With the icebreaker questions ready, and everything else in place for the wedding (as far as I was involved, anyhow), there was nothing left to do but strap myself in and go along for the ride. Specifically, the ride to the church for our rehearsal, and then the ride to the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner, and then the ride back to the hotel for the botulism party.
Bachelor party, I mean.
The rehearsal was everything you might expect from a rehearsal attended by anyone who might want to associate themselves with goofball like me, with the highlight being where I was asked if I would take this woman to be my awfully wedded wife, and I replied, "I guess..."
Evidently she still loved me enough to marry me the next day, but we'll get to that.
Following the rehearsal was the celebratory dinner for all involved in the rehearsing, during which friends and family made eloquent, heartfelt, often-humorous speeches about us. Most speeches about me involved Mega Man. One groomsman even supplied a brief musical interlude hummed to the tune of the first Dr. Wily stage from Mega Man 2 before segueing into his speech.
For the record, I do talk about more than Mega Man. There's also Star Trek. But we'll get to that.
Now, as a writer and former theater guy, I've got no problem getting up in front of people and making speeches. The trouble was, my ability to focus and string together cogent sentences had been slowly degrading since showing up in town at 3:30 AM the day before the wedding. It was a combination of fatigue, excitement, and deeply internalized wedding jitters that I was either unwilling or unable to acknowledge. I had been handing off responsibilities more and more to the people around me, and at the zenith of my "just tell me what to do and where to go" mentality, it was time for me to take matters into my own mouth and make a speech.
From where I was standing, whatever I said didn't do my groomsmen justice. The sentiment was there, but the wording wasn't. Or maybe it was, and I was too fatigued, excited, and jittery to recognize it. If we're talking in terms of Dungeons & Dragons, I've put a good many ranks into my speaking-related skills on my rise to becoming an epic-level commoner, and the night before the wedding, I was rolling the dice without looking at them. I suppose eloquence is in the eye of the beholder, and while I didn't turn to stone, it's entirely possible I was partially disintegrated. I really couldn't tell.
What I had hoped to convey was how much it meant to me to have my two best buddies from high school, my brother-in-law, and half the writing staff of this blog (read: Alex) as my groomsmen, and as my friends. The gift I gave each of them was a pocketwatch, hand-picked according to their individual styles and personalities from a list of about 500. I then proceeded to throw knives at them.
Let me back up a second.
After the food and the speeches came the violent part of the evening. I knew that a bachelor party had been planned by one or more of my groomsmen, but I had not been privy to any discussions about what it would entail or who would be involved. My friends know me well, because instead of a big, loud, potentially disastrous party, we sat down in a hotel room and started firing off rockets.
One of the guys was staying in what must have been the largest room in the hotel--two stories, with a living room on the first floor and the sleeping area lofted up on the second, overlooking the living room. I wasn't even aware hotels had rooms like that. After a brief moment of taking in the scope of the room, my eyes settled on the projector screen that had been set up against the wall. And the root beer and ice cream on the table. And the projector with the N64 hooked up to it. And the GameCube and NES and piles of games.
I would spend my last night on Earth as a bachelor playing video games with my friends. I could think of nothing more fitting.
After several rounds of GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Mario Kart 64, and root beer floats, I was exactly where I needed to be: relaxed, focused, and jitter-free. Enjoying a quiet (though appropriately rowdy) evening of launching grenades and turtle shells at your friends has a way of letting loose any pent-up...anything. I had enjoyed the opportunity to get together with a large group of friends and family for the rehearsal and the dinner, and I was looking forward to seeing everyone at the reception, but a small get-together with just a few people proved to be what I needed most that evening.
The following morning, I ate a bagel. I think that was the biggest part of my day. Well, and the part where I FINALLY GOT MARRIED. Per my wife-to-be's request, I dressed in tails (the traditional English morning suit, as I'm told), sporting the Star Trek delta shield cufflinks she bought me for the occasion. My bride, my lovely, gorgeous cupcake, came to the altar as a cake topper. She even described herself as such, so I'm not getting smacked for this paragraph.
Her dress was 6 feet in diameter--large enough to use as modest shelter on a camping trip--and when I was told I may kiss the bride, the first thought through my mind was, "how!?"
Still, it worked. The wedding went off without a hitch, except for the part where we got hitched. There may also have been some small (and major) glitches during the day, but if I don't acknowledge them, it's like they never happened.
No nerves; no one speaking now instead of forever holding their peace; no cursed pirate ring turning my bride into a gold statue. We had a traditional ceremony both led and attended by family and friends, followed by some picture-taking with the photographers, followed by our dorktastic wedding reception. As far as I was involved, anyhow, it was wonderful.
But we'll get to that in Part 6.