was beginning to despair of finding anything on the Cape and was starting to toy with the idea of Boston, when I made one last desperate call to The Blue Door — desperate, because I think it’s the nicest place in P-town and I never imagined that it would be available at this late date. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained as my mother always says so I called them up.

First, the date. “You’re in luck!” said the manager. “We were booked on the seventeenth but just had a cancellation. I can pencil you in.” Wow. Next question: fifty to seventy people? Oh, yes, we have the perfect size space for that number. Hors d’oeuvres? Absolutely. Bring our own cake? Of course! Our own florist? You even have to ask? Certainly!

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. There had to be a hitch. Can we get married there? Bien sûr! Dancing? Champagne? Let the party go on into the wee hours of the morning if we want? Yes, yes, yes!

She laughed at my litany of questions. “You sound like you’ve had some bad experiences. The Blue Door tries to bend over backwards to accommodate our guests and make your special day be more than special…we want it to be sublime. All we ask is for a fifty percent deposit and final payment in full two weeks before the event.”

“Okay…this sounds really good. I need to confirm with my fiancé but I can get back to you before the end of the day. One last thing…you do realize we’re gay, right? That’s not an issue?”

“GAY!” she shrieked. “GAY!” So this was the hitch—until she laughed. “Honey, this is P-town. I would have been surprised if you weren’t gay.”

All right, she had a sense of humor. I could work with this woman.

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