I took almost two years to plan my wedding. I wanted to do it right. There were two women who worked at the venue that I had been dealing with that whole time. I liked them. I trusted them. I was confident that, as my “wedding coordinators,” they were going to help me pull off the perfect wedding. I did not know that they had Saturdays off, and my actual wedding was going to be run by some bitch I’d never met. And I’m not using the word “bitch” as a rapper would, in place of the word “woman.” Even my nephew, who was 13 at the time, pulled me aside during the reception to tell me that she was a bitch.
We had an outdoor ceremony. I wanted it to be fun and different. There were personal touches all over the place. The first one was that I was barefoot, and my bridesmaids wore flip flops. And I don’t mean pretty little sandals with a low heel; I mean I bought five pairs of white flip flops at Old Navy, and glued a little fabric rosette to each one. This, in and of itself, was not a problem…
We ladies were all lined up and ready to walk across the lawn (maybe 50 feet) and down the aisle. Bitch-face was with us, and her colleague was over by the justice of the peace, operating the sound system. They would signal to each other, “Start the music,” “The music has started,” and then we would walk. Only it wasn’t going that way. Bitch-face went and talked to the other one. She came back. Apparently they couldn’t get the music to play (Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” if you were wondering- I know it’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason). She ran back and forth a couple times, then told us to walk.
Silly me, I took this to mean, “I’ve done my job correctly, everything is fine, and your perfect wedding starts now.” What it actually meant was, “I’m lazy and impatient. Fuck your plans. You’re walking in silence.” I didn’t even realize the music wasn’t playing… Until it did. It started playing just as I hit the beginning of the aisle. If you’re at all familiar with “Canon,” you know that it’s perfect for weddings because the way it times out (if you have an average-sized party) is that the gentle, muted strings intro plays while your party is walking, and then the crescendo hits just as the bride shows up. It’s quite an entrance.
Here, I’ll show you. Play this video. At 1:43, that’s when you see the beautiful bride in her beautiful dress and she’s glowing and it’s magical and you’re all, “Holy shit! Is that Jenn? She looks amazing! She is an angel sent to Earth to teach us all what love is!” Here are the lyrics I made up to that part:
Here comes Jenn!
She’s the bride!
Oh my god, she’s so beautiful!
There she is!
What a dress!
I can’t believe how great she looks!
She’s so rad!
She’s the bride!
And oh! he’s such a lucky man!
How she glows!
This is the most wonderful wedding ever!
[Repeat four times, fade out]
Here’s what I got: The girls all walked to the sound of flap flap flap flap flap. Then I got the muted strings. Then they abruptly turned it off when I reached the front. Assholes!
The ceremony itself was very off-script, too. I had always planned on asking my grandfather to give me away, but he had passed away. So I asked my older sister to give me away, and I carried one of Grampa’s old handkerchiefs, to dab at my tears of joy. Except… It was 90 degrees that day, with approximately 1000% humidity, so I used it to blot my sweaty forehead. I also asked my aunt for “something borrowed,” and she leant me the dainty white gloves that she wore to her own wedding. Again, it was 90 degrees. And I forgot about the whole ring thing. I ended up awkwardly removing them and passing them to my maid of honor (who wasn’t expecting them) behind my back.
So, now it’s time for our friend to come up and speak. He knew us well, so I told him to say whatever he wanted. I knew he’d get it right. He’s a really funny guy, so I assumed he’d just be giving your typical speech about how we’re great, and hahaha no more carousing for you, mister. Imagine my surprise when he steps up and says he’s come across a poem that he thinks is appropriate. He reads poems? What?
I could see our friends in the seats were equally surprised. So he reads this love poem, and it’s nice and all, but not what I expected. Then he says that this poem reminds him of me and my husband, because to us, “You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet…” Wait a minute. Does any of this sound familiar to you? It did to me, and to everyone under 30 in the audience. He worked in a quote from “Fight Club.” Yes, that “Fight Club.” The three of us had watched it together about a hundred times, so it was completely appropriate. And none of the old people got it (he stopped short of saying “You are not your fucking khakis”).
So, that was awesome. And we’re almost done. Maybe this ceremony won’t completely suck, after all. The justice of the peace is now asking my husband if he’ll take me as his wife. He pauses, and puts on his best “Hmmmm” face. He turns around and walks away. He approaches his best man and ushers, and they form a huddle. They all murmur for a moment, and then he returns and tells the justice of the peace, “I do.” I am not kidding. And I did not know that he was going to do it. The crowd cracks up. I’m still flabbergasted when she asks me the same question. I was very kind, and simply said, “I do.” We did get a great picture of me laughing my ass off right afterwards.
The final step of the ceremony should have been easy enough. My cousin, who was too old to be a flower girl, and too young to be a bridesmaid, served as our “Butterfly Girl.” She was to release 100 painted lady butterflies from a basket covered in mesh as we were pronounced husband and wife. Only, I had forgotten to transfer the butterflies from the suspended-animation icepack shipping container to the basket (and into the sun) until just before the ceremony. So they were still pretty logy when she removed the mesh. They didn’t do anything. She ended up shaking the basket pretty hard to shoo them out. Then, they all landed on the ground and stayed there, so my new husband and I had to pick our way around them as we walked down the aisle.
At least the bagpipe guy kicked ass.