The last wedding of 2005. Hallelujiah. Praise be to all Saints in Heaven.
As an event, it has had a momentous build up over this year.
It did not disappoint.
In fact, it was quite the wild brouhaha.
Thirteen groomsmen, not including the four-year-old ring bearer, accompanied the groom. They secluded themselves in a dark-wood paneled conference room.
Three doors down; the bride, three bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids and a flower girl.
As one of the ambassadors between these two rooms, the bathroom and the hall where the congregation was gathering I can tell you that the South Shore Cultural Center is huge and that excitement was palpable throughout.
Everyone looked perfect. Storybook even. All fourteen of these men oozed adjectives. Debonair, dashing, sophisticated even. It was a bit of a shock really. All of them all in one place, looking their best. Not just well dressed but on best behavior too. These are all boys I've known going on five years now. Slept on their couches, shared our psychoses, neuroses and melodramas over coffee, assorted liquors and games of Risk. Currently truly, madly deeply for one of them. And here they were, as so many of my favorite boys have been this year in ceremonies all across the country, looking so handsome I had to catch my breath.
The bride, my sister Wonderwoman, was ravishing. Every bride I've seen this year has been beautiful and perfect. Wonderwoman was the happiest I've ever seen her. Radiant and blushing, she ran down the hallway just for the joy of watching her dress billow out behind her. A princess at her very own ball, surrounded by her gorgeous ladies-in-waiting.
The officiator, uncle to the groom (and a dead ringer for The Boyfriend's father) was kind and infused with a generous sense of humor. Some of the groomsmen and I were discussing the signal system set up for the ceremony. When all of the men were in place around the alter, Howard (the priest) was to signal Wonderwoman for her entrance. None of us had the heart to explain that she had asked him to flash her the devil's horn. You know, the whole index finger- pinky salute made popular by metal-heads and punk rockers around the world. Yeah, THAT was the signal. We let him continue thinking it was the Texas Longhorns team symbol. Safer that way.
The groom led his personal procession in to bagpipes. Followed by the pairs of bridesmaids and the three men standing up with the groom. Or, standing closer to the groom as the thirteen attendants stood in a semi-circle around the couple.
When the flower girl and ring bearer had found their places in the crowd at the front of the room, every thing went silent for a moment. And then the thunderous strains of Slash's solo, the opening chords of Sweet Child O' Mine, roared through the hall. The crowd was on it's feet. The groomsmen hollering, the congregation whistling and cheering as Wonderwoman and her father walked down the aisle.
Genius. Brilliant. Magnificent.
The tone of the evening was now set in place.
By the end of the night we had all partied like we were in high school again, drank the open bar out of a number of items and fell in love with love watching the bride and groom dance each other around the room.
The end of my official Year of Weddings. It went out with a bang, that's for sure.
The one main idea I have come away with from this year of travel, ceremony, caterers photographers, music and love is that a wedding is anything you want it to be. I think I have seen it all this year. Classical, religious weddings on sprawling lawns and gardens. Rock and Roll parties, bohemian ceremonies overlooking oceans. Fancy dress up prom night soirees and castles overlooking scenic, urban vistas. A wedding is anything and everything.
When I was younger, the idea of wedding thrilled and frightened me. It implied, in my mind, being the uncomfortable center of attention. Dancing stiffly to songs my parents would approve of and having to be a gracious, rushed host. Well, it ain't necessarily so folks. This year has inspired my faith and hope that whatever sort of wedding I eventually end up having, no matter where, no matter when. And no matter how many things seem to go wrong, if it's a good time to me it will be a good time to everyone. I have seen how friends and family truly do come together for celebration in a majestic sort of way. It doesn't have to be anything special, the nature of the occasion makes it so.
In a Thorton Wilder sort of way, the witnessing of a marriage has the power to restore faith, mend wounds time seems to have forgotten and bring us all together for a brief moment (geologically speaking) united under the spell cast by true love.
So, that's what I have to say about that. And, despite my earlier warning, I already have three weddings I know of to attend next year. Not a single one of them within cabbing distance of my apartment. But, after this year and all of the good times I have shared in, I cannot complain. I can only look forward to more adventures.
Next Time: A guest contributor recounts the tale of the most disastrous wedding I've ever heard of. Thankful I wasn't required to attend it. But I can't let the story go untold.