Wednesday, March 03, 2010

In Perspective - Ain't Weddings a Glorious Thing

By Rodney Hays

This past weekend, I traveled to Austin to take in my brother's wedding and serve as a best man. I actually had a good time, which is strange for a wedding, and I want to share some thoughts on marriage with you, Dear Reader.

First off, let me just say that most weddings are not that fun. When I see a wedding invitation come in the mail, I usually do one thing (choose the correct answer):

A. Drop everything and make plans to attend the big event.
B. Drop everything and scream like a fifth-grade girl.
C. Drop everything and slide the invitation under the refrigerator with my foot.
D. Drop everything and move to a desolate country like Iowa.

If you answered "4," you have been reading the wrong multiple-choice question and now you must be punished by attending a wedding. Sorry. It's the rules.

Weddings and marriage are actually a biblical activity carried out by two people in front of a throng of witnesses, including many of whom barely know the bride or groom.

The word "wedding" actually comes from the Latin word "shindig" meaning "the act of sin and debauchery performed by a group loosely associated with two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together."

But let's face it, most people would never attend a wedding at all unless there was free food and alcohol - and most people could skip the food if there's enough alcohol.

I'm kidding, of course. Weddings are a great thing. They are so much fun that many U.S. Americans have several in their lifetime. But this one was definitely different than any I've experienced so far.

My brother, Russ, is younger than me. By the time he was born in 1975, I was 9 years old and pretty much an adult. The only real memories I have of him growing up are of him playing the super-hero in his Underoos, the brightly-colored underwear from the 1970s worn by children and several leaders of rock bands. He also went through a brief but exhausting Ninja phase, where he would dress in black ninja clothes and throw stars at us before quickly disappearing into thin air.

In the early 1980s my wife - who was my girlfriend at the time - and I took Russ to several Ninja movie marathons at the drive-in movie theater in Okemah, Okla. Even at 6 years old, he refused to pay for a ticket. Being the ninja he was, he just appeared in the car as the opening credits began to roll.
It was a lot fun.

When I graduated from high school, Russ was in third grade and I moved on with life and my little brother grew up without me there to give him noogies and call him names and basically be a mean older brother.

Six years ago, Russ and Lauren had their first date. I guess it worked out pretty well - in spite of the fact he never received dating advice from me. Last year, he asked Lauren to be his bride and the inevitable happened - they planned to have a wedding.

Oh no, I thought. Not another wedding. I've already been to three this millennium. But then he asked
me to be his best man and I had to put on hold my plans of moving to the lost wasteland called Des Moines.

Last week, I went down a little early to celebrate the celebration of the celebrants by preparing myself mentally and physically (translation: I had to drink massive amounts of alcohol to prepare for the big day). I'm kidding, of course. [Editor's Note: No, he's not.]

On Friday afternoon, we held the rehearsal and I soon realized this was going to be different. It started with the words of Lauren's father as he "gave her away."

Who gives this woman away to be married?

"She comes of her own accord with the full support of her mother and me," said father.

That's different. But that's Lauren. And I love it.

Then I found out that Russ and Lauren had written their own wedding vows. Again, very cool. Then the music they picked out was incredible. No traditional wedding march. It was cool jazzy music that I don't really remember right now, but at the time I thought was awesome.

The food was delicious. The adult beverages were easily accessible. The music was easy to dance to. And the setting was beautiful.

The whole atmosphere was laid back and easy. I loved it. My family had a great time. I had a great time. The bride and groom were glad when it was over. And Lauren's father? He fainted when he got the bill. But I hear he's doing well now.

Of course, now I can't wait until the next wedding. If you are getting married soon, send me an invitation. If there's enough alcohol, I'll be there.

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