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There Came The Bride
10.7.2002 by Dan, every Monday.

I was standing at the front of the church, staring toward the rear of the church as the lovely bride, clad in white satin, slowly came down the aisle. The emotion was as thick and palpable in the air as some exotic perfume, but, wonderfully, without all the sneezing. It was one of those perfect moments, the kind that you hear about from the story books you read when you were young, the kind that Hollywood is always trying to peddle but can never even get close to getting right, the kind that you never think actually happens until you're right in the middle of it, gaping.

Recently, I wrote a column about my friend's upcoming wedding.

Well, it came on October 5. I was a groomsman.

Now, I don't have a lot of experience as a groomsman, or with weddings in general. Everything I know comes from two sources: TV and movies, which tell me that the rings will always get lost, and at least one of the guests of honor will be late; and common sense, which tells me such things as to wear pants during the ceremony.

So it's safe to say that being in a wedding party is new territory for me. I knew to do the usual, obvious things, such as making arrangements to have the groom in Mexico in 48 hours should it become neccesary. But other things, such as around which part of my body a cummerbund is tied (answer: not the neck) have me stumped.

As it turns out, the groomsman can have many duties other than keeping a tuxedo off the ground. For example, I was given the privilege of lighting approximately 2038 candles at the beginning of the ceremony, using this metal wand with an oil wick at the end. I spent most of the time doing that wondering if my tuxedo was made of flammable material. After that, I worked as an usher, seating people, most of whom I'd never met, on the appropriate side of the church. The odd part is, you're apparently not supposed to ask the person if they're with the bride or groom. You must guess. I developed a system in which anyone with thick eyebrows or brown shoes was seated on the groom's side. It seemed to work pretty well, except with the bride's father.

Then came the actual ceremony. I've been to weddings before, but not many where you can actually see someone's life change forever. Vows were spoken, love was celebrated, and myself and the other groomsmen stood sweating under hot lights, wearing the Amazing Arctic Survival Tuxedos. I lost seven pounds!

Then the bride and groom exited to the song “Walking on Sunshine,” (The bride chose that, and that was what really convinced me that my friend had chosen well.) and we all went to the reception hall, which was, by my estimate, approximately 325 degrees. A couple of the groomsmen passed out on the way, and we had to carry them as we stumbled and moaned from lack of moisture like lost soldiers in the Sahara. “Water!” The best man croaked as we stumbled into the hall, but by then there was a line at the punch bowl.

But all flippancy aside, I was given the honor of being a groomsman at the wedding of one my best friends. Heat stroke aside, it was a true privilege. And in closing, I'd like to add this:

At the dinner the night before the wedding, as friends and family were invited to speak, I considered standing and expressing wishes of peace, prosperity, and love, and a long, happy marriage. Just before I did so, I looked over to the table where the bride and groom were sitting, and saw them talking to each other. And I saw it in their eyes, and I couldn't say anything. Why make a wish that has already come true?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some rice in my eye.

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