Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wedding Horror Story: What's a Wedding Without a Union Protest?

It seem that everyone has their Wedding horror story. Rain. Cakes falling over. Pastors not showing up. Or worse. Well here is mine:

The Monday before our Wedding I get a call from the Hilton San Diego Resort on Mission Bay -- The Local 30, Unite Here Service Workers Union is staging a protest on the Beach and Boardwalk the day of my Wedding to protest the Hilton not signing a contract with them. In fact, they may have targeted that day because they like to disrupt weddings because it puts the maximum hurt on the hotel. They were planning for upwards of 30 protestors with mega-phones, drums, and other noise-makers.

Complete hysteria and rage pretty much summed up my feelings at the time. I could not believe that the Union would use my wedding as pawn in their labor dispute. AND more over they were likely targeting me after finding my website/blog.

The protest threatened to totally disrupt my Wedding Ceremony, Cocktail hour, our pictures, and the enjoyment of our guests at the hotel. But was I was most worried about was our beautiful Ceremony planned at the “Garden on the Bay” right on the Mission Bay Beach and Boardwalk (where the protestors planned to be).

This is a picture of another wedding at the Hilton San Diego Resort's beautiful “Garden on the Bay"... Our ceremony site that never was:

What makes matters worse is that my Hilton Banquet Coordinator was rather unsympathetic and inattentive about the whole thing. He acted like it was NOT a big deal – like we can just move all of it in doors. Our answer? “NO freaking way! We didn’t pay for a beachside venue to not be on the dang beach.”

My parents got a meeting with the Hilton General Manager who was nice and came up with some more viable contingency scenarios – moving the site back a bit, having extra speakers, etc.
This is the site we ended up with:

My Dad also put in calls to some of his Democratic political friends to put some heat on the Union. And he ended up talking to the head of the union who was kind enough (and politically savvy enough) to leave the wedding alone. Thank goodness! They did protest on the property all day long away from our Wedding site and as a result many of guests got money off of their rooms.

In the end the only drawback was having to move our Ceremony site back to a less-attractive, more sunny site (and I think the pictures would have been a lot prettier at the other site). The Hilton rented us another Arbor as some compensation – but in my opinion our Ceremony site was not worth the money we paid for it. However, the emotional trauma was far reaching...

I can honestly say the week before the wedding was one of the most stressful and unhappy weeks of my life. I can only liken it to the week before my Grandma died or the week after my uncle had a heart attack/stroke. My Mom was physically ill. I had a resting heart rate of over 100 bpm. Every time I thought of all my hard work and beautiful plans being ruined my protestors, I just felt incredibly sad. All that time and money wasted. Stressing about the protestors is one of the reason I didn’t get ready earlier or get any pictures with my Bridesmaids on the Boardwalk.

This is what some of the many protestors looked like on the day of (this is 100 yards away from our Wedding site):

It definitely could have been worse. Does anyone else have any real-life wedding horror stories?

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