What Not to Do Before a Wedding

You know that scene in wedding movies where the characters aren’t going to make the ceremony?

So there we were.  In our Sunday best.

The sun relentlessly baked the pavement outside Hotel Sao Sebastiao de Boliqueime.

(“We” = my happenstance wedding buddies — Andrea, friend of the bride; Flo, groom’s family friend.)

people at beach

Beach bonding… team Hotel Boliqueime!

Our nearly-wedded friends had chosen to say their vows at a romantically off-grid spot in the Portugese countryside.   The remote location had guests spread across several B&Bs nestled among hillside olive orchards.

Upon securing accommodation at a hotel in the nearby village — a maze of narrow cobblestone lanes — I remember thinking, “The hotel is only 2.5km from the wedding venue.   That’s less than two miles — assuming  we don’t  catch a ride with other attendees, it’s walkable.”

Fast forward three weeks and five thousand degrees.

fire in a bowl hot

“Oh yeah. This is, like, the perfect weather  to walk uphill to a wedding.”

Turns out no one else was rooming more than 1 km from the venue.   Happily, given the soaring temps, a bridesmaid’s husband offered to run down and pick us up before the ceremony.   Sorted!

Or”¦ not.

One: the pick-up itself had been arranged in a very go-with-the-flow, yeah-that-would-probably-be-great, too-many-chefs-in-the-kitchen kind of way.

Two: the time and exact  place  of the pick-up hadn’t been clearly confirmed among all four individuals involved.

Three: the wifi at the driver’s hotel was mostly non-functioning.

Four: fear of international rates caused the majority of wedding attendees to function without cell phones.

Five: the front desk clerk, we discovered after 10 minutes of waiting, actually interacted with our driver and basically told him  we had gotten another ride.  We’d later learn the confused driver headed  back up the hill and cracked into cocktail hour.

Six: upon ringing the local taxi service I’d used days before, we discovered he was doing an airport pickup 150km away.

Seven: the two other taxi services they refer people to were booked solid for the entire (Saturday) night.

Eight: the groom’s brother, who had the only functioning cell phone we knew of, was engaged with groomsman duties as the ceremony drew near and was not answering his phone.

stress scared fear worry

This can’t. be. happening!!!

It was too late to walk now, heat or not.  No way would we make it in time for the vows.

As we tried plans B, C, D, and E, the rest of the wedding guests sipped their way into the second half  of the drinks  hour.   The wedding planner ran around the ceremony area completing finishing touches.   The hotel clerk, acknowledging his role in our mini-catastrophe, racked his brain for ideas.

thinking please wait


Enter”¦ the hotel owner!   The clerk rang back to the  private office and explained the whole problem — from his oopsie to the wifi/cell-phone issues to the solidly booked taxis.  Suddenly, a very busy man appeared to save the day!

And that, my friends, is how I ended up being chauffeured to the Quinta da Cebola Vermelha in a 2015 luxury car.  â™£

Up next: the craziest coincidence I’ve ever heard of and the hardest lesson I’ve ever taught.


  • October 7, 2015 at 6:35 am

    But, at least you had a toothbrush 🙂

  • October 5, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Well written and supremely entertaining, as always. Dying to know what this crazy coincidence was too…

  • October 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    What kind of luxury car???? What a HOOT!!!

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