For a few minutes yesterday, I had the most important job in the world. I had the great honor of officiating at the wedding of my nephew David and his love, Amanda.
My role in the wedding was to write, and say, a few words, which will soon be forgotten. My real responsibility was to Not Screw Anything Up, and hopefully I did OK in that regard. It was my first time officiating a wedding, but I was honestly more nervous about finding the right words to say rather than actually performing the ceremony.
In my pre-wedding research, I came across a poem that would have been great, as Amanda and David are both dog lovers. The poem, by Taylor Mali, is called “How Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog,” and the verse I liked best was:
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Alas, though, the ceremony was outside and there were about a million bridesmaids and groomsmen who were all standing up and I had an explicit mandate to keep it short and sweet, so the poem didn’t make it into the ceremony. I also thought about quoting from another poet, Natalie Merchant, but although the line “When May is rushing over you…” would have been perfect for this perfect May day, it just didn’t fit into the context of what I had to say. Ultimately, a quote from George Eliot made the cut, bookended with a quote the couple had selected from Dr. Seuss, with a few words of my own in between.
The ceremony, I think, went off without a hitch. As far as I know, I didn’t commit any major gaffes. (If I did, they’re preserved for eternity because I was miked up to the hilt: one headset microphone for the sound system and a lapel mic for the video.) We didn’t get around to actually signing the marriage certificate until late in the evening as the reception was winding down; we all signed on our respective lines while I held a phone for illumination—not exactly how it was done in the old days.
Anyway, it was a great experience, and I’m thrilled to have been able to play a part in Amanda and David’s big day.