Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Wedding Story

I woke up from my slumber flat on my back covered in sweat. I didn’t know where I was, but I had woken up in places and not immediately known where I was before. This was different. Heather was kneeling next to me on my left with a concerned look on her face. My dad was to my right with a look of concern mixed with a little disapproval. Standing at my feet was our priest, Father Muller. As I tried to shake the haze out of my head, I figured out where I was and what I was doing that day. I realized that our friends and family were all seated in pews behind my head in absolute and total silence because I had passed out at my wedding.

My dad said two words, “get up,” which I did as quickly as one could under the circumstances.

In polite company, because we are polite people, my family says that I had a 24 hour bug. My friends say that I drank too much at the rehearsal dinner and I was hung over. Whatever the case may be, the facts are as follows: I didn’t eat the day before our wedding because I was busy with finishing law school and business school projects before leaving on our honeymoon. At our rehearsal dinner, my stomach was in knots and I hardly touched the meal that Heather and I had so meticulously chosen for our guests. I did however, have a great deal of a ‘97 Cabernet that our waiters circled the dining room with, like buzzards, topping off my glass each time it was only 2/3 full. I also had an unknown amount of Glenlivet 18 before and possibly after dinner, although the reality of my beverage consumption has turned into a bit of a fish story for those who witnessed it.

I don’t know why my 24 hour bug / alcohol over-consumption happened – maybe it was nerves, maybe it was lack of food, maybe I was really sick. All I know is that I showered and shaved sitting down in a hotel tub the day I was to marry my wife, and between the throwing up and bouts of cold sweats, making it to the church on time dressed in my morning formal was one of my life's greatest accomplishments.

Even though I hadn’t stood up that morning for more than three straight minutes, I was sure I could summon the strength to stand for the ceremony. I got burst of energy when Heather walked down the aisle and I was pleased that Heather’s dad actually went through with the hand-off. We got a helpful series of short breaks during the portions of the Catholic mini-Mass when we were sitting or kneeling, and by the mid-way point, I was feeling pretty good about my chances of pulling it off. I made it through getting the ring on Heather’s finger with no problem, but the adrenaline started to wear off and everything went dark after she put the ring on mine. I tried with everything I had not to go down, but my body was not listening to my mind begging it not to let this happen.

After the little incident, I made it through what must have been the fastest second half of a wedding Mass Father Muller had ever performed. I was intent on finishing the ceremony and he was intent on not having me fall out on his alter again.

During the honeymoon, I convinced myself that grooms must go down on a pretty regular basis. People tell you not to lock you knees for a reason, right? You see it on those home video shows frequently enough. The reaction we received from our law school classmates when we got back from the honeymoon, however, let me know that it is significantly less common than I had wanted to believe. The fact that I have still never seen it happen, despite secretly wishing for it on occasion, confirms its rarity.

I was embarrassed about it for a few years, but it has just become a fact of my life. Now, as one of the few men who has completely botched the wedding day, I take solace by telling myself that a marriage is not about the wedding day. It's about the life that two people will live together for every day thereafter. I’m sure Heather would have preferred to have had a nice wedding with a conscious groom as well, but after nine years (today) I can say with complete certainty that it’s possible to botch the wedding day and have darn good every-day-thereafter.

Happy Anniversary, dear. Sorry about that thing at the wedding.


  1. Wow! I kept scrolling down looking for the video clip. What gives, Gary?! Well, you have the rest of your life to make it up to her, right?! Sparkly jewelery on the anniversary dates might be a good place to start. Hope you both enjoy a fabulous steak dinner wearing your new fancy jeans----if that is still the plan! Happy 9th!

  2. And by "jewelery"......I meant *jewelry*. I haven't had nearly enough caffeine yet and you have a dumbass spellchecker, too!

  3. Thank you, dear. That's very sweet!! Happy Anniversary to you!!!

  4. Ah yes..that was a great story. I'll never forget my 5 year old, "Mommy, why is Uncle Gary lying on the floor?" The best part was when we all filed out in procession and you turned to us at the back of the church and said, "Do you think anybody noticed?" Happy Anniversary :) Cindy