Spent today's late morning/afternoon in this nice wedding chapel tucked away just between I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road in a surprisingly forested area that you would never in a million years stumble across by accident. My friends Mark and Kristen were getting married, and I was playing the role of "Groomsman on the End." (I've now played the roles of Groom, Usher, Best Man, Groomsman on the End, and Shoeless Groomsman) I got off work for the occasion. I missed the rehearsal (due to rehearsal) so I didn't really know anything about the day's schedule before I got there (half an hour late), but that was okay because I've been in similar situations before. The last wedding I was in, I was flying into *grumble grumble* Detroit during the rehearsal, and the first wedding I was in there was no rehearsal, so I'm pretty comfortable learning things on the fly.
The biggest difference between this time and the previous times, however, is that in all previous experience where I walked in fairly clueless, somebody clued me in. I got surprisingly little information this time around, partially because I didn't know anybody else in the wedding party (except, obviously, the bride and groom) and partially because the entire wedding/reception were being run and organized by the staff at the chapel. Now don't worry, everything in the service itself went pretty smoothly. I found my spot, stood there, and turned when I was supposed to. Weddings aren't difficult, blocking-wise. After the service, though, I was pretty much on my own.
Was I supposed to sit with the rest of the wedding party? Did they want the whole wedding party to enter the reception together? Was I supposed to help clean up? Were we going to trash the getaway car? Why did they move all our personal belongings out of the groomsmen's room?
I didn't know the answers to any of these questions, and nobody thought to tell me, if anybody knew. So I pretty much winged it once the wedding pictures were all snapped. Which was fine, especially since some friends from work had claimed a table for themselves by the window that had a great shot of the fountain and the lizards that were playing just outside.
The site was just gorgeous. Really, everything about the wedding was pretty. Good colors, pretty dresses, most comfortable tuxedo I've ever worn, bride was beautiful (J. Vernon McGee once said that he believed God allows every woman to be beautiful for her wedding day. I think he may be right), ring bearers were adorable, lunch was picturesque and tasty. The flower girl realized that she still had some petals in her basket by the time she'd made it to the front of the stage, so she stopped and tried to throw the remaining petals back down the aisle onto a spot she noticed she'd missed until she was completely out. Groom cried. I'm always down with that. I got a little teary-eyed, too, cause you know, that's how I do.
After Duder and the Bergstroms left, the dance floor opened up to a song that was specially requested by the bride for everybody to learn a dance to. At first, I wasn't going to participate, but then I saw that Mark was the only guy on the floor save for the bride's father, so I jumped in to lend him a hand. It was a very simple, repetitive dance that was pretty fun. The first few times through. But the song was way too long for the dance, and I started to wish I'd jumped in on the end instead of in the middle, because there was no way to slip out until the song was over. It was fun, though. After that, they played a bunch of faster songs, and all the kids took the floor with their parents and grandparents and burned off as much of the wedding cake sugar high as they could. By the time ABBA's Dancing Queen hit the speakers, most of the guests were either gone or else over dancing, and the dance floor became an arena for a melee brawl featuring about five little boys under age six and the flower girl, who somehow managed to stay right in the middle of it the whole time without ever getting into the rough stuff. At one point, one of the youngest boys ran full speed right past me, raring back with a closed fist and whacking me in the leg as he ran by.
Orlando recommended I give the kid a nice clean hipcheck the next time he ran by. The kid ignored me after that, though. Next time, Cooper. Next time...
Overall, a fun (though occasionally confusing) event with a romantically picturesque setting, good friends, high-quality fish and meat, silly dancing, violent children, very little information, and an extremely Christ-centered ceremony. I'm happy for the couple and glad and honored that I got a chance to be a part of their special day. Thanks to everybody who was a part of the celebration. Hope I don't look like too much of an idiot in too many of the pictures.