June 22nd, 2006: Nigh Perfect and I attend the wedding of the century. It is so named because I come very close to performing the marriage ceremony. It is to my eternal chagrin that my services were refused at the last moment. But I vow to you, Chums, I will rectify that mistake one of these days.
This week, I thought we would discuss the thorny issue of wedding etiquette. As you may know, I live in the South these days and am often exposed to such social problems as "What cheapo and/or inappropriate gift can I get away with?" or "How can I nip out of the wedding for a few moments to watch the World Cup?" or even "How much free booze can I possibly get away with drinking but still remain lucid enough to dance with all the bridesmaids?"
Well, the answers to these and many other questions are soon to be revealed in a little spot I like to call...
This week, we are going to examine one wedding in particular: that of the Lovely Sage, one of Nigh Perfect's best pals from college. As you may recall from last week, Lovely Sage and I have a checkered history of mutual antagonism followed by bouts of leaning drunkenly and lovingly on each other's shoulders, crying happily and apologizing. I expected her wedding to be no different.
Before the actual wedding, of course... the wedding rehearsal! Being the selfless human being I am, I flew back from a business trip to Vancouver a day early so that I could be at the free dinner that followed. Life is a series of checks and balances, and if I am going to have to stand around watching people pretending to say their eternal vows of love then I expect to be repaid with food.
When I arrived at the site, Lovely Sage had that certain special wedding glow about her--the kind of look that says, "I am a very angry bitch and if anyone--and I'm especially talking about British comic book writers here--makes the slightest attempt to be funny while I am having a bridal freakout, I am going to wear their spleen tomorrow for the 'Something Borrowed' portion of my wedding outfit."
There was a good reason for all of this angst: Apparently, the minister had not showed up for the rehearsal. Now I have it on good authority that this man of the cloth--this spiritual guide to a life of matrimonial harmony--was some dude Lovely Sage's future husband, Ed, had found on a website. Way to go Ed! Already, he was displaying the tact and foresight of a man who had been married for twenty-five years!
I decided I would lurk in the background and try to bite my tongue because Lord knows, if I gave even the slightest show of brotherly support for Ed's wise financial decision I was going to be minus one spleen and relegated to the back seats when the action took place. I had paid good money for the second row, bride's side (orchestra section) and no one was going to take that opportunity away from me.
But lo and behold, my luck quickly changed as it was soon discovered that Reverend Online hadn't bothered to show for the rehearsal. And who should they ask to stand in but me? That's right: the Minister of Mirth was in the house! I dutifully stood at the front of the stage and tried to imagine what the Pope would do in such a circumstance: would he deliver a rambling benediction, or perhaps just smile beatifically and make little waving motions towards the bride and groom? I settled for a big, goofy grin and begin my sermon with, "You may be wondering why I asked you all here today."
Lovely Sage glared at me. I shut up. Future Husband Ed laughed. Lovely Sage glared at him. I glared at him. Lovely Sage laughed.
The rehearsal now began to take shape as we discovered that the event planner had inadvertently booked it at the same time as some other poor girl's actual wedding reception. As you can imagine, our group had already spilled in from one side, ready to commandeer the stage for the practice session, while the bride's guests began to spill in from the other side. Suddenly, a hush fell over the tented area. The two groups looked at each other and blinked. It was like Food Fight at the OK Corral... who was going to make the first move?
Well, that idiot would be me, moving the bride's chairs out of the way so that we could do our fake wedding procession around something resembling a wedding cake. It was a wedding cake. I snagged some of the frosting with a spoon. Lovely Sage glared at the blonde bitch with the bouquet and narrowed her eyes. The bride's nostrils flared. Future Husband Ed, the groomsmen and I sat down hoping for a catfight... but alas, we had to settle for a couple of scowls and an agreement that our group would finish up quickly.
What followed next was the most genius wedding rehearsal of all time: How to Get Married in Thirty Seconds or Less.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen were all lined up at the far end of the tented area and as the music started, they ran down and linked up like they had been shot out of a cannon! All the while, the Lovely Sage fussed and moaned at the far end for everyone to hurry up. Once the party was assembled, she dragged her poor dad, George (who had paid thirty grand for the privilege) down the aisle and kind of plonked him to one side before he could catch his breath. From there, it went like this:
"Who giveth this woman in holy matrimony?"
"Uh, George... you're supposed to say, 'Her mother and I'"
"Okay. Try not to fuck it up tomorrow. Lovely Sage... do you-?"
"Of course I do! Why the hell would I be here otherwise? Get on with it."
"Ed... what about you?"
Ed looked scared... like a deer in headlights pumped full of Mescalin and exposed to five hours of Jane Fonda Workout tapes. Lovely Sage elbowed him in the ribs.
"Yeah. I guess."
"Okay, then... Man and Wife!"
We buggered off to the reception dinner, which included plantains, Latin Crab Cakes, and lots of strange, free Cuban drinks that no one an remember the name of because everyone got so hammered.
Well, it was hard to imagine the actual wedding could top that but indeed it did. I think there are a number of contributing factors to this:
- Lovely Sage downed half a pint of vodka and nine Valiums. Her skin glowed like that of a Chernobyl janitor.
- Future Husband Ed made the wise decision to include his father as Best Man. Every time he was about to screw up, therefore, his dad would nudge him and say, "Don't do that... your mother never forgave me for it."
- I was not the Minister (but I came close).
Yes, folks... with nine minutes to go there was still no sign of Reverend Online. I was sent throughout the restaurant complex to track him down but since no one had given me a picture all I had to go on was the description, "He's bald."
Ed was beginning to wilt under the pressure, his dad began to tell him that the exact same thing had happened at his wedding, for which he was never forgiven, and poor old George began to riffle through his check stubs. We sent Reverend Online an email and within two minutes he showed, looking relaxed and ready for action.
Hereafter follows a photo-log of the blessed event, with a few explanations of what was really going on behind the scenes:
And there you have it, Chums... this is how we act at society weddings here in the South. The Lovely Sage and Blushing Groom Ed are somewhere in Aruba turning in their sleep and wondering who the hell just walked over their graves. Reverend Online has returned to cyberspace to promote his new blog, Stuff about Jesus, and somewhere in Atlanta, poor old George is still arguing with a caterer.