The Perils of a Country Wedding
Unexpected, fuzzy wedding crashers at a picture-perfect Piedmont ceremony
By Tony Vanderwarker
It seemed like a good idea. Stage the late afternoon wedding in the classic stone barn on the bride’s family farm. A handsome building of greenish-hued stones gathered from the property, stately and nicely nestled into the landscape, it was the perfect location for a Ralph Lauren ad.
Though it was a beautiful summer day, being August in the Piedmont, the temperature had climbed to over a hundred and the humidity you could cut with a knife. So the wedding planner had placed two six-foot-high fans at each end of the barn to keep air circulating. Virginians are used to the sweltering heat, everyone knows to wear light and loose clothing and avoid moving around too much.
The ceremony and cocktails are outside to avoid going inside until dinner. Everyone stands around chit-chatting with their cocktails, listening to the string ensemble, then watching the wedding, oohing and ahhing over the bride’s stunning dress. Despite the heat, it’s a picture-perfect event—country-swanky, nothing flashy, just quietly elegant.
And when it’s announced that the food is served, everyone moseys inside. Though the tables are beautifully decorated with fancy plates, fine silverware, and elaborate flower arrangements, as appetizing as the food looked, even with the fans, I decide the heat is unbearable. So I prevail on my wife to gather up our silverware and plates and eat outside.
While we’re chowing down, I notice something out of the corner of my eye. At first I passed it off as a floater, one of those gossamer dribs that drifts across your eye. But no, when I saw a second, I turned to look inside and noticed an object dropping from the barn ceiling. Then another and another. I see a couple plop onto the nearest table. A couple inches long, they are furry little critters.
“Oh, my God,” I say to my wife, “Look, it’s raining bats.”
“Bats!” someone screams and bedlam takes over. Pretty soon the little bodies are carpet-bombing the diners, dropping dead into wine glasses, down bodices, all over the plates of food. Screams ring out, then shrieks followed by screeching and yelping as the panicked guests stampede out the door, tossing dead bats off their shoulders and yanking them out of their hair.
Turns out there are hundreds of baby bats clinging to the ceiling and the heat is causing them to faint and plummet down onto the diners and the tables below.
Guests reassembled outside the barn, some heading for the bar to refresh their cocktails, everyone standing around jabbering about the bat attack. I noticed a couple of people still shaking bats out of their collars and cuffs.
“Can you believe it? I was about to take a fork full of my chicken tetrazzini when a bat dropped smack into it,” one of my friends said. “I tell you, it was right out of a horror movie.”
Another, “That was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had.”
“What a thing to have happen right in the middle of a wedding dinner.”
That pretty much wrapped up the event. Some people hung around the bar but most retreated to the air conditioning of their cars and hustled home to grab a bite to eat.
Needless to say, no one went back into the barn and soon the community was buzzing about the wedding ruined by the dive-bombing bats.
My wife and I drove home feeling sorry for the bride and her family but cracking up about the stories the couple will have. “Let us tell you about our wedding…”; they’ll be telling that one for years.