Here Comes the Bride…

Typically that phrase is followed by, “Short, fat, and wide.” However, that would not be truthful since at the wedding the bride was stunning and beautiful. The day of my sister’s wedding finally arrived after months of planning, weeks of preparation, and days of emotional highs and lows. I was awakened at 7:00 AM by a loud knock on my door and the voice of Olivia, one of the bridesmaids, telling me that it was time to get up and get ready for the day. I tried to ignore her gentle prompts to get up, but after a few minutes of lying in the quiet of my room I decided that it was pointless to try to sleep and had better get out of bed. I made my way downstairs and was surprised to see that there was no one there, so I took a shower and ate breakfast, enjoying the calm of the house. It was after my shower that all hell broke loose. Bridesmaids began pouring into the house frantically searching for various things needed by the wedding party. At this point I realized that the house was calm because the bridesmaids/bride were all next door getting ready there. I tried to stay out of the way as one bridesmaid searched frantically for toothbrushes, makeup, and a curling iron. After she left the house with the fervor of a crack addict en route to a treasure trove of cocaine, another bridesmaid took her place in the house to search for the groomsmen’s ties. I ate my cereal and listened as she anxiously scurried up the stairs to search the bedrooms and then back downstairs to look in the bathroom for the ties. At this point the groom had arrived and was pulled into the wild goose chase of searching throughout the house for the ties. The stress kept building as the bridesmaid and groom ransacked the house for the missing ties. Come to find out, once the bridesmaid went back to where the wedding party was getting ready, she found that the ties had been there all along.

After sitting through an event that I will equate with being as stressful as Black Friday, I decided that I should probably get dressed and head next door to see if I could help with anything. Once I was there I saw just how busy the bridesmaids were. There were girls everywhere, doing hair and makeup like they were on an episode of America’s Next Top Model. I was surprised to see that none of the girls (bride included) were very stressed. Instead of raging around, throwing things and acting like Real Housewives of New York, they were all laughing and eating as they got ready for the big day. After waiting on the sidelines of what looked like a hair salon on steroids, I was called away to help set up the place where our family photos would be taken. My sister and her fiancé had decided that they would rather have their first looks before the wedding so that the pictures could be done before the ceremony. So my sister and her fiancé had their few minutes of privacy before the family came in to pose for photos.

The wedding photos that we took at home were quite painless and went quickly, but there was barely a moment to relax before the whole wedding party left to have their photos taken in a nearby town. I was surprised when we arrived at the location of the photos to find that we were taking them in an old fashioned mansion that I had always admired when driving by. The photographer had asked the owner if she could take wedding photos there and the trusting soul had handed her the keys and told her to use the building however she would like for the photos. For the next two and a half hours the wedding party posed and smiled, trying not to show how cold it was standing outside in sub-freezing temperatures with very thin formal clothing on.

After hours of photos the wedding party headed to the church where the ceremony would be taking place to eat some lunch before the big event at 1:00 PM. A family friend had been kind enough to make an incredible lunch for the group, so we feasted on soup, cheese, and crackers before heading up to the nursery of the church to wait until it was time to walk down the aisle. The whole morning, other than the initial stress, had gone by without a hitch or much tension. That all changed when we arrived in the nursery to wait.

Not much time was spent in the toy filled room before half of us began searching for a bathroom, having realized that drinking large amounts of water before standing on a stage for an extended period of time is not the best idea. We found bathrooms in what I guess was a church school in the basement because all of the toilets looked like they had been built with dwarves (little people?) in mind. Once I made it back from the bathroom I was greeted by a volcano of emotions. My sister (the bride) was having what can only be described as a trauma response (even though there was no trauma in her life that anyone knows of). She paced the small room and kept repeating to herself, “Does this dress make me look fat?” “Should I use the bathroom?” “What if I pass out on stage?” These few phrases were repeated over and over again as if she were a deranged person who hadn’t taken her daily dose of Valium. I kept thinking through all of the psychology movies I had seen where an insane person had to be subdued and made sure to have a plan thought out in case she started physically harming people. Thankfully she finally quieted down and sat in the only adult-sized chair in the room to wait until it was time to walk down the aisle.

The time came soon enough, and everyone made their way out of the cramped, smelly nursery. The bridesmaids all lined up in the hall and that led to the sanctuary and my soon to be brother-in-law Josh and I joined them since we would be guiding our mothers to their seats before standing up front. Before long the music began which signaled Josh and I to begin escorting our mothers to their seats. We walked down the aisle as a depressing classical song blared through the small speakers mounted on the walls. I felt like I was part of a funeral progression and thought that a happier song might have been a good idea, but it was too late at that point. I deposited my Mom in her seat and stepped up onto the stage, feeling mildly depressed from the death scene music that had just been playing.  Shortly thereafter the doors opened and the bridesmaids began making their way to the front of the church (somehow they got to walk down to a happy song). In the rehearsal the night before I had been informed that as the best man it was my job to assist the bridesmaids in successfully scaling the two small steps onto the stage. As each girl got to the stage, I offered them my hand and helped them up as if they were refugees leaping onto a helicopter to escape a war-torn country.

