Oh man. So my brother got married a couple of weeks ago, and I just now decided to blog about it. I feel a little strange writing nearly a month after the fact, but it was a monumentous (a word I invented) occasion, and it’s worth writing about. Also, I’m really at a loss for ideas, and this one’s ripe for the picking.
I don’t usually write about my personal life, so I need to introduce a cast of characters:
– Steve: my brother
– Arielle: his new wife
– Dad: my dad
– Mom: my mom
So Steve and Arielle got married on a Sunday, but I got up to Boston (an American city where my brother lives) on Thursday. I was the best man, and I came in early at Steve’s request to meet his future in-laws (not sure if they qualify as my in-laws too) and to…well…just sort of be there. Which I was happy to do – I’m currently unemployed, and my time is split pretty evenly between eating junk food, having stomach aches, and then napping. I saw it as my main task to keep things light during a stressful time and insulate Steve from as much bullshit as possible – a task at which I believe I succeeded. Not too much to say about these couple of days, so I’m going to fast forward: Cheesecake Factory, bridesmaids, rehearsal dinner (executed flawlessly by Mom), explaining that Steve and I aren’t gay together (or separately), watching a man eat 180 oysters.
I’m going to slow down to acknowledge the suite I was staying in. It was practically the size of my apartment, and it had a king size bed and a dishwasher. A DISHWASHER! I was considering driving home just to pick up my dirty dishes and bring them back for the free cleaning.
Which brings us to the day of the wedding. That morning, Dad and I had to drive to the florist and pick up (guess what?) some flowers and such. We had just enough time to pick up the flowers, race back to the hotel, change into our suits, and head to the wedding. Or at least we should have. When we got to the florist, she told us she thought she had another hour to get ready. Fine. No reason to get excited, no need to worry the bride and groom. Dad and I went to get a bite to eat and when we came back, the lady was almost ready. What was holding her back, she told us, was that one of the chuppah poles wasn’t fitting into its stand.
(Parenthetical aside here for all the non-Jews on the internet – a chuppah is a tent under which the bride and groom traditionally stand while they perform the wedding ceremony. I believe it’s pronounced with a throat-clearing “ch” sound, but a regular “h” might be acceptable. It is composed of four posts with a tallis, or Jewish prayer shawl, stretched between them. It represents, well, something symbolic. I feel a little strange explaining this (I’m not a very good Jew, I’m only Jew-ish) but in the land of the people who can’t see so well, I guess the man who can kind of see okay is king.)
So one of the chuppah poles, a beautiful piece of birch, wasn’t fitting into its metal stand. It needed to be sawed down in order to fit. Now chuppah-pole-sawing wasn’t listed as one of my responsibilities as the best man, but I think it falls into the fine print clause of “handling shit.” So there I was, out on the street, sawing wood on my brother’s wedding day. And here I am, doing same, in photographic form:
After earning my woodworking merit badge (and sort of breaking the stand), we got everything to fit. Then it was off to the races (or the hotel, then the wedding).
To set the scene, the wedding took place at a farm (the reception was in a barn, but it wasn’t the kind of barn where they keep horses and horsepoop – it was the classy kind of barn). Another important detail – it was 400 degrees that day (Fahrenheit), and the relative humidity was in the thousands. Now, I happen to be a dude who sweats a lot (I like to think of it instead as condensation), and it was my job to lift heavy things and set them up, so I was off the charts pretty much immediately. Then, photo time! My only comfort was that nearly everyone else was also sweating through their clothes. Then we went into a gazebo for the traditional signing of the Jewish wedding contract, which has a Hebrew name that I’ve already forgotten. The rabbi had us all sing a song in which the only word was “die” while the document was signed by Steve, Arielle, and two witnesses. And since they had to sign in Hebrew, and none of them really know Hebrew, the song went on for what felt like 10 minutes (at which point, the lyrics became fitting).
What followed was a beautiful wedding ceremony. Steve and Arielle wrote letters to one another which they read aloud (letters which I, as the best man, proofread to make sure they were equally sweet and loving). They both looked unbelievably happy and content, Arielle in her beautiful dress, Steve in his the-only-Mossberg-able-to-pull-it-off vest. They exchanged vows, exchanged rings (which I totally didn’t forget to bring with me!) and sealed the deal with a kiss.
The reception (or “after-party” to R-Kelly) was a blast. But before the fun could start, I had to give a toast. I will sheepishly admit that I was unable to get to sleep the night before, agonizing over what I was going to say, running through it over and over again in my mind. Finally, I realized something important – my brother’s wedding day had nothing to do with me and nobody would care what I said. After that, I fell asleep promptly and slept well. I gave my toast, people said “aww,” and I could finally relax. The food was good – I wished I had a second stomach so that I could keep eating – and the wedding band, comprised of Steve’s friends, was kick-ass. I danced like a crazy man (who was dancing). Then we had the traditional Mossberg singalong, led by Steve at the piano. It began with a gorgeous duet with his new bride playing banjo and contained some of the best love songs known to man (and also “Kodachrome”). I even got to play the sax on “Just The Way You Are.” I think at first, people were unsure of exactly what to do, but by the end, they’d gotten over their apprehensions and were singing along in full.
Not much more to say. The night wrapped up at around 10:00, and after a trip to the 7-11 (and the best Gatorade ever consumed), the groomsmen ended up back at the hotel. I hung out for another couple of hours, and collapsed in my king size bed (DISHWASHER!). The next morning, I picked up a couple of friends and we all drove back to NYC. It was an event to remember, and though there are already like a gajillion photos on Facebook, I’m glad I got to document it here as well. Now is when I try to think of something witty to say and end my post, but instead I’d just like to express my love for Steve and Arielle, my joy and my well wishes for their future together. I love you, guys.