My friend Martha loves weddings.
She works hard to score invitations to these events – a true romantic at heart, she loves to see love in the making – especially when there is a DJ in the room who is sure to play Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive at some point during the event where she can grab a microphone and embrace her inner Diva.
The nuptials of a friend, acquaintance, coworker or stranger she meets on the street provide her with crazy amounts of joy and I have always enjoyed this side of her – thirty five years into our famship and I still love this about her.
Until she tells a prospective bride-to-be that I can perform her wedding ceremony and we begin the dance where I say no and she ignores me.
Let me explain.
When Martha got married, I performed her wedding ceremony. It seemed to be a logical choice, being that I was a decent public speaker, that I was one of her life brothers, that I am Godfather to her daughter and special Tio Juan to her son – it made all the sense in the world.
So now Martha peddles my services to everyone. I’ve become the impromptu, go-to-if-you-don’t-need-a-minister-wedding-officiant. ‘My best friend Juan, the blogger, he can do it…he is soooooooo good!’
So we spar, I give in, I meet with the couple and I give in some more. Finally, against my better judgement, I agree wholeheartedly that I will perform the ceremony.
It is then that my margin of crazy goes off the charts. I obsess about everything. As I write and rewrite the ceremony, I search for the right words, practicing the correct inflection, finding the perfect mix of humor and sanctity to bring into the event. I then fret about being late to the ceremony, about going into the nervous ugly sweat (having been born with the most over-achieving sweat glands to grace a human being on earth) and about not being able to see the ceremony document (as I venture closer to fifty, my eyes have decided to play tricks on me and give me bouts of temporary blindness).
I don’t sleep for days prior to the event and then it finally arrives and all is good in the world.
Ceremony goes off without a hitch (pun intended), bride and groom look somewhat happy, parents give nods of approval and I get to relish in the afterglow of ‘This is my best friend Juan, the blogger….’
This is the wedding dance that Martha and I do (and will continue to do for years on end), it is the Cha-Cha-Cha of yes-no-yes-no where Martha spins me and leads me around the room and I waltz, two left feet and all, into submission.
So last night as I was guiding Jennifer (the former dance teacher) and Chris (the trumpet player) through the doorway of matrimony, I realized my career as an officiant is nowhere near the end. I accepted this rather easily (and this next statement comes from my most humble place), since I am ‘sooooooo’ good at this marrying-people-thing.
There will be more weddings to attend.
There will be more ceremonies to write.
There will be more obsessive behavior to endure.
And, since Martha is one of those necessary staples in my life’s pantry, undoubtedly there will be more dancing.
Who knows? Maybe next time she might even let me lead.