The ceremony was short, only lasting forty minutes, so the time to give the rings came quickly. I had practiced handing the rings to my sister and her fiancé the night before, but I do not think that I practiced enough. When it was a part of the actual ceremony, the cue for me to give the rings was said at a different point. So right when the pastor mentioned the rings I valiantly stepped up to the groom, and prepared to drop the ring into his hand. However, the pastor was still talking about the rings and the groom would not take the ring from me. So I stepped back to where I had been standing before and waited until my cue. Yet again the pastor mentioned the rings and I stepped forward, with the look of a child happily giving a homemade gift to his parent. After standing right behind Josh with the ring I realized that he still wasn’t going to take it, so once again I stepped back and waited. Finally, the pastor said the right words and Josh looked at me expectantly for the ring. I handed it to him, thrilled to be rid of the thing. After the exchange of rings and vows, my sister was officially married and the ceremony was over. The newly married couple happily marched down the aisle to a song from the movie UP (which I thought sounded like a Jewish tune from Fiddler on the Roof) and stood outside the doors to greet everyone who had come to the ceremony. After the receiving line was finished and the crowd had dispersed, we all made our way over to the reception hall.

A wedding reception is always a blast since it includes a period of time where everyone awkwardly waits for the bride and groom to arrive, and it also involves making small talk with people from your childhood who somehow remember you. Each time an older person greeted me and told me that I had grown so much, I would smile and return the greeting, hoping that they wouldn’t see the panic that I felt from not knowing who they were. After dinner ended it was time to give the best man speech. I had originally planned on writing an outline for the speech ahead of time so it would flow better, but time had gotten away from me. So I had no choice but to ad-lib the whole speech. Here is how it went (at least in my mind):

“Thank you all for coming today” (I pause, not really knowing what else to say) “Thank you to the caterer, you did a wonderful job preparing the meal. Can we all give them a hand?” (As everyone clapped I searched my mind for something to say since I was about ten seconds away from having everyone applaud the construction company who had built the reception hall) “I have known Josh since I first came to school. Though I never really wanted to be his friend since he seemed so mean.” (This was going well, I had begun talking about my brother-in-law with a story of how I had never wanted to get to know him) “But after a few weeks of being around him I decided that he wasn’t too bad and that I liked being friends with him. My Mom had been pestering me to bring friends home” (At this point I thought it wise to mimic my Mom in the voice of Sarah Palin, which got a few scattered chuckles, but mostly blank stares) “So I told him that I would love for him to come back with me for Thanksgiving. And he said that he would like that” (I tried to do a Russian accent as I spoke his part since he grew up in Ukraine, but it ended up sounding like I was just making fun of his culture) “After that he really clicked with the family, and I am so glad that he is here with us.” (I awkwardly paused after this line, hoping that profound words would hit me. They did not. So I did something that my sleep-deprived mind thought would be funny) “And now, I would like to read some words of wisdom from the book of Song of Solomon to my sister and her husband.” (As I said this I reached for my phone as if I were really planning on traumatizing the audience with suggestive verses from Song of Solomon. Everyone froze and the wedding party looked at me with horror written all over their faces. I looked out over the crowd of people and saw the German Baptists and Amish people who had come to support my sister looking on in grim silence) “Haha. I’m just kidding. I really do wish the best for them though. Ok, that’s all. The buffet line is now open for seconds. Enjoy!” (And with that I ended the awful speech and quickly made my way over to the appetizer table to load a plate with meatballs that I planned on stress eating)

After this lovely speech the reception went quickly, and before long it was over. My sister and her new husband left the reception and headed off to their honeymoon. It seemed crazy that after all the planning, the wedding was finally over. My sister was married and she had now entered the next stage in her life. I drove home after cleaning up the reception hall thinking that life would be different from here on out since another sibling had married. I also realized how sad I was about having my sister leave home to move in with her husband. I had always counted on her being there when I came back home from break, but I knew that she wouldn’t be there anymore. Change is good, but it is also quite hard. Thankfully my sister married a wonderful guy who continues to be one of my best friends, and I cannot wait to see how their life together turns out. I love both of them dearly and will enjoy getting to know them as a newly married couple.

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