Friday, May 26, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

Wedding Post #1: Happy

I've been pretty caught up lately in preparations for my own wedding, but I did want to note that my cousin Mike, who is also one of my closest friends, got married to his longtime girlfriend Lisa this past weekend.

The wedding festivities actually got underway the previous weekend, with Mike's bachelor party. I was his best man, so it fell to me to organize said party. I was originally looking forward to planning something fun and maybe a little crazy. We managed the fun part, but the crazy was nixed from the equation early on. Lisa put the kibosh on having strippers involved, and without that typical bachelor party element I wasn't sure exactly how else to make it crazy. And, to be honest, keeping it low-key was more in keeping with Mike's personality, so it worked out just fine.

To start, he and I went down to Cincinnati for a Reds game. That was fun, but it could have been at least a little bit better. For starters, the weather wasn't so great. It was cold and rainy--not enough to delay the game by any means, but enough to be at least a little uncomfortable. Then the game was pretty boring. It was a pitcher's duel throughout, ending as a 2-0 victory for Philadelphia. It did get a little exciting when the Reds had a chance to tie or win in the bottom of the ninth, but it came to nothing.

On the way back through Dayton we stopped at Hooters to eat. Since we weren't allowed to go visit the strippers, I figured this was the next best option. Dale, another of Mike's cousins and his other groomsman, met up with us there. None of the three of us had ever been to a Hooters before, so it was at least mildly interesting on its own merits. From there we went to Mike and Lisa's new house, which they hadn't moved into yet. It was equipped only with folding chairs and a couple of televisions, so the three of us proceeded to watch movies and play video games all night long, with a certain amount of alcohol thrown into the mix as well. We didn't end up leaving there until nearly 8:00 a.m., and it was more fun than anything so simple has any right to be.

The actual wedding weekend kicked off with the rehearsal on Friday. I had only been involved in one wedding before, and that was a few years ago, so it was fun to be an "insider" again. We ran through the ceremony once without a hitch, then did one part of it over for some fine-tuning. All throughout, I had a hard time not mentioning the fact that the officiant (priest/minister/whatever) looked exactly like Ned Flanders. Afterwards we all got together at a local buffet restaurant for dinner, which was a good time. Mike gave me a personalized flask, which I'm sure will come in handy.

The big event finally came to pass on Saturday. Kickoff was set for 1:00 p.m.; we of the wedding party were expected by 11:00. I actually arrived a little bit before that so I could write some notes for my toast at the reception--I had it all planned out in my mind beforehand, but I wanted to make sure I had something to refer to in case I blanked, as speaking in front of crowds is not something I make a habit of. After that we got our tuxes on, had our photos taken, and just milled around until it was time to begin.

The ceremony went quicker than I expected, being a Catholic wedding. It went well and was very nice, at least from where I was standing (and sitting...and standing...and sitting...). The only slightly nervous moment for me was when I had a bit of trouble getting the rings out of my pocket, but I didn't panic, took my time, and came through in the clutch. Honestly, I doubt anyone even noticed (until I mention it now, of course).

So Mike and Lisa got married. After the ceremony there were more photos to be taken and more milling around to be done, and then it was off to the reception. It's always a fun experience to be introduced and applauded as you enter a room full of people. Very shortly after we arrived, it was time for me to give the best man toast. I kept it simple and fairly short, talking about how my relationship with Mike had evolved and how Lisa had come into the the picture, and how honored I was to stand with the two of them.

After that it was a pretty typical wedding reception. The food was really good, and the champagne went down smooth. There was plenty of mingling amongst family, many of whom we don't get to see very often, and even some dancing. Toward the end, Mike's mom was a little drunk and told me over and over how glad she was that Mike and I are so close. That was both very nice and pretty amusing at the same time.

With Mike and Lisa's wedding out of the way, the focus is now squarely on my own. Indeed, I was asked about it quite often during the reception. I thought I would perhaps start to get more excited or nervous, but that hasn't happened as of yet. Maybe that will come after the bachelor party, which is taking place this Saturday. Then after that, next weekend, I'll be the one biting the dust.

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