Well And Truly Married

The weather cooperated, the beautiful ceremony went off without a hitch, the toasts are over, and the guests ate, drank, and danced with abandon.  By any measure, the Hill Country Nuptials were a roaring success.  

Now we wish Richard and Julianne much joy and happiness on their life together, which starts today with a honeymoon in Italy.  As for the rest of us, it’s back to the real world.

FOG Functions 

The father of the groom (or, as I like to think of myself, the FOG) doesn’t have a significant role in the ceremony, and on the wedding day doesn’t have any traditional obligations or assignments.  So, I’m trying to be useful and help out where I can — such as by loading up the car with stuff to take out to the wedding venue, fetching the high chairs for the youngest wedding guests, and ironing my shirt and the shirt of the best man.  I’ve also got the matching ties of the groomsmen ready to go.

Ironing also helps to calm the nerves as the big moment approaches.

Say Yes To The Dress?

We’ve got a wedding in the family coming up later this year.  Although the blessed event itself is still months in the future, the time for carefully analyzing and evaluating what dresses should be worn to the wedding and the rehearsal dinner apparently is . . . now!

autumn-dresses-wedding-guestI had no idea that quite so many websites featured dresses for the family members who are attending weddings.  Dresses of every imaginable length, cut, and hemline.  Dresses with jackets and without.  Dresses that feature something mysteriously called a “bodice.” Sleeveless dresses, dresses with poofy shoulders, and dresses with curious slashes, like they’ve been attacked by Freddy Krueger.  Dresses in every conceivable color of the rainbow, from azure to lilac, from saffron to magenta, from sea foam to garnet, with every subtle gradation and shade in between.

Never has fashion been the subject of such passion.

For the husband, there is no avoiding it.  When I get home I’m going to be asked to choose between dress styles with subtle differences discernible only to Parisian designers.  I’m going to be asked whether I prefer the periwinkle or the lavender, the teal or the aquamarine.  And, because every dress website that Kish has accessed has deposited a girl scout squadron’s worth of cookies on our home computer, every pop up ad on every sports website that I check these days features solemn women modeling dresses.

After some weeks of this, I suddenly became concerned.  “Honey, should I be worried about what I’m going to wear to the wedding?” I asked.  Kish laughed heartily.  “Don’t worry about it,” she said.  “No one pays attention to what a man is wearing.”

Too bad, because I was thinking of something in cornflower.

34

00019743On April 3, 1982, 34 years ago, Kish and I got married in Vermilion, Ohio.  It was her father’s birthday, and the weather then was just like the weather is today.  It had been nice and sunny a day or two earlier, but the clouds rolled in and the wind blew and on our wedding day it was brutally cold with snow squalls.

It’s about 6:30 a.m. as I write this.  By that time 34 years ago, I had been up for at least an hour already, after tossing and turning for most of the night.  I was filled with adrenalin, excited and nervous.  I knew I was making the right decision, but I was worried about screwing something up during the ceremony or the reception afterward.  So I got up and, in those pre-internet days, sat in my room and tried to read a book and then walked the halls for a while to deal with the burst of jittery energy.

Fortunately, Kish and I had decided to keep the wedding ceremony itself short.  We had stripped out pretty much everything but the bare minimum required of a service in her family church.  To this day, dozens of weddings later, our own wedding is the shortest wedding ceremony I’ve ever attended.  I needed to walk out to my position in front of the altar without tripping, hold Kish’s hand after she and her Dad had walked down the aisle, say I do a few minutes later, put the ring on without dropping it, and then walk out with my lovely bride.  I thought I could handle it, and later that day I did.  Seeing Kish looking beautiful in her wedding gown helped a lot.

The whole ceremony took about 15 minutes, but they were momentous minutes indeed. More than three decades later, the memories are still vivid, and the decision remains the best decision I ever made.  Happy anniversary, Skipper!

Phoenix Sunset

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The top of a mountain in Phoenix is a wonderful setting for a wedding, especially when a fire and a sunset are part of the mix. And a family wedding is something to be relished, whatever the setting. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to reconnect with far-flung nieces and nephews, in-laws, and family members to be at such a happy occasion.

32

Today Kish and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. On April 3, 1982, we walked down the aisle in Vermilion, Ohio and said our vows.

00019729A lot has happened since that unseasonably cold day in the early years of the Reagan Administration. We’ve had two fine sons and proudly watched them grow through the toddler years, school, and college to adulthood. We’ve changed jobs, moved from Washington, D.C. to Columbus, and bought and sold houses. We’ve struggled with the loss of family members and loved ones. In some ways that wedding day seems long ago and in some ways it seems like yesterday, but one thing is clear: I’ve been incredibly lucky to share each moment with the most wonderful person in the world.

Kish picked the song Blue Skies to be the song we danced to at our wedding reception. As is the case with pretty much everything she decides, it was an apt selection. As I look back today at 32 happy years with my soulmate, one verse in particular stands out:

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my how they fly

All In Sequence

Today is November 12, 2013.  Or, in calendar/shorthand-speak, it’s 11/12/13.

