Tuesday, October 13, 2009

speed wedding

Matty and I had our wedding a few Sundays back. It was a speed wedding. Like speed dating, only different. I think I got the whole thing wrapped up in under three minutes, between Matt packing his sandwiches and his rushing off to work. I can't remember what job he was going off to do, but I do remember it was a Sunday because I recalled as I got the wedding (ear)rings and came down the stairs that Saturday, not Sunday, is the typical wedding day. Oh, well, I wasn't going to wait another week; I could very well have lost the earrings by then and besides, I'd just cleaned them both in hydrogen peroxide. The wrong day of the week was fitting, too, in our -- or at least my -- general wrong-headed approach to life.

How did this start?

My own marriage was a bit of a bust. It was a seven-minute legal ceremony at the registrar's office in Carlisle, United Kingdom. Being over seven months pregnant at the time, I was not of sound mind. I don't remember what I promised or even what day it was. Was it May 23? 25? Or 27? All I remember was that the music that I chose from a list of seven-minute selections was "Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity" from Gustav Holst's The Planets. In May of 1998, I was in marooned in a small town (2000 people and nine pubs -- at I time when I couldn't drink) in a country that I had lived in for less than two months and my only friend, a crazy archeologist from Leeds, nearly got us all kicked out of the registrar's office when he threw a fit, even if it was a well-intentioned fit.

As for the after-the-legal-proceeding party, I christened that "the endurance picnic." We went to a stone circle called Long Meg and Her Sisters. It was really cold and windy -- we're talking northern England, it may have gotten around to sleeting. After enduring all I could of watching the guys get loaded, I went to the car and lay down and waited for it to be over while Matt and the archeologist and a couple of the young sons of some friends of Matt talked and smoked and climbed the standing stones.

All in all, I admit, I have sometimes, for seconds on end, fantasized about having an official wedding (since a wedding and a marriage are separate actions) as a sort of do-over of the whole commitment experience. My good friend Katie thought a wedding would be fun. I like parties, at least in theory. But ...

among other quirks, I am unable to wear any jewelry other than one gold ring in my left ear. Matt could maybe wear a wedding ring. Hard to say, though, since his last wedding ring stayed on less than an hour or two before he lost it when someone overturned the raft he was in. He never saw the ring again. Besides jewelry is a work hazard for Matt. Between our two records, neither of us saw the point to spending money on the things. But ...

Matt had mentioned that he would like to start wearing earrings again -- unlike me, both his ears are pierced. A few days later, I looked over at the statue of a Harpy that's next to my computer and noticed she was holding up my one gold earring. I remembered that my mother was keeping the match to it -- so that I wouldn't lose it. I called mom up and asked her to send me the ring. I joked to Matt that we could finally have wedding rings and that I would get (or find) a nice stud for his other ear, or maybe Ronan would lend him one of hers. Best off all, this earring was nicely designed by some goldsmith in Italy: pull hard on it (or get a branch caught in it) and the earring will just unlatch and come off -- way better than having it tear through your ear lobe. So, now we've got the rings, but ...

a wedding and a reception are also separate actions.

I've been to a heap of weddings lately: five in the last five years as opposed to zero in the preceding twenty. Much as I love the people involved, I'm not great at sitting still or paying attention for very many minutes, so I've always thought that the reception was the payment offered to friends by friends not just for your wedding gift to them but for your patience sitting through their lovely and lovingly crafted ceremony. So I got to thinking about how I don't really care much for weddings and how I care way Way WAY less for fussing and planning and spending money on stupid things like dresses and flowers and - ohmigosh! - the sleeting gobs of annoying details that go with weddings of which I have been able to remain blissfully ignorant.

And I thought: Sorry, Katie, no wedding -- but maybe I will come up with a reason and a trouble-free way to throw a big party someday.

I also thought: I am pretty sure I never liked those vows I couldn't remember. But I also didn't intend to spend hours, days, whatever, thinking of the perfect handcrafted vows. Quickly, I rousted Ronan, our best man/maid of honor/ring bearer/flowerless flower girl out of bed, grabbed the audience (Mush! the duck) and carried her downstairs (the audience/duck, not my daughter, who does stairs fine on her own). I gave Ronan the box with the freshly cleaned earrings in it, spun Matt away from the counter and sang the tune of "Here Comes the Bride" as fast as I could. I skipped from there straight to my vows, which were: "I promise to look out for you and second guess you to the best of my ability." Matt answered with: "I promise to look out for you and not to second guess yo--"

at which point I reminded him of how much I need someone to second-guess me sometimes, so he amended his vows to:

"and to try to keep you from doing stupid things." I put his earring on. He put mine on. He grabbed his thermos of tea. I sang that "Wedding March" song really really fast. We kissed. Ronan smiled. The duck twittered. And ...

I forgot the date. It doesn't matter, because ...

I do all my measuring of the length of our relationship from the day we met. It's a day I can remember: April Fool's Day, 1991.

P.S. Our best man/maid of honor/ring bearer and flowergirl also turned out to be our photographer. Perhaps it was the time constraint she was under, but all the pictures came out blurry. She said the digital camera was twitchy, I say she must have - somehow - already had too much. Above left (way above) is the happy couple. Above right is Mush! looking very attentive. We forgot to tell Mush! it's not appropriate to wear black to a wedding. Another nonconformist in the family, oh dear.

P.P.S. Matt's students at Kennedy Alternative High School think his wedding earing is cool. They noticed it right away.

P.P.P.S. My housemates were offended they weren't invited. How could that be? Even my mother wasn't offended. The wedding was at eight in the morning. "Did you really want me to wake you up for a three-minute wedding?" I asked. That settled them down.


  1. that is lovely. and perfectly you guys.

  2. Yes, lovely indeed.
    kisses, your wife