Monday, July 25, 2005

Kim & Mike's Wedding: Episode 2 - "The Ceremony"

"Are you nervous?" That's all I heard in my head when I woke. Mike's sister, Casie, had asked me that question the day before, at the wedding rehearsal and I had answered a quick no. But when I woke, I heard her again in my head and my stomach began to turn... Kim's voice on the other end of my phone was a mixture of surprise and excitement. "You're up!" she said. Yes indeedy. Even after a long, tense night - I was able to wrench my weary body out of bed at 9 a.m. and toss it into a hot, steaming shower. I was sipping on a latte and munching my bagel when Kim called. It was the big day. My best friend's wedding. And as I stepped outside, carrying my black suit to the car - I realized - it was a hot f'n day. When I got to the chapel, I winced at the stillness of the air inside. The place had no air conditioning, save for two ceiling fans and some windows. It was gonna be a hot one. T Minus 2 Hours: Present are Kim, Barbie, Stacy, Stacy's daughter Aubrie and I. We realize that there are two hours until the wedding. We go outside to smoke. The DJ is setting up. The photographer has arrived. Our friend Tabitha, who's helping with make-up pulls up. I feel my stomach churn. When we go back inside we begin getting ready. I slip into half of my suit, afraid of sweating too much too early before the wedding. Kim pulls on her wedding dress, Stacy her bridesmaid's dress and Tabitha begins putting make-up on Barbie. People are slowly arriving. First Kim's Dad and her brother Brandon. We have one back room downstairs, in which to change that also opens to a cellar of sorts. We realize we're missing a bridesmaid. We get nervous. T Minus 1 Hour: Stacy's make-up is done. She's good to go. Kim's Dad and brother are dressed. Stacy helps get Barbie into her dress. I'm not sure what she was doing but I saw her working with her bra, so I left the room. Kim's make-up is on. More people arrive. Tabitha applies my make-up. I slip on my suit jacket and head outside for another smoke. It is hotter than hell. I begin to sweat. Kim and the bridesmaids make their way upstairs and outside for photos - we are still missing Andrea. Mike and the groomsmen arrive. They are kept away from Kim as her pictures are taken. Mike is nervous. He smokes and says little. Barbie and Tabitha tell me Kim needs her bouquet. I realize I've not even prepared them. I run downstairs and with Tabitha's help get them put together. Andrea arrives. We breathe a sigh of relief. The bouquets are delivered. Sweating profusely, Tabitha and I find a freezer in the kitchen in the basement. We stick out heads inside. It is like a visit to heaven. T Minus 30 Minutes: Outside, Mike is sitting in his best man's truck. I walk up and say, "I hope this is to take advantage of air conditioning and not an attempted escape..." He smiles. I can tell he's nervous. He's smoking again. As I head back inside, he gives me a wink. I know he'll be fine. The flower girl and ring bearer arrive and are dressed in no time. They are the cutest kids ever. We take pictures. Everyone is arriving. I don't know how anyone else is feeling but I feel that I could easily puke without provocation. I stick my head in the freezer. "I'm going upstairs and I'm not coming back down." I tell Kim. "Okay," she says. "Please don't hug me." I laugh. "I love you." I say. "Good luck." "Thanks," she says. "I love you too. Bye..." This is it. Time: Behind closed doors, Mike, the groomsmen and I stand waiting for our cue to enter the chapel. Mike is nervous. He pours water into his hand and presses it to his forehead and the back of his neck. I fan myself with my folded piece of paper that holds the words I'll be speaking to everyone inside. It is impossible to stop sweating. I miss my freezer. There's the cue. It's time. I look back at the boys and lead them out to the chapel... Kim was the most beautiful I'd ever seen her. The chapel was filled with friends and family and as she made her way down the aisle she lit up the room. For a moment, I forgot about the heat. In the middle of the ceremony, we break for a song by Mike's aunt and uncle. I look over at Stacy and nervously wipe my forehead. I feel sweat trickling down my neck. She makes me smile. Over her shoulder, Kim's mom and dad are also slightly laughing at me as I raise my eyebrows and continue to wipe at my forehead. Andrea cracks a smile. Barbie is in a daze. I want to snap my fingers in her face to snap her out of it. I think twice. The song is over. I continue. Both Kim and Mike's hands were shaking as they slipped on their rings and said "I do". As I introduced them, I almost paused. She had a new last name. I felt a lump rise in my throat. It could have been a sign of dehydration. Either way, it was over. We made our way outside. The air was thick and hot and there was no escape. We took pictures and hugged people and took more pictures. Then, as Kim and Mike made their way to the chapel's gazebo for more pictures and guests pulled out of the parking lot, the same things were on everybody's mind. Cold beer. Good food. And maybe...even a little dancing. Next: Episode 3: The Reception. A Photo Note: I feel bad that I don't have pictures posted of the the wedding yet. I hope to develop my film soon.

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