Weddings, I’ve discovered over the years, are as varied as anything—wildflowers, thumbprints, coffee stains. In my life, I’ve been to many, many weddings, including:
- An actual shotgun wedding in which the bride’s father really had a rifle nearby
- A last-minute wedding of two friends whose parents had discerned were about to elope
- A wedding for a friend who had very recently converted to Jehovah’s Witness—still my personal record holder for longest sermon ever
- A Minnesota wedding in which a few of the guests showed up in sweatpants
- A wedding in which my siblings and I got so rip-roaring drunk the maitre’d asked if he could cut us off
- A lesbian wedding held at the infamous Salahi’s Oasis vineyard in Virginia—yes, those Salahis
Then of course there’s my wedding, and we all know what happened there. In case we don’t know, it was a splendid, oppressively hot day and in the middle of the reception, I blew out my left ACL. Apparently, this is a common event, so don’t mock me too badly.
We received word that our friends were going to get married this summer and immediately, reflexively, my mind ran through all of my prior nuptials experiences, culminating, unsurprisingly, with the Why I No Longer Dance to Billie Jean moment. I was ready to move on, as I’m sure everyone else who knows me is, too.
These good friends fall solidly in the “hippie” category of person. What kind of wedding would we see?
We heard from the bride-to-be, who is, among other things, an interpretive dancer, that there would be interpretive dancing. I remarked that their wedding may be the gayest ever we’d seen, even gayer than the gay ones. But the dancing turned out to be lovely. Choreographed by the bride, it highlighted what we were about to experience from the ceremony itself, which also had an original song written by the bride’s father, burning sage and a pagan-lite blessing, a communal turning to the four corners, and a linked touching thing or other, in which we all put a hand on the person next to us, all the way to and including the couple. This would have been a sweeter activity were it not for the 97-degree daylight beating down on us and making the majority of our skin sweaty and damp. The bride and groom accepted our love and support even if it came with some measure of perspiration. We were touched by the sentiment, nonetheless.
The ceremony took only about 40 minutes, meaning that it failed to beat the time of the longest ceremony I’ve experienced, which went for more than 2 hours. People would have died of heat stroke if we’d had to sit out there that long. We made our way to a cocktail hour, sipped at some cool beer, and then seated ourselves for dinner, which was a tasty barbeque buffet. This meant that Susanne ate three pulled pork sandwiches in two days. Suffice it to say she won’t go anywhere near a pig product for a while.
One guest ran up to us, half-drunk, asking if we could locate any empty tin cans so she could attach them to the couple’s car. I looked over and saw that there were already six balloons taped to the windows. I smiled and made a note not to let intoxicated people decorate my car.
After the sun set it wasn’t long until Susanne noticed a bright light at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. How obnoxious, she exclaimed. Then we realized it was the moonrise. Score 2,000 points for this wedding, the first I’ve attended with its own moonfreakingrise. Our friends stood outside, watching it and feeling whatever overwhelming emotion they must have noticed at that moment.
Their friends who are in a zydeco band struck up a set and people danced and drank, danced and drank, until the guests, en masse, were snockered. There came a point at which my own level of sobriety became incompatible with theirs—I could see that they were having fun, but we were on different planes of existence. We hugged our friends and wished them well. They were getting ready to settle in for a few days at a resort in Mexico. We were headed back to our B&B and a nice bath with water jets. Same difference, I’m sure.