It’s a numerologist’s dream, of course, but lots of ordinary people also think the numerical sequence is pretty cool.  After all, it’s one of only 12 sequential calendar dates this century.  As a result, today was a surprisingly popular day for weddings. No one is sure exactly why some brides want to get married on sequential dates.  (And we know it’s brides making the decision, don’t we, because what guy is going to pick the day for his wedding?)  Do brides think the date is lucky?  Do they think it is unique?  Or, do desperate but farsighted brides hope that their hapless husbands-to-be might actually remember their freaking anniversary if the guys just have to remember 11/12/13?

Any happy couples that missed 11/12/13 will have their shot at sequentialism next year, on December 13, 2014 — or 12/13/14.  After that, they’ll have to wait for almost 90 years, until 1/2/03, to tie the knot.

 

Self-Marriage? Give Me A Break!

I was surfing the net recently when I ran across an odd piece in the Huffington Post about a North Dakota woman “marrying” herself.  Six years after dealing with a painful divorce, the woman went though a commitment ceremony with herself.  She describes herself as “very happy” and “very joyous,” and she takes herself on “dates” to “invest in this relationship.”

At first I thought it was one of those oddball stories about the curious antics of one person — but apparently it isn’t.  There’s actually an entire website devoted to self-marriage ceremonies, with links to sections like “self-marriage unveiled” and “about self-marriage.”

I’m not a hidebound traditionalist about who should participate in a marriage.  I support same-sex marriage, for example.  But I also think that the whole concept of marriage has to involve another person.  A crucial part of the institution is making sacrifices for the betterment of someone else, and legally committing yourself to that separate individual in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer.

I don’t care how many “dates” you might take yourself on.  I don’t care how schizophrenic you might be.  I don’t care how disastrous your prior relationships have been.  You simply can’t “marry” yourself in any meaningful sense.

One reason I support same-sex marriage is that it recognizes the importance of the institution of marriage.  Gay couples who want to marry are eager for the commitment, welcome the legal enforcement of that commitment, and understand that making that legal commitment means something important.  They want to participate in an institution that has been crucial to the advancement of civilization.

Proponents of “self-marriage,” on the other hand, are really devaluing and mocking that institution.  It’s transparent, pathetic, and kind of sad.

The Impenetrable Female Dancing Circle

Yesterday’s wedding reception for Joe and Laura featured a DJ, a disco ball, and a spacious dance floor.  As a result, we were exposed to one of the worst recent wedding reception developments:  the Impenetrable Female Dancing Circle.

If you’ve been to a wedding in the last five years, you’ve probably seen an IFDC.  It forms when high-spirited young women forsake the need for a partner and rush the dance floor, forming a circle.  They bounce up and down and clap and do some secret dance unknown to anyone over age 30 while one circle member after another moves into the center to cut a rug.  The participation in the circle is 99% female; rare, indeed, is the Y-chromosomed human who has the confidence in his dancing ability to break into the circle.  And so the IFDC goes on and on, unbroken, a living thing, throbbing and shrieking as each new favorite song comes on.

So, what’s the problem?  Why should even a cranky and grizzled veteran of countless weddings care if young women want to band together, empower themselves, and proudly display their dancing chops?

The problem is this:  if you are a crappy dancer — and let’s face it, that description applies to the spastic dancing attempts of the vast majority of American males — you don’t want to try to break into an IFDC or, even worse, dance with your partner on the empty side of the floor, where your fitful and pathetic moves will be exposed for all chuckling wedding guests to see.  The great thing about a crowded dance floor is that it is crowded.  You and your partner can move into the center of the floor and meld into the mass of pulsing humanity so that your lame attempts to get down aren’t the subject of mass derision.

If you’re feeling in a celebratory mood at a wedding reception, therefore, the IFDC might just prevent you from fully expressing your joy with your patented shimmy and shake.  So c’mon, ladies — after you’ve formed that IFDC for a dance or two, break up, fill the floor, and let the rest of us find the dancing anonymity that we so desperately need!

About Weddings

This afternoon, while we are sitting and enjoying the wedding ceremony for our nephew Joe and his fiancee Laura, my guess is that every married guest will be thinking, even if only for a few moments and with a secret smile or two, about their own wedding.

Your wedding day is one of those days — like the day your first child is born — where the intensity and unprecedented nature of the experience deeply engraves every action onto your memory.  Even after the passage of decades, you remember that day, still brightly lit in your brain cells, when the recollection of every other day before and since has dimmed and fallen away, lost forever in the fog of a lifetime of experiences.  But your wedding day is, and always will be, special and distinctive.

It’s not surprising, because getting married is such an enormous step!  You change — and you must change, if you want your marriage to be a successful and satisfying one — from being a self-oriented person who typically makes decisions based solely on what it means for you to being a person who will carefully always consider the thoughts and feelings and interests of that person with whom you have decided to spend your life.  You’re making a lifetime commitment and pledging your faithful love and devotion to that person.  When you are standing before the minister or rabbi or judge and happily making that pledge, you can’t help but be moved and thrilled and astonished, all at the same time.  It’s a hugely powerful feeling, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

It’s no wonder we remember every detail of our wedding day.

