Monday, July 25, 2005

Kim & Mike's Wedding: Episode 1 - "The Rehearsal"

'Twas the night before the wedding, the flowers were a disaster...
The bridesmaids and the bride were delirious with laughter...
Running on Mt. Dew and nicotine...
We didn't get to bed until a quarter to three.

The story behind Morris Chapel is that the chapel was built for a woman by her father for her wedding day. On her wedding day she was left at the altar and she hung herself. People say they can see her at night, they hear strange things...and driving past it after sundown is definitely creepy. So what better place for a wedding?!

Kim unlocked the back door to the chapel and we filed in, one by one, for the rehearsal. The chapel looks like it was plucked right out of an episode of "Little House on the Prairie". Inside square white pews sit on a rich, brown, hardwood floor. At the back of the room is a small platform framed by two black, wrought iron sconces. When standing in the center of the chapel, I can't help but imagine a portly man with red cheeks and fluffy white hair around his ears circa 1920 sweating and preaching about sin to women with wide brimmed hats and flowered dresses and men in double breasted suits and bow ties - each of them fanning themselves and nodding along.

Even at a little after 6 o'clock, we could feel the heat. Only two ceiling fans tried to move the thick, hot July evening air - and they were not having much luck. I had been asked by Mike & Kim to marry them, having been ordained online last year for Stacy & John's wedding.

Rehearsals can take forever. You can spend hours over details such as when to light the unity candle, how quickly to walk up and down the aisle, what is everyone going to say and when - and oh lord the music. (In times like these, I thank G-d for Jewish weddings.) Thankfully, Mike and Kim had in mind a quaint ceremony that wouldn't take long and we got through it all relatively quickly.

And before I get too ahead of myself, I realize I should probably introduce you to Kim & Mike. These two met in high school. They parted ways before graduation but she never got over him. And as it turns out, seven years later, he never got over her. It's almost like that movie, "The Notebook" except without the war or the wicked mother who hid the letters.

When the rehearsal was over, we made our way to Mike's sister's house for dinner. When the sun went down, we were blessed with a picture perfect evening, cooler air and a slight breeze.

But it wasn't long before Kim, Stacy (M of H), Andrea (bridesmaid), Barbie (bridesmaid), Jen (friend/cat lady/comedianne) and I returned to Kim & Mike's house to tackle last minute preparations for the wedding.

There are no words for what transpired that night. I simply can't type out how much we Jen and I stood at the "flower table" making jokes back and forth and back again. There's just no way to describe how desperate we were at 3 o'clock in the morning. Frantic looks between Kim and myself. The feeling of it all...

It was like Iron Chef. Except without the chefs and without the cooking. So I guess it wasn't like Iron Chef. Anyway, we got to Kim & Mike's house and our foe took the shape of a Gerber Daisy. The flowers were quite limp. The plan was to put them in tall vases and in tin buckets - but they were looking rather sad in both cases. So we set up an assembly line that consisted of Jen and myself, really, while the others were busy ironing, cleaning etc. I cut the flowers down, hoping they would fit while Jen put them in coordinated buckets.

Nothing we did to the flowers worked and it seemed like they were getting worse by the minute. Stacy couldn't get the wrinkles out of her dress. Barbie could not get Andrea's baby to stop crying, so she passed him on to Stacy who had him sleeping in under 15 minutes. It was after 2 a.m. Delirium began to set in.

The buckets had been caulked earlier in the day, because water was leaking from them. Hours later when we realized that we were going to have to skip the buckets altogether, we pulled the flowers out to reveal stems dripping with caulk...which was turning the water white.

I could see the strain setting in on Kim's face. It was getting later and later and we were not any closer to a resolution to our flower problem. We tried several different ways of using the flowers, but nothing was working.

"Don't stop, get it, get it, don't stop, get it..." Jen burst into a hip hopera that sent us all into doubled over laughter, and we had to fight to control our bladders.

By the end of the night, we'd made a trip out to Stacy's house to grab a crate of bud vases for which we cut the daises down again. They looked beautiful. We loaded them into boxes for transport. The candle holders had all been washed by Barbie as we had been cutting the flowers down to size and we were able to get the wrinkles out of Stacy's dress when we re-ironed it. When it was time to head home, our bodies were on the verge of shut down. Our eyes were burning. We had a short night's sleep ahead of us before the big day. The night was a labor of love. We were a dedicated pit crew - not only to what was needed for Kim's wedding - but to each other, each of us working hand in hand to preserve our sanity.

When we were leaving Kim's house I watched her head up the stairs. In less than 24 hours she'd be marrying the love of her life. There was no doubt that a degree of nervousness had set in. It had all come to this. There was so much surrounding this wedding. So much energy, so much love, so much...story. Before getting to sleep I lay in bed and scribbled out a letter to Mike and Kim to slip into their wedding card.

"Mike & Kim," it said. "There really are no words..."

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