This is the situation I found myself in last weekend, as my family came together in San Diego (where the weather can, as we found out the hard way, jarringly swing between 71 and 73 degrees), to celebrate my sister Amy’s wedding. In my defense, the majority of the ceremony was a full-out sobfest, with enough blubbering to power all of the oil lamps in a Charles Dickens novel.
Much like how yawns can be passed to innocent bystanders, I must have caught the tears from somebody in the audience. That’s the only logical explanation available, and it’s the one I will be bringing forward to the Man Board at my hearing.
Amy and Jaime had decided to have their ceremony on a boat floating in the bay, with just their immediate family members present to witness their most special of occasions. The ceremony was probably so emotional because there was no groom to stand there, ashen-faced, staring at the EXIT sign (or in this case, the dinghy) and thinking hard about his remaining options. Of course, when I was a groom, I was so psyched to get married that those kinds of thoughts never came close to passing through my mind, and I in no way wanted to do anything that would have caused my wife Kara to get as angry at me as she did when she read the first draft of this column, before I added this sentence.
If you’ve never attended a wedding that featured two brides, you might not have realized just how vestigial grooms really are. At my own wedding, I doubt anyone besides my then-fiancée-for-a-few-more-seconds Kara would have noticed if they’d have wheeled a scarecrow out to take my place. After the kiss at the end, Kara would have picked the hay out of her mouth and the party would have gone along as planned, with the only other noticeable difference being that the scarecrow would have made a much better dance partner.
Delivering a short speech during nautical nuptials presents challenges that land-lubbing speech givers might not appreciate, and where the danger of going overboard during one’s speech is quite literal. All of the family members who spoke last weekend, though, managed to hang onto their sea legs, if not their dry eyes.
Kara ended the ceremony by reading a poem to accompany a Celtic stone-tossing ceremony, during which each family member made a wish for the couple and threw a stone into the bay. Earlier in the day, we’d helped Amy and Jaime collect rocks for the ceremony from under the bushes in the front yard of Jaime’s brother and my co-best-man, Steve.
After the ceremony, as the two families relaxed and laughed together, and Jaime’s five-year-old cousin Kyler hammed it up for the cameras, posing in her flower girl dress like she was the week’s winning contestant on “
“Dude, I collected those rocks from all over the world!” Steve said.
And I thought, or maybe hoped, just for a moment, that he might get publicly upset enough to have to join me at the next Man Board hearing.
As providence would have it, we’d stopped at the beach and picked up smoother rocks for the ceremony, bringing Steve’s rocks back and dumping them under his bushes. Apparently, except for the occasional man tear, fate was smiling upon all of us that day.
You can throw stones at Mike Todd at email@example.com.