What's a good word to describe me? Jokey? Wise-assy? Nonsenselicious?
Those are probably in the ballpark. Words not in the ballpark? Reverent. Inspirational. Sentimental.
So, when my friend, Rand, messaged me back in June and asked, "Have you ever officiated a wedding before?" I was a bit surprised.
Yep, the dude was asking me to perform his wedding. Weird. Now, let me be clear that I am a big fan of Rand. I've known him for nearly a decade and during that time our friendship has evolved from we-do-nothing-but-argue-about-stupid-shit to we-sometimes-don't-argue. If you know me at all (and since you're reading this blog, you probably live with me), you know that if I've paused my argument with you, I've either slipped into a coma, or maybe we're friends now. Definitely the latter for Rand.
But officiate his wedding? That's bizarre for about 7 reasons:
1) I know Rand pretty well, but his fiancee, Sadie, was nearly a stranger to me.
2) The tiny amount of time I had spent with Sadie, I pretty much spent making fun of her. (Note: totally justified)
3) Nobody, not my wife, my parents, my co-workers or my long-ago rabbi would describe me as reverent or ministerial.
4) The only other wedding I've been a part of happened in Vegas. It was, uh, informal.
5) I have zero wisdom to offer about love or matrimony. Full credit for my enduring marriage goes to Hank and her astonishing ability to put up with my nonsense.
6) Virtually all of my public speaking experience in the last 20 years has included bullet-point-filled Powerpoint slides and self-deprecating punchlines.
7) I'm way better at talking about me than talking about you, or love.
But being asked to officiate a wedding is like being asked to be a godparent, or hold someone's beer. It is a sacred duty that is not to shirked. I may not be all heartfelt and blissy, but I am not a shirker.
So, off we went! For the next few months, I spent time getting to know Sadie, becoming ordained (thank you Internet!), and going back and forth on a suitable wedding script that met their wedding needs while also taking care that the words wouldn't burn my mouth like holy water. (Turns out, that's a pretty narrow path.)
But we did it! A few days before the wedding, with the script intact, I met with my boss to remind him that'd I'd be out of town for a few days:
Boss: Oh, right, you're officiating a wedding.
Boss: I went to a wedding this last weekend.
Me: How did it go?
Boss: Actually... not very well. The officiant totally blew it.
This was not what I wanted to hear. Bossman told me how the officiant screwed up both the audience-handling and the audio system. These were aspects of the wedding I had not even considered. Ugh. Panic set in.
By the time the wedding rehearsal rolled around, I had a pretty long mental list of things that could go possibly wrong. What I hadn't prepared for was how very noisy the wedding venue was. Rand had warned me that the outdoor venue was susceptible to noise from nearby streets and frequent airplanes overhead. What he failed to mention were the train tracks literally 10 yards from where I'd be standing. A train screeched and honked its way to halt right next to our rehearsal and then SLAMMED into a train car, presumably to couple with it.
It was ridiculously loud. Comedically loud,. Novelty-sized loud. Wedding-ruiningly loud.
But I looked over at Sadie, the bride-to-be, and she was busting up. Having the wedding interrupted by a 30-second train whistle or crash was not wedding ruining for her, it was hilarious.
And I knew it would all be ok. Even if I messed up the ceremony, or mis-handled the audience, it was going to be ok. Nothing was going to ruin their day, not some noise or a public speaking flub by me.
And it was ok. I didn't lose the rings. I said the words I was legally obligated to say. I successfully signed and mailed the wedding certificate. I done married them. And it feels nice to be connected to their wedding in this unique way. I mean, I was already somewhat connected to their wedding since they scheduled it ON MY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, but this is pretty cool.
As an additional bonus, Hank is really digging her new role as The Minister's Wife.
Contact me if you require wedding services.