What's the sense of having your own law firm and a blog if you don't get to use it to tell your loving spouse Happy Anniversary on it, and share a few funny wedding stories. So, first Happy Anniversary Cheri and thanks for 26 of the best years of my life and for helping make my dreams of being a voice for the voiceless come true over and over again.
Now, as promised some funny wedding disasters stories. Been a part of weddings as the groom once, best man twice, groomsman several more, and honored family both actual and in our hearts many more times. And the things that can go right are limitless. Seen some amazing moments of joy & beauty.
And Hollywood does get it right about some of the drama too. Two where there was a bunch of drama about one of the couple’s parents coming or not. Had that one go both ways, and had to be part of the circle of love surrounding one where the parent didn’t show up.
Been a part of one where the family of the one was beyond tiny as all of the known member had died. Only to have us as adopted family surrounding them with joy and love. Then a miracle happening a bit later as a gift from the other spouse led to a huge, extended birth family being found.
Been a part of several where the two had long before become spouses and families but the law had to catch up, including joining Cheri as part of the team welcoming the first same gender couples to be married in Lucas County on the day Obergefell came down from SCOTUS. And not long after, getting to meet Jim.
But some of the most fun have been when things didn’t go quite as planned. One where the groomsmen came from around the country, meeting and gathering to get our tuxes the night before, to discover none were the same of three possible styles. Going to the rental store as the police were leading a young man away who had trashed the store because they messed up his prom tux.
I had one of those rare moments where you have the right words come to you as needed as I explained how Bride & Groom, and many of the attendants, were getting their law degrees that week to the manager and the shattered glass table was just a preview of the carnage they would cause if this didn’t get fixed.
And the next day, just minutes before the ceremony, that manger running new tuxes up to me at the last minute, taking the wrong ones away, only to discover that my best man tux with a tie and vest, had a children’s tie that with some creating tying by a groomsman and bridesmaid just managed to be make it under the vest so none was the wiser.
And I almost forgot the Bride whose joke almost took out her groom. The night before at the rehearsal dinner, the Mother of the Bride retold the beloved, family story of her, pre ceremony, having a huge, red punch disaster with the wedding dress, and the save of a family heirloom dress fitting just fine.
My friend’s ceremony was intricately planned down to a list of people carried by me, The Best Man, of whom he was to dance with at the reception. It was at the bride’s family farm house in very small town Ohio.
Just sixty seconds before the big event was to kick off, with the wedding party joining up outside the front of the house and walking together to the back where the ceremony was, several bridesmaids came to tell the groom that disaster had once again hit the family and the bride’s beautiful dress was ruined by a spill and we would need to stall while they ran to see if that old, family dress could be found and would fit.
To say the Groom, who liked to plan out his every detail of life, none of which really worked out the way they were planned, was about to stroke out was an understatement.
But I very calmly reminded him that his bride was the fun loving, free spirit, who freed that from inside him too and that any second she would pop out of the house laughing, with a very much still intact dress. As she did, whispering to the Groom that the only liquids allowed near her before the ceremony were all very much clear.
Of course, the best were the ones we knew about or later learned about from the big day 26 years ago today. And there were several. The day started with the now formally diagnosed ADHD groom realizing that he had indeed missed a to do list item, the scheduled haircut. But a family friend fixed that quickly in my hotel room.
Then, as the ceremony had started the minister, presiding over a politically active lawyer marrying a very connected minister, hence in what we called the Royal Wedding (two receptions, a choir, a harp, a Grammy winning musician playing the first reception), realizing she had forgotten a key element.
Friends of Cheri’s serving overseas as missionaries had arranged for a traditional Lithuanian wedding stole to be knit for us. Later in the ceremony, our minister would tell of the tradition, and wrap it around our arms joining us together symbolically and letting them be a part of the event from afar.
However she forgot it in the car and somehow during the ceremony her husband ran out to the car and got all of the stoles in there (clergy wear various stoles with formal robes and all) and managing to get the right one, with all of them displayed on his arms at the back of the church, delivered with none of us the wiser.
Then there was the couple, we had read selected passages from Song of Solomon. For those who don’t know is very beautiful, and racy if you know what the metaphors are about, love poetry in wait for it, the Old Testament of the Bible. They did an amazing job reading the voices of the two lovers. And we suspected, and later confirmed, it resulted a PG to PG-13 expression of their love right after their performance, in another part of the church building.
But the best was the rings problem. The Maid of Honor brought them to the church as planned and dutifully stored them in the parlor of the very large, not our church as it was too small to have Cheri’s congregation and our friends and family, that served as the Bride and Bridesmaids’ green room.
Just minutes before the exchange in the ceremony, too short a time for even a sprinter to run there and back to a now locked room, the Best Man, leaned across the large aisle to break the news to the Groom sitting with the Bride and her attendants that “Bubba, I ain’t got the rings”.
The Best Man, having informed the couple, who, thanks to a professional contingency thinker Groom, actually had an emergency backup plan that wasn’t given to anyone else, sprung into action. I'm glad I didn't share, as the video is awesome, with my wife's Aunt catching it all. But yes, your lawyer is always thinking OK, but what if X happens, how do I fix this. As I say to many of you when you hire me, let me do the worrying. You pay me to take that on and prevent as much as I can.
After a very quiet, but very large laugh was shared by the groomsmen (again you can see it on the video as the laugher spreads), the three married ones dutifully raced to work their rings off, and the first two were handed to us for the ring exchange.
Not long after, they then swapped their rings for ours at the receiving line at reception one at the church, with few the wiser. Then again having your Grammy Award winning Brother in Law and his very talented later toured and recorded an album of his own Son playing was a good distraction.
I’ve gotten a chance to share those stories with several friends and family as the stress of the coming day built. To give them a needed laugh, and as the intro to my best wisdom.
The wedding is all about the couple. So the only things truly needed are the couple, the officiant to make it legal and/or spiritual, and that license thing. The rest is truly icing on the cake. And some of my favorite memories are the moments that, well, the wheels fell off.
Thank you to everyone who pulled off the Royal Wedding 26 years ago and celebrated the start of this fun journey and to my Beloved for helping us live many of our dreams together, even if like the rings and stole it hasn’t always been as planned.
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