Tying the Knot
Over the years, I have attended a number of weddings of former students. In most cases the invitation was based on the relationships that formed after the student graduated; for example, many graduates went on to become teammates of mine playing senior rugby. Based on the friendships formed I was often invited to attend their nuptials.
In this particular case, the invitation was from a student who had graduated jut a few years previously. I taught her in a number of classes and also directed her in a few musicals. I was flattered to receive the invitation.
It was late winter/early spring when Marie visited the school. I had just finished rehearsals for the musical Annie when she approached and handed me the invitation.
“Mr. Caines, I am getting married this summer.”
“Marie, congratulations. That’s great news.”
“You are invited, I hope you can make it.”
“Well, I hope so too. What is the date?”
She told me it was June 30th. I immediately realized that that was the date for my niece’s wedding. I told her about the conflict.
“Where is your niece’s wedding?”
“MY wedding is in Sussex too. What time is her wedding?”
“I’m not sure. 3:00 or 3:30 I believe.”
“My wedding is at 5:00!”
“Marie, it looks like I might be able to make it. I’ll have to check and see what time my niece’s reception begins but this could work out.”
My niece’s church wedding was scheduled for 3:30 with the reception being 5:30 for 6:00. Marie’s wedding was for 5:00 and, get this, the banquet room in which her ceremony was to take place was walking distance from the church. I figured I could, at least, be present for part of her ceremony. I suppose it was better to be there for a portion than not at all.
My niece’s wedding ended before 4:30. I had a bit of time to chat with cousins I hadn’t seen for a while before I left for the banquet hall. I arrived around 4:45.
I found Marie’s fiancé and extended my congratulations. I apologized that I would have to leave before the end of the ceremony and that I would miss the reception. He understood.
I then found Marie. We hugged, and she said that she was happy that I was able to be there, if only for part of the ceremony. I wished her well and made my way to the banquet room.
My plan was to sit near the exit so that I could sneak out; however, the way the seats were arranged, over half of the invitees would see me leave. Oh well, at least I was there.
5:00 – no bride
5:05 – no bride
5:10 – still no bride
5:11 – the music begins and in she comes
Now, I should point out that this was only my second civil marriage ceremony. Up until this point I was most familiar with church weddings, some lasting up to seventy-five minutes depending on which bells and whistles were included. I didn’t realize that when you pare it down to the bare bones, there is not a whole lot to the ceremony. It was over at 5:17 – THAT’S ONLY SIX MINUTES.
I jumped up and congratulated the newlyweds. I had time to chat with some friends; in fact, by 5:30 I was in the parking lot waiting for my family to pick me up.
Since that occasion I have been to a number of civil ceremonies but six minutes remains the record. I think there should be a rule stating that a marriage ceremony should AT LEAST be as long as it takes the groom to polish his shoes and put on his tux.
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