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Tuesday, 12 July
White Room

On Saturday, the wife and I drove out to an idyllic little spot for her little brother's wedding. I wore one of my three suits that I get to wear about twice a year, and happily, the weather was gorgeous: they were having an outside wedding, on a gazebo, which I like to believe is because "gazebo" is a really funny word.

We showed up very early, partially to soothe the nerves of the bride and groom--we're here! Two hours early! See!--and partially because we were bringing a little table they needed to use for the ceremony. And we spotted them right away, as we were hauling the little table to the gazebo: they were being ordered around by an imperious harridan with a camera. They both wore tight smiles as we passed them. The wife called out in good humor, "Hey, you're not supposed to see the bride before the wedding!" The camera-wielding harridan shot back, "You're not supposed to see her!"

The wife later confirmed with me that that was the very instant we formed an utter dislike of the woman. Fuck you, lady, we thought. Without this INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT little table, nobody gets married today!

And anyway, her remark was dumber than hell, as we found out an hour later. While having a glass of wine before things got started--like I say, we got there early, which was fine--we were suddenly summoned by the wife's neice to report for photos. Right at the entrance of the building, a charming brick edifice. Where fifty fucking people were all standing, gawking as the awful photographer barked out orders to all and sundry to pose with the bride and groom. We weren't supposed to see her before the wedding? Jesus Christ, any dipshit driving a pickup in Woodinville can see her. And, oh, who gives a fuck anyway?

The incredible, never-ending parade of photos continued, and the bride and groom soldiered on grimly as a baffling number of incredibly specific shots were set up, in no apparent order. "Now the bride's family! With the bride! Great! And now with the groom's family! [My one shot. Woo.] And now the bride with her grandparents! And now just the bride! And now the bride with her little brother! No, never mind that, I don't like that kid! And now the bride and the groom with a lizard! And now with the bride holding a jar of piss! And now the bride hitting the groom with a rolling pin while he eats a hoagie!"

Later, I whispered to I., the groom, "Man, this is why we didn't do this shit." He rolled his eyes at me in silent commiseration, and then expressed his desire for the photographer's gruesome and timely demise. She haunted the rest of the damn evening with this sort of horseshit.

As for the bride, S., I can only suppose, but she wore a real glare of hatred during the photographic ordeal (during the lulls, of course), and who can blame her? She had to be in every fucking shot; wedding ritual demands it. Brides have it both good and bad in a unique way during weddings: they are, like it or not, the entire focus for the whole fucking night. There's no getting around it. And I say this without rancor--it's not a job for the faint of heart. And I also say this as an actor, who is accustomed to the spotlight, but this kind of attention is daunting as hell: it's like a one-person show that lasts eight hours where there are no intermissions and you are the star, and God help you if you so much as absentmindedly pick your nose. Because there you are, on camera, forever, and now you're starting to wish you could have that photo back of you with the jar of piss.

The groom? Well, it is of course also his night, but let's not be dumb about this. It's a lot like what I imagine being a male porn star is like. Sure, you have your place there, and a job to do, and most of the time there are functionaries who will go get you water or whatever; but never, ever forget these things: you're really not there to talk much. Most everyone there wants to watch the girl. And, also like porn, it's really embarrassing for everyone if you wear athletic socks.

And of course despite all my snarking, it was a pretty damn fun night. Sitting in the front row for the ceremony was quite exciting, particularly when the pastor (my father-in-law, miked for the outdoor crowd) got started: "WELCOME!" he screamed maniacally. "THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING!" Of course he didn't scream; we were just sitting right in front of the damn speakers. But it scared the bejesus out of us: the wedding party had it worse--they were standing two feet in front of the things. It must have been like 25 minutes of Krakatoa for those poor bastards.

And so we ate, and we danced, and we behaved like people always do at these things. The wife's mom wanted a picture of us dancing, and so I did, though I protested that I looked like a "monkey on a hot plate" doing so. The band was even pretty good, and played the usual standard rock songs, and some unusual ones: there was very little dancing while the guitarist improbably performed a note-for-note reproduction of Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption," which struck me as hilarious. I kind of wanted the keyboardist to respond with his interpretation of what a deer sounded like when killed by bowhunter Ted Nugent. It would probably be just as danceable.

And so, and so. I. and S. cracked some Dom Perignon, and danced, and toasts, and cake, and bouquet, and garter, and all that. They seemed to be having a tremendous time, as well they should have.

You see, by this time, the photographer had left.

XOXOX | Skot | 12 Jul, 2005 |

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Comments

Our friends got married the same day - and we had lunch with them on Sunday. They were still exhausted from the uber-startling-attention required by their photographer: Look at your flowers! Look at her! Look at that tree! Look at me! Look at your Mom! Look happy! Look serious!
And after all that, the snapshots of Uncle Hal with his mouth open and full of chewed food at the reception ends up being the classic photo of the whole event.
(Or, maybe the shot of Skot and his monkey-on-a-hot-plate dance.)

Comment number: 005901   Posted by: dayment on July 12, 2005 10:58 AM from IP: 64.105.86.146

The 2 best pictures from my wedding are 1)the expression on my face as I am clearly using the Fword on the wedding director and 2) a photo of the two of us from behind and you can see all the guests staring above our heads and pointing at a gigantic hawk in the tree just above us. Our photographer rocked.

Comment number: 005902   Posted by: ODB on July 12, 2005 07:55 PM from IP: 69.243.203.183

Hehe. After all the fancy-ass professional shots taken at my cousins' wedding, it's a snapshot I took of the bride and groom on the church steps that made it over my aunt's fireplace. Various other cousins have that those photographers who body-check you out of the way, block your view of the ceremony and crowd the dance floor just to get those perfect shots. I want to kill them all.

Also, if it's ever legal for me to be married, I want a wedding picture of me, my wife and a lizard.

"Monkey on a hot plate." I'll have to remember that one. Mrs. Pfaff is funny.

Comment number: 005903   Posted by: CG on July 14, 2005 08:48 PM from IP: 70.19.67.56

u rawk

Comment number: 005904   Posted by: bekka on July 26, 2005 11:36 PM from IP: 68.35.78.9

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