Wedding In The Family

Tomorrow our nephew Joe marries his sweetheart, Laura.  Already, family members are gathering for the big event.  Richard is here, Russell arrives today, and guests are heading to Columbus from all points of the compass.

We love family weddings because they give us a chance to see how much youngsters have grown and to marvel at the fact that those little kids still frolicking in our memory are old enough to marry or to put on a tuxedo or bridesmaid’s gown and stand with the wedding party.  We love them because they give us a reason to reconnect with far-flung relatives.  We love them because we like to know that people we’ve known for years are healthy and hear that they are doing well in their lives.

We also love family weddings because they inevitably will add a tale or two to that rich trove of family lore.  Whether it is the antics of that hapless guest who had far too much to drink at the reception, the broken zipper or forgotten shoes, the botched toast, the members of the wedding party who had to cram into the lone remaining post-reception vehicle like participants in a circus clown car, or the starving post-reception guests who descended upon the family homestead like a cloud of locusts and ate every item of food in the kitchen, wedding stories tend to be told and retold, with increasing exaggeration and relish, as the years go by.

Tomorrow we’ll have the opportunity to write another chapter in that book of family legends.  Congratulations, Laura and Joe!

A Bourbon Street Wedding March

We’ve stood on our third-floor balcony at the Royal Sonesta Hotel the past few days and watched a number of wedding parties go marching and dancing past on their way down Bourbon Street.  Tonight’s wedding group was a particularly festive one, with some great music from a great band and a bridal party that was happy, energized, and ready to party and celebrate a fabulous day for their soon-to-be-married friends.

I don’t think anyone thought it was ominous that the bride and groom in their white outfits were walking past a “Temptations” sign.

Brides Beyond The Pale

I’ve seen the show Bridezillas once or twice, and I always thought it was one of those “reality” TV shows that seems pretty darned fake.  Could anyone be as obsessive and crazed about their wedding as the brides-to-be in the show?

Now I’ve seen a story that makes me ask whether lunatic brides are more common than I thought.  The story is about the “K-E diet” — a diet for women who are worried about fitting into their bridal gowns and want to lose weight fast.  The diet requires women to run a feeding tube through their noses to their stomachs and then feeds them a constant slow drip of protein and fat mixed with water, which results in the burn-off of body fat through a process called ketosis.  The dieter doesn’t eat any food for the duration of the diet but doesn’t feel any hunger because she is being “fed” constantly.  Dieters can lose up to 20 pounds in 10 days.  (Of course, once the tube is removed and the bride goes back to eating solid food, you’d expect the weight to be put right back on — and perhaps a bit more besides.)

What’s the downside of the diet?  Well, you carry a bag of glop around in your purse.  You have bad breath and, often, diarrhea because you’re not consuming any solid food.  And, of course, you walk around in public for days with a feeding tube sticking out of your nose.  Other than that, not much.

Haven’t we reached a dangerous point in the destructive self-image category if women are so obsessed with their weddings that they are willing to be fed through a tube for days in order to squeeze into the bridal gown of their dreams?

30 Wonderful Years

Today is Kish’s and my 30th wedding anniversary.  They have been 30 wonderful years — but it’s still hard to believe it has been 30 years since that special day when we tied the knot.

It had been warm and in the 60s only a day or two before, but April weather in Ohio is notoriously unpredictable.  A cold front moved in, and when April 3, 1982 dawned in Vermilion, Ohio it was frigid, with snow falling and a brisk wind blowing.  We were married in Kish’s family church by a minister we really didn’t know.  He had insisted on counseling us about marriage; it’s always made me chuckle that he was divorced within a year or so while Kish and I have somehow muddled through and remained happily married for decades.  Perhaps he’s just an example of the old saying “those who can’t do, teach.”

We kept the ceremony as short as we could, consistent with the requirements of the church.  The entire service, from beginning to end, took about 12 minutes.  We planned it so that we didn’t have to light candles, read scriptures, or really do much of anything other than remain upright and repeat our vows.

I was glad the ceremony was short and simple, because I was nervous.  UJ, my best man, and I stayed in the baptismal tank until we were summoned into a full church.  I stood there, uncomfortable being the center of attention in my traditional black tuxedo, but felt a lot better when I saw Kish coming up the aisle, looking cool and beautiful and radiant in her lacy white wedding gown.  I knew that I was making a smart decision, and I was right.

Cousins, Together Again

We’re in Cincinnati for our first family wedding in years.  Today our nephew Will Kishman is marrying his long-time sweetheart Megan.

The great thing about a family wedding, of course, is the chance to see people you haven’t seen in a very long time.  The Kishman clan is far-flung these days, with outposts stretching from Brooklyn, New York to Ohio to Louisville to Chicago to sunny California.

Last night was a night for reconnecting for the cousins, as we quaffed some adult beverages and visited a dueling piano bar. It was great to spend some time with Will, Matt, Andrew, Annie, Max, and Miles.