Guys, Gay Weddings are. the. best.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to help celebrate my friends Jamie and Simon's wedding. The boys threw a helluva party, but I'm honestly still a little wiped out from the minimal amount of responsibility expected of me in my role of groomsman on Jamie's side of the wedding party.
When Jamie asked me to stand up with him, I was super honored. I'm pretty sure I was almost brought to tears. I didn't really consider that I'd need to, like, be places, or do things, or not be super drunk.
I have to wear pants?!
You're kidding me. Not like all weekend though, right?
The Thursday before the wedding I went in for my final tux fitting.
It went rather less well than anticipated.
I really did mean to workout before this wedding. I went so far as to pull my gym bag out of its 6 month hibernation in the trunk of my car and wash the clothes that were still in it from the last time I went. I imagine most of you are probably pretty grossed out. Well, me too, and I'm the one who actually had to open the bag. It wasn't cute.
I got pretty involved in anything I could possibly think to do instead of working out, though, so I ended up going with my usual plan for any big events: Eating two salads the week before and indignantly claiming that it's just not possible that I've gained any weight.
Should I have been shocked when the jacket didn't button at my fitting two days before the wedding? No. Did I have a meltdown worthy of being aired on a Bravo reality TV show nonetheless? Oooooh yeah.
Guys, I cried while eating a chicken tender melt from a gas station.
I also texted a guy who I'm not really all that interested in because I knew he'd tell me I was pretty, and I blew off plans with a guy I am kind of interested in so I could go get drunk instead.
I'm shocked that people still like me.
Silver lining? The next day, at the rehearsal dinner, I didn't even question whether or not I was having dessert. They're overnighting the fat tux? Where's the pie?
I took a half day on Friday to give myself enough time to get ready for the rehearsal and also to make myself available in case Jamie or Simon needed any help with set up. As the only person in the wedding party who lived in town, I felt it was my duty to help out whenever needed, and I fulfilled that duty by sincerely and enthusiastically offering to help as soon as I was pretty sure they'd already taken care of whatever needed to be done.
To be fair though, they seemed to have things pretty damn under control every time I talked to them. Maybe they were stressed out, but it certainly didn't seem like it from my perspective. I'd stop over at their place and Simon would wave his arms and say, "Look at these thirty centerpieces I made, they're right next to the hand painted card table signs, and the perfectly wrapped wedding party gifts."
I'd have delegated the shit out of alllllllll that business.
The only job that I was tasked with was helping set up tables for the rehearsal dinner after I got off work on Friday, but by the time I got to the house Jamie had already taken care of everything and was sitting around anxiously looking for something else to do. Apparently the way he deals with nerves is by keeping busy. I briefly considered sending him over to my place to deal with dishes situation happening in my sink, but then I remembered that this weekend wasn't about me (plus there wasn't so many that I couldn't just hide them in the stove).
It actually worked out nicely to have that extra bit of time in the afternoon. I had a lot to do...
The rehearsal dinner went off without a hitch. Or maybe there were some hitches. Maybe there were tons of hitches. I don't really know. I got fed, got free booze, got a present from the grooms, and then got to go out to gay karaoke for the kick-off of 'Kato Pride.
That's a pretty epic party from my perspective.
Saturday morning should have been an easy morning. Jamie didn't have me scheduled for anything until 11, but the night before he'd brought up a promise that I'd made when we were in Vegas.
Since I was the most prepared person on the trip (or possibly just the gayest), I was the only person who thought to bring a beach bag, and subsequently, I was the only person who ever had anything with me. "Chris, do you have that sunscreen?" "Chris, where is my wallet?" "Chris, can I leave my phone with you?" After the tenth or so request, I joked to Jamie that this should just be my job for the wedding. I could just have things.
In the future I need to remember to be sure my friends are blacked before I go offering to be responsible for things.
On Friday night he mentioned, in passing, that he'd have a few items that would need to be added to my bag.
So then I had to set my alarm for 8 in the morning to go out and try and find a f#%!ing bag.
I could say that I thoughtfully considered every possible scenario that could have arisen and packed the bag accordingly, but I pretty much just ran around my apartment grabbing everything in reach.
And it worked.
"I've only go the one pair of scissors, so you'll have to wait until I'm done."
"Don't worry, I brought extras!"
"Shit, I don't have a pen."
"Give me a second, I've got one here somewhere."
"Oh man, my stomach feels weird..."
"Do you need Tums?"
"Does anyone have a nail file?"
"I have a glittery one!"
I was so accidentally well prepared that I'm pretty sure I got some random dude laid. After the ceremony, as I walked to my car, I passed a couple having a super romantic picnic in Sibley Park. I mean, they had candles lit, like three courses of food laid out, Frank Sinatra playing, and the dude was in a bow tie. All of the stops had been pulled out, and yet bow tie dude's girlfriend was sitting there was a pretty intense bitch face going on. As I walked by their blanket, he had just gotten up and run to his car. He was about to drive off when he rolled down his window and asked me, "Dude, do you have a corkscrew?!"
