Jerry Nelson: The wedding
Our long national nightmare has finally ended; we can all heave a collective sigh of relief. A sigh that, depending on your point of view, may be salted with a tear or two.
It has finally happened: Meghan and Harry have officially tied the knot.
For the past several months, all of our nation’s media energy has been focused, like a wedding-based laser, on the royal nuptials. As the blessed day grew nearer – and this is what makes America such a great country – our nation’s media somehow managed to push its coverage past the point of total saturation. This often involved SEAL team-like squads of media persons bursting into homes and blasting its occupants with molecular-level minutiae about the royal couple.
The only way a guy could have escaped the fact that Meghan and Harry were getting hitched would be if you were living in some dank, media-free cave. In which case, lucky you!
I don’t why we Americans are so obsessed with royal British weddings. Wasn’t it just a few centuries ago that we had a major tiff with England? Did Paul Revere go on his midnight ride just so that we could study, in excruciating detail, the courtship rituals of King George’s descendants? I think not.
But one cannot underestimate the power of a fairytale wedding. It’s like trying to stop an implacable force of nature such as a tsunami or Martha Stewart.
This isn’t my first royal matrimonial rodeo. I can clearly recall when Chuck and Di, Harry and Will’s parents, strolled down the aisle. It’s easy to remember because their wedding took place a few weeks after my wife and I pledged our troth.
I was a bystander when it came to planning our wedding. My main job on our wedding day was to milk the cows early, get cleaned up and show up.
My wife – who, I suppose, is technically my ex-girlfriend – shouldered the wedding planning burden. As the date drew closer, she grew ever more frenetic. She was as twitchy as a over-caffeinated Chihuahua.
Unlike the royals, we had few resources; there was no coterie of minions to help us (that is, my wife) with wedding preparations. She didn’t have access to a footman or a lady-in-waiting or even a lowly Deputy Assistant to the Chalice Bearer’s Secretary.
On the morning of the ceremony, my future bride was a frenzied blur. She ran hither and yon, attending to such details as making sure there was enough vittles for the reception (we could have fed a small city) and that the wedding cake had arrived intact (if it hadn’t, whoever was responsible for ruining the cake would have been hunted down and imprisoned).
Instead of engaging an expensive professional photographer, we asked the father of a friend to take our wedding photos. Our photographer was quite advanced in years. As we held our poses, it often took him several agonizing minutes to adjust his camera, which, like its owner, appeared to have dated back the latter part of the 19th century.
Another penny-pinching strategy my wife embraced was handmade silk flowers. The flowers were beautiful and wilt-free, but they smelled like a fabric factory. To this day, I feel a twinge of romance whenever I catch the scent of new cloth.
Our wedding didn’t take place in a majestic, centuries-old cathedral; we said our “I do’s” at the altar of our humble Lutheran church. And instead of having a hoary archbishop perform our ceremony, our wedding was conducted by a newly-minted pastor named Stan. It was Pastor Stan’s first wedding. I suspect that some sort of discount may have been involved.
After a reception in the church basement, we went to a local venue for our wedding dance. Instead of riding in a gilded carriage, we drove to the dance in our pint-sized yellow Chevette.
We hired a local band to perform at our wedding dance. They knew approximately three tunes which they played in a continuous loop all evening.
The ultimate moment of our wedding night finally arrived, by which I mean the throwing of the bouquet. A knot of single young ladies formed at the center of the dance floor. My wife, in keeping with tradition, tossed the bouquet in a high arc over her shoulder. I was impressed by her hitherto hidden throwing ability.
The young ladies dove for the bouquet like a bunch of linebackers fighting for a fumbled football. One of them eventually emerged from the scrum, beaming, holding her trophy aloft.
I bet that something similar happened at that modest little wedding across the pond. And I’ll wager that there were also numerous sighs of relief.
If you’d like to contact Jerry Nelson to do some public speaking, or just to register your comments, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, “Dear County Agent Guy,” is available at Workman.com and at booksellers everywhere.