Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wedding, In Summary

It's 8 am. I've been married for, well, neighborhood of forty hours now. We have to check out of the room by 11, so time is a factor--also, I'm a bit tired, and those circumstance often lead to me typing like a drunken wildebeest. So if I leave any hoof-prints on this post, mea culpa, I'm sorry.

Vegas. It's like a slightly more self-aware Hollywood. It knows exactly why people are here, and it tells a few more jokes at its own expense. And the people there are funny--the wedding officiant was funny, the receptionist was funny, even the monorail had some good one-liners. But I get the impression that if you stayed around long enough, you'd start to hear the same jokes over and over again. Also, if you're ever in Vegas, walking around on the strip, be aware that there are people behind you trying to walk faster than you are!

We saw a few free shows: the fountain at the Bellagio, very classy. The "Sirens of TI" outdoor stunt/dance thing at Treasure Island. Meh. The light show over Fremont Street. Meh, again. The need to be sexy and tap into that forbidden-fruit vibe is tempered with the legal obligation to be family friendly for such outdoor viewed-by-everybody affairs. The result is, effectively, G-rated porn. Long on innuendo and bravado, but ultimately not that entertaining.

We also saw Penn and Teller--and that was a great show. Then we got autographs and pictures with them, which will no doubt appear on Facebook some time this weekend. Penn kept saying "how you doing, boss?" while signing autographs, and Abby asked him if everyone in the audience was "boss" to him, and he told her that in a very real way, yes, we were. Again, classy.

I forced myself to gamble, but in the end I think I only ended up losing about $12. I might have played Blackjack if I could have found a table with less than a $10 minimum bet. Most of the table games have become derivatives of Texas Hold 'Em to capitalize on the World Series of Poker craze. Incidentally, America is officially over the WSoP, if the clearance racks at the gift stores are any indicator.

Anyway, I played some slots, but slots are excruciatingly dull. It's not like the movies, where you put a coin in, throw a lever, watch the wheels spin, and then your winnings come out of the bottom (when applicable). I didn't see a single slot machine that took coins or that paid money, it's all done with tickets now (although they accept bills). Most of them are completely computerized--only a handful had wheels. Lots had levers, but the lever was decorative, you could always operate the machine using buttons on the front. So, gambling came down to pushing a button over and over until your credit count reached zero. I stuck to the draw-poker themed games, where it felt like you were at least actively doing something between mindless button-pushes.

We came to Vegas to elope, but Abby and I seem to be incapable of doing anything in the traditional way, so we invited our families and friends to Vegas to join us. There were 12 in attendance. All of our parents, Abby's Aunt Sue, my brother Richard (who was kind enough to "witness" for us), my sister Liz and her husband Pat. Abby's brother Bill had military obligations that kept him from joining us, but his wife Denise was there, along with her sister Tina. Then a couple we socialize with in St. Louis, Beth and Kevin, also attended.

I don't know if the little chapel could have held a 13th.

No, we weren't married by Elvis. It was an "officiant", which is a like a minister only of narrower purpose and broader application. We elected to have the non-religious ceremony, because every religious wedding becomes a study of 1 Corinthians 13:4 and I've got that one down, thanks (okay, full disclosure, there are other reasons as well). So instead of hearing about how "love is patient" and how "love is kind", we were told to be "patient with each other" and "kind to one another".

Le sigh.

But it was a very enjoyable ceremony, and we have a video of it and lots of great photos. My favorite part was about three words into my vow when Abby's emotions kicked in--her lip began to quiver and she was wringing my hand to beat the band (what a horrible turn of phrase, mea culpa, it's the wildebeests). I jest, but it was very moving for me. And that was when the mothers began to cry.

Afterwards we had dinner at Casa di Amore, which has fabulous Italian food, a very professional wait staff, brilliant Chianti, and the scuzziest limo I've ever ridden in. They had a keyboardist with a very Italian face and almost-as-Italian fedora who played music in the bossa-nova/Sinatra vein. He started with Girl from Iponema which he played twice during his first set. Yeah. He had the artificial drum-machine going, so there was some cheese, but, hell, I liked it; I had hit the Chianti pretty hard, so I was bopping along next to my new father-in-law. We got some Bobby Darin out of him: Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea.

Liz and Pat requested some Righteous Brothers, since their "song" is Unchained Melody. Instead, they got You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', which, in addition to being a totally non-apropos song for a wedding reception, is the song that the DJ at Liz and Pat's wedding accidentally started for the bride and groom's first dance as a married couple. Incidentally, we got one of those, and I couldn't identify the song, but Abby was singing along. Hopefully she'll remember the title so I can write it down somewhere.

Richard watched the baseball game.

I'm beginning to understand the need for spectacle: why a wedding needs to be either a totally last-minute-what-the-fuck-let's-just-do-it or a long, planned-out, expensive ordeal. The reason is that guys are basically chickenshit. We need to be either completely taken off-guard by it, or we need to see that the train is too big and moving too fast to be derailed.

I've been discussing this with married friends. I ran the gamut of bizarre emotions that guys run to prior to and during a wedding--emotions that any guy will understand and that any girl will certainly not. And it's not like I haven't wanted to get married to Abby for three-odd years now. The peak of it occurred around T-Minus 4 hours. I had been left unattended (seriously, somebody screwed up there) in the room with nothing to do except panic. I kept telling myself that it was now or never, and while "now" is a little nerve-racking, "never" is far, far more frightening. And then something remarkable happened.

A double-shot of Jamesons.

Not really (the Jamesons happened all right, but that's not what steadied my nerves). I put on my suit, and the panic abated. Largely. Part of it is because I clean up pretty well, and I was able to distract myself by looking in the mirror and saying things like "my God, I'm gorgeous" and the like (3rd Rock from the Sun joke... anybody?) More than that, there was something about donning the uniform of the groom-to-be that got my head into the game, as it were, so to speak, if I may mix metaphors.

Damned wildebeests.

And then Abby returned, in her dress, and admitted that everyone asking her if she was nervous was starting to make her nervous. And that was a comfort too. Then it was more like Kurt-and-Abby-versus-the-wedding. If that makes any sense.

And now I'm married. And things haven't really changed. Well, Abby occasionally breaks into pseudo-maniacal laughter and says "you're mine, now", but other than that...



Amy said...

You're the only person I know who finds time to write a 2,000-word essay on his honeymoon.
Congrats to you both! I think it's a good sign when "things haven't really changed" after marriage.
Can I see pictures?

Bill Haworth said...

I am sorry I missed it, though I about got smoked by my First Sergeant (head NCO for any company-sized unit) for watching the wedding almost before he was done with his nightly meeting. *shrug* Worth it. Invite me however many years from now when you guys go to Maui (or the Moon, depending on how long you wait) to renew your vows. I'll make it then, promise.

As for needing either the juggernaut of the spectacle or the ambush of the elopement, I really didn't need either. Of course, I waited so long and went through so many possible candidates that when I decided it was time, I became the juggernaut of the proceedings. Come on, you've met her family and heard the horror stories - think I'd have put up with that if I wasn't sure? Some people need those things, but I was good and ready to stop living the bachelor life and move in with someone on a permanent basis.

Kurt said...

The song I alluded to above, I've since learned, is Something In The Way You Look Tonight.