A part of me wanted to ruin their afternoon. I mean, I'd just attended a gorgeous wedding ceremony, and I was feeling single as f#%!. Witnessing their adorable date wasn't helping, but I did in fact have a corkscrew, and I'm just not the type of person who will leave someone in the middle of a wine emergency.
Speaking of that gorgeous wedding ceremony, it was absolutely perfect. The weather was great, the location was beautiful, the dog was well dressed, and they kept that shit under 20 minutes.
I was ready to get to the reception, and I was ready to drink. I'd spent the entire morning being helpful, accommodating, and selfless (or as selfless as I could be). I needed a vodka soda, some damn cake, and I needed to dance with two "a"s and a "y."
I needed to daaynce.
Luckily we only had seven and a half hours worth of pictures to take still.
Okay, so it wasn't quite seven and a half hours, and I totally knew it was coming. Jamie was nothing if not thorough with his itinerary. I just thought I'd enjoy it more. I'm an ego maniac, and I was wearing a tuxedo. Typically I'd want ALL THE PICTURES taken of me.
I used to pride myself on being able to find my angle and whip out a well rehearsed smile on a moment's notice. I was once so good at this that I'd learned to sense anytime I was in the background of a photo and pose myself accordingly.
Moments before this photo was taken, Emma was asking, "Wait...why are we laughing? What's so funny? Am I missing something?!"
A half hour into pictures that day, however, something changed.
It was like I broke my damn face.
I completely forgot how to smile. I was suddenly super conscious of how much teeth I was baring, worrying that I looked like an agitated weimaraner in a tuxedo. So I put all of my effort into the perfect adorable smile, ignoring everything else and looking like a dead eyed monster (but a really happy one). So, I grew concerned that I wasn't "smizing" (thanks for that, Tyra), so I focused entirely on what my eyes were doing and ended up completely forgetting what mouths look like when they're happy and excited for their friends.
At one point the photographer (who happened to be my friend Katie, and who had also been warned to watch for this) shouted, "Chris, do you realize you're side-eyeing someone right now?!"
"Yeah, but I was puckering my lips too, so it's cute...right? RIGHT?!"
Sorry if I ruined your precious memories, boys...
The reception was held at the Kato Ballroom, which has long been one of my favorite venues in town, largely because of the fantastic retro marquee above the entrance.
Let me tell you, I could get used to that Head Table stuff. I want to take all of my meals on a raised platform, lording over everyone else in the room. "Sorry all you peons had to go stand in line for food, I'm already halfway through my chicken and it's delicious."
At one point, I was getting a bit too animated telling a story, and as part of the story I exclaimed, "Excuse me!" more loudly than I anticipated. A hush fell over the crowd, and everyone looked up at me expectantly.
I've never felt more powerful in my entire life.
By the time the meal was over, I was a bit of a mess. I'd been brought to tears three times. The first time during a speech by one of the groomsmen. The second because the cake was soooooo good. And the third when Jamie took his turn to speak.
He went down the line and spoke beautifully about each of his groomsmen, thanking us each for everything we'd done to help shape him into who he is today. I was teetering on the edge from the start, but when he turned his attention to me...
"Oh god, we're finally at the part of the wedding that's about me!"
In the tradition of gays taking something that was good, and turning it into something really great, the boys blew it out of the water with their reception. I've never in my life had more fun at a wedding reception. I've been told that this is likely because I was in the wedding party, and also because I had a pocket full of drink tickets, but I'm pretty sure it was because it was just f#%!ing awesome.
Jamie and Simon had given the DJ pretty specific instructions. They wanted the dance to have the feel of a night out at a gay bar. Pounding bass beats, flashing lights, and absolutely, under no circumstances, no matter how much guests begged, was he to be inciting a chicken dance.
He played "Sissy That Walk" by RuPaul. It was perfect.
Tradition wasn't thrown completely out the window though...it was just given a bit of gay sparkle.
The dollar dance, for instance...
Or the wedding party's dance...
There was only one moment when I grew concerned that the DJ was taking the party away from the Grooms' vision. When the song "Fishin' in the Dark" came on, I immediately found my way to Jamie and asked if I needed to go shut it down.
Apparently it was on their list.
Midnight came too quickly, and the party was over. The marathon of wedding weekend was over. I was exhausted (I can't imagine what the people who did actual work felt like), but it was totally worth it. I'm so happy I got to be a part of celebrating Jamie and Simon's wedding, and I'm so proud to live in a time and a place where it is legal to do so. Love is love, and there was a lot of it that weekend.
I've spent the weeks since the wedding trying to convince the two of them to throw another one. Apparently it's a pretty expensive undertaking, but I think I'm wearing them down. Maybe we can do a Kickstarter or something?
Ooh! And if we raised extra money we can use it to build me a head table in the lunchroom at work!