At 45 years old I am longer trapped in the vortex. The vortex is a term I came up with for those times in life when you are constantly trapped by obligation to attend social functions. For me the vortex hit about 15-20 years ago. It was the time when my friends started to get married. It seemed like every weekend I had a wedding or a bachelors party to attend. Some of these events I looked forward to and others I dreaded. Yes I was caught in the vortex, and it seemed as though there was no escape. Every time I thought I was free, somebody would get engaged and it would suck me back in.
I recall engagements being announced, and being amazed that within 5 minutes every woman in my circle of friends could magically produce enormous bridal magazines or wedding planner books. Thus began that crucible that every married man has endured….. wedding planning, and the fiance from hell.
Apparently every woman dreams of a perfect wedding, and like a rabid Grizzly bear she will destroy anybody or anything that poses a threat to achieving her dream day. Every detail of that day is planned in agonizing detail. This is done much to the chagrin of the monkey in a tuxedo at the altar. Who he is, and why he is there is no longer important to her. He is merely a conduit that allows her to try on about 300 white dresses, and sample 52 pounds of hors d’ oeuvres, and cupcakes. The irony of all this planning is that the day never goes according to plan. As a matter of fact, the less things go according to plans the more memorable the wedding day becomes. Brides to-be plan extravagant yet boring weddings, fortunately nature introduces chaos and creates memories. The best wedding I have ever attended was the one that I missed. Please let me explain.
For many years one of my good friends swore that he would most likely never get married. He held to that position until he took a trip to Mexico with his girlfriend. At some point during the trip he asked her to marry him…….immediately! She agreed and was challenged to find an officiant to marry them. After a quick search she was able to find a Mayan shaman, or hotel plumber (his credentials were never fully explained) and they were married later that day. No friends, no family, no drama, just the two of them.
Upon their return home, they needed to get married again in this country to make everything legal. Simplicity would be the order of the day, so they decided to wed at his mothers hill top home, and they decided that there would be no bridesmaids or groomsmen. The only member of the wedding party was their beloved dog Mr. Whitey who served as ring bearer /best man/ maid of honor. They asked me to wear my formal kilt outfit so I arrived early, and went into a guest room to change. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a large picture of a scantily clad woman. I turned to get a better look only to realize it was a boudoir photograph of my friends mother. She looked great, but for me it was weird, really, really weird. Try as I may I still can’t unthink that moment.
The time for the ceremony arrived. the bride and groom looked great in formal attire. The groom wore a formal scottish kilt and jacket, while the bride chose a beautiful homemade dress. The dress was made with straps that were designed by the same guys who made the exploding bolts for the hatches on early space capsules. Any mild breeze was all it took, and that dress was already 10% towards being off. The groom did not complain, come to think of it nobody really complained. I would not have remembered any of this were it not for the actions of the best man at the ceremony. The best man decided to show up naked cause the chicks always dug him when he did. A mutual friend served as minister for the event. He had been recently ordained after an intensive training program, and a $5 payment to a prestigious online institute of theology. Everything was going according to plan, and everything was boring. That’s when the magic moment happened. The minister opened his bible to begin the ceremony. As he started to speak, the best man strode into the grass directly behind him and unloaded a 2 pound Cleveland steamer to the horror of some guests, and delight of others. To his credit the minister just rolled with the punches, and kept the ceremony going. That was the moment that made the ceremony different, that was the moment that made everything else memorable. We still laugh about it and remember it fondly to this day. I’ve been to many weddings, but I rarely remember the ceremony at the altar. I always remember the mistakes, the unexpected, and the unexpected hiccups. Those moments of mayhem are what make the wedding ceremony truly symbolic for life. The point I am trying to make is that we are not perfect and life is not perfect. If it was, life would be boring, so go out and live life without fear of mistakes, and try to be as imperfect as possible.