Sooooooo, your favorite curmudgeon drove allllll the way (2.5 hours) to the Kansas City suburbs this weekend to attend just my third wedding since separating from my ex-wife and the second since my formal divorce.
I will say that the cynicism and anger that was ever-present in my spiteful behavior at the first one (which happened to be my own brother's, sadly) mellowed nicely by the second one and this weekend, frankly, I found the whole thing really beautiful and refreshing. To answer the burning question - no - I did NOT cry - despite allergies making me itch my eye during the candle lighting (as I angrily barked at the person next to me that offered me a facial tissue . . . no sane person cries at the mere sight of open flame).
Here is how I feel (this hour about weddings and love and marriage) . . . I think marriage is an amazing CONCEPT. The idea of two people loving each other so much they want to spend the rest of their lives together almost in SPITE of the reality that marriage, much like our banking system, is something hard to root for. It is worth reminding oneself, however, that like the Federal Reserve itself marriage is made up of PEOPLE and PEOPLE are individuals and they are capable of raising above the average and shaming the expected and they can and will succeed and do great things if they endeavor upon them for the right reasons.
So if a couple wants to get married and they want me to join them for those symbolic hours . . . I'm there. Just drop me an invitation, promise me there will be iced tea available, don't make me laugh at too many personal/inside jokes, and please, please, please feature at least three group dances to get the parquet full of middle aged, high plains living, upper lip biting, white folks (and am apparently super, super hot Aunt (of the groom) referred to as "California" by the groomsmen/ushers).
This wedding had all the indicators that success should follow. Two great, close, generally happy families with parents that are still married to their first spouses, siblings who are also married (some on their second lap around the track), enough tension in each family (like the physics that make bubbles float, shimmer, and pop) to keep it interesting, a shared vision for the future (save some dissension over the "need" for the groom to have a motorcycle) and a boatload of people who traveled from near and far to wish them well. And those people all got along and truly knew each other and enjoyed each other (I joked the wedding reception was like the show LOST where every "character" either knew or had crossed paths with everyone else at least one or two times in their life).
The day had a few interesting twists and turns for me . . .
- I met dozens of people in a 24-hour span (which the networker and people watcher in me enjoyed thoroughly)
- I listened to a very dramatic, four-part take on Ben Fold's "The Luckiest" (the first dance at my own wedding)
- The world's most annoying/least endearing song (no offense, Nickleback) was played to gleeful screams and karaoke merriment way, way too early in the night
- I got to sit directly UNDER the DJs speakers. And he was not even a good DJ.
- I attempted to impress the kids at the party with a champagne glass tower that crashed down upon the first few drops of water being poured
- I slow danced (which - with my two left feet and abhorrence of dancing in general would be better-described as "swaying to the music") to Garth Brook's "Low Places" (note - this link is to a poor cover of the great original)
- I ate a thing called "cheesy corn" that looks as gross as it sounds but tastes soooooo much better than you might ever imagine it could
- I popped a small, flower-shaped thing I THOUGHT was going to be a low-sugar short bready/biscuit-y cookie thingy but was, instead, a super moist, super sweet mint thingy in to my fat mouth. I then freaked out and had to delicately spit out in a garbage can while the bride's mother (who provided them) was mere feet away
- I sat at the rehearsal dinner with a bunch of 20-somethings . . . one of which had (allegedly) NEVER heard the song "Poison" before. Hashtag: The Day I Felt Officially Old
- I was at a party with a guy named Merlin, a woman named Merna, and a couple with the last name of Nirschl (if "Meeting People with the Greatest Names in the History of the World" were like B-I-N-G-O . . . my card would be covered with stamps right now)
- I saw a BAD-ASSED best man's toast. Wanna see it, too? Yes. You. Do. (Fret not, the camera shifts a few seconds in for better viewing):
So what is the point of all this? Life is full of great opportunities if you just open your mind, open your heart, full up the gas tank and have some FUN!
Congrats to the happy couple. May the laughter, joy, smiles, (happy) tears, and love carry you two through all the days of your lives and (as the father of the bride so wisely requested in his prayer before dinner) may it also help those of us who have and will help you along the way, too.