The instructions were fairly straightforward:
1) Wear a black or navy blue suit. (Check!)
2) Wear a white dress shirt with french cuffs. (Check! Later, uncheck as I realized I’d grabbed the wrong shirt on my way out of Vancouver).
3) Be at Lawrence’s parents’ place for noon. (Check!)
I wanted to make sure I was there in time because my failure to make the previous night’s bachelor pad had almost resulted in disastrous consequences for my buddy Lawrence, the groom to be. For future reference, in the event you are throwing a bachelor party for a friend and I am unable to attend and oversee the event, please observe the following rules:
* At the beginning of the night, do NOT take away the groom-to-be’s wallet and keys. Or, if you do, keep your eye on him and do not allow him to wander off at any point!
* While it may seem like a fun idea, please do NOT get the groom-to-be drunk to the point that he is incapable of making rational decisions. Or, if you do, keep your eye on him and do not allow him to wander off at any point!
* As the evening’s festivities draw to a close, make sure you have everything before you go: wallets, credit cards, THE GROOM-TO-BE! Did you remember to keep your eye on him and not allow him to wander off at any point?!
In all fairness to the gang that organized Lawrence’s stag, this post comes days too late. How could they have possibly known that when you hit the town, take away the groom-to-be’s keys and get him so drunk he is incapable of making rational decision, that you should KEEP YOUR EYE ON HIM AND NOT ALLOW HIM TO WANDER OFF AT ANY POINT!!!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Guess what happened at the bachelor party? At some point late in the festivities, a crazy-drunk and wallet-less Lawrence wandered off (He must have used some mad ninja skills to avoid detection otherwise there is no explaining how they could have lost THE GUEST OF HONOR). He managed to hail a cab and offer somewhat coherent instructions that resulted in him being driven home. Of course, the fact that he was wallet-less meant he couldn’t pay the cabbie, and the fact that he was key-less meant he couldn’t get inside his house to get the money to pay the cabbie. And so, after a testy discussion, the cabbie drove off in disgust, leaving Lawrence to wander up his driveway and finally settle down for a good night’s sleep. Outside his front door in the cool Autumn night air.
I suppose it could have been worse. At the very least, he survived the night. Nice going, guys.
So I wasn’t going to let my buddy down on his big day! His instructions said be there by noon, so I was there by noon!
My car rolled into the empty driveway. I rang the bell. The door was answered by some guy I didn’t know who stared at me like I was trying to sell him something. “I’m here for the wedding,”I said.
The door opened wider and, while his smile said “Come in!” his eyes said “WTF, man? It’s noon! Okay, you can come in, but you just sit there while I finish checking out my facebook account.” As I stepped into the vestibule, I was greeted by the hoot and holler of Lawrence’s family – all upstairs, still getting dressed. “I was told noon!”I said, briefly considering the possibility of heading back out and driving around the block for an hour.
Too late. I was ushered into the kitchen where I took a seat and feigned interest in that day’s local sports page while my greeter took a seