Now I realize I owe you part II of our story, I couldn’t help but remember this wedding story, when I came across someone else nightmare story, and I just had to get it down before I forgot it, which is after all one of the purposes of my blog after all.
So my story is one I attended in my ‘professional’ capacity, and while I might consider it awful, I got the impression the participants considered it highly successful. Now this took place in England, in the mid-1990’s in Kent, at a very nice hotel half-way between the Channel tunnel and London, usually frequented by travelling businessman types. It involves a large group of members of the ‘travelling’ fraternity, which should not be confused with Romany gypsy, which is an honorable and ancient lineage. Travelers are usually extended family groups and do not care to conform to social norms of behavior.
Well, this nice hotel received a booking for a wedding and reception involving about 45 people under an alias name, deposit paid, everything hunky-dorey. Until the actual day of the event. The first clue the hotel got that everything was not going quite as planned was that a lot more than 45 guests were showing up, a LOT more. They were arriving by the chartered bus-full, going straight to the bar and drinking, which the hotel thought at first was ok, because that’s more revenue right?
The staff starts trying to make the management aware of how bad things are getting, by now there was over 200 drunk travelers, with little or no regard for etiquette when they were sober, management is trying to call in more staff to cater to the large groups now arriving, who all want food and drink. The first fight breaks out, the bride and groom have the honor of the first fistfight apparently, it spills out into the lobby and just mushrooms from there. The manager realizes things are just going to get more out of control, so he goes to his office to call, and finds two wedding guests loading his office safe onto a dolly. They inform him where he can go and what he can do when he gets there, and calmly wheel his safe out into the parking lot and load it into the back of one of their vehicles.
So the manager calls the police, which is where I come in, the first unit makes a quick assessment from the parking lot, they are going to need an awful lot of back-up. So I find myself sitting in a staging area, marshaling the arriving riot squads in their riot vans, the supervisor in his “Incident Control”, a fully kitted out range Rover. I recall in particular the sight of all the K9 unit vehicles in a very long line down the road, I don’t think so many had ever been assembled together before.
By the time a supervisor deems that a ‘sufficient’ force had arrived, it was obvious that the hotel was going to need a major refit, most of the soft furnishings in the common areas had been trashed in one way or another, a lot of fixtures had been destroyed or removed along with the managers safe, all the rooms the party had managed to access had been pilfered and trashed. Since the hotel had rapidly run out of alcohol, the party had started to wind down a bit, and we moved in with force, and had them load back on the coaches and by orders of the supervisor in charge, escorted the coaches out of the county.