After a solid week of fighting the flu, I awoke in my Grandparent’s den at 7am on Saturday. In less than nine hours, I was to officiate my very first wedding in front of 100 people.
As soon as I got up from the couch, I took a photo of myself to document this joyous occasion.
I had to get better, fast.
I had slept for about 18 minutes the night before. For one, I was terrified of what sort of fools I would make the bride and groom to be; as well as what I could do to further throw myself down the ladder of respect within my family.
It was about 80 degrees in the den, so my sleep was ravaged with sweaty nightmares and subconscious ramblings. I kept thinking I didn’t have the ceremony written down or I had to add something very important at the last minute. For a second, I actually thought that God was making me sick on purpose because He didn’t want me to pretend to be religious. He knew I didn’t practice an organized religion or go to church, so perhaps a few stray viruses my way would set me straight.
Fortunately for the happy couple (and unfortunately for my mortal soul), I fought through that crap.
The setting was the backyard of the happy couple, and it was quite beautiful. My mom had taken her duties as Wedding Planner to the next level, creating a fantastic landscape and comfortable area for said wedding. There was even a deluxe Port-A-Potty. Very posh.
Too bad it was 800 degrees out. It was three hours before showtime and we were plowing through sunscreen and Deep Woods Off! like it was going out of style.
As the wedding party scrambled around, setting things up before the guests arrived, I poured over my script for the millionth time, making sure it was exactly the way I wanted it.
I’ve done public speaking before, and I’m decent enough at it when I have to be. It’s not like I prefer it or anything; it’s just that people naturally assume that I’d be comfortable addressing a room full of people for some reason. This probably has something to do with me essentially doing it every day on this page. However, real life doesn’t have a Backspace button. So, if I were to get up on the podium and start swearing or wet my pants, that would pretty much be the end of it.
In the end, I just have to trust my material. I don’t like to ad-lib very much and go off-course; I like to know exactly what I’m going to say and how I’m a-gunna say it. Makes me feel safe.
I didn’t feel safe today.
Before I knew it, guests were taking their seats and the Missus was straightening my tie. I honestly remember my own wedding as less stressful; it probably had something to do with the heat. My wrists were sweating through my shirt, which cannot possibly be a normal and healthy thing.
At the start, I was standing up there alone in front of everyone. I could feel them judging me with their eyes. “Why are you up there? You’re a fraud. A fraud.”
I thought I was going to throw up, so I stepped down just as the music started playing. The wedding party emerged, laughing and happy as can be. I saw how genuinely excited and laid back they were about this, and I couldn’t help but share their sentiments. After all, hiring me was their idea; they wanted me there for one reason or another, so I just had to do what I did best.
“So, do you want to get married?” I asked them as they reached the podium.
15 minutes later, it was over. Everyone was applauding and crying, and the bride and groom were embracing each other as husband and wife. It was something I never expected to be a part of, and probably will never forget. From what everyone told me, things sounded perfect and everyone did a fantastic job. I took their word for it, because I couldn’t think properly.
The Best Man looked at me and said, “Can we get trashed now?”
Things got a little blurry, so here are nine things of interest that happened at the reception:
1. At least 4 kegs were drained. My family comes from a long line of drinkers, and they didn’t fail to impress. I drank a wine cooler, as I am a stunning pansy sometimes.
2. At some point in the evening, the bride and groom hopped into the flatbed of a truck and sped to the nearest bar for a shot. They didn’t return for at least 45 minutes. We contemplated stealing their television.
3. My mom tells me that the truck that drove them to said bar had a DVD player in it that was airing a porno flick.
4. While the bride and groom were gone, someone stole money from the many cards they received. The suspicion was that a drug-addicted friend of the family made off with the loot. Yup.
5. I got a taste of what it was like to be a Holy man, in that nobody wants to party with you. A lot of the people there didn’t know me, and assumed that this was what I did for a living. Therefore, everyone sidestepped around me, hid their beer and didn’t swear. This got very annoying after a while, but I embraced the unexpected respect.
6. Sometime during the night, a fight broke out. Death threats were made, hearts were broken and punches were almost thrown. I was sound asleep by this point in time.
7. As I was sitting at a table with my wife and mom, my mom noticed a kid playing by one of the rock gardens. She said, “I think that kid crapped his pants.”
Sure enough, the small boy was walking around, apparently straining to hold his pantal contents in his jeans. After watching him struggle for a few minutes, we stared in horror as he deposited said contents onto said rock garden. He walked away, certain that nobody just saw him set a pile of feces onto a decorative piece of landscaping.
After a few minutes, people started to take notice. A semi-circle formed around the rock garden, and people were trying to figure out what it was. Photos were taken. Eventually, the truth came out and people scattered, gagging and spitting out whatever happened to be in their mouths at the time. The boy was reunited with his mother, who changed his pants and took him home.
8. After the party, a storm blew through that uprooted the tents and destroyed the CD player.
9. The bride’s cat was wearing a bowtie.
None of that last stuff was really my fault, so I still think that the wedding was a complete success. Anything that goes wrong at a reception is blamed on alcohol and instantly forgotten the next day.
It should also be noted that as far as weddings go, I’ve been an usher, a groomsman, a best man, a groom AND a officiant. This is what’s known in the wedding business as ‘Batting the Cycle.’
Will I do it again? I don’t know. All I know is that I couldn’t be happier for my uncle and new aunt, and I wish them nothing but the best from here on out. I’ll see you at Christmas.
Sound off in the comments section to ask me any questions I might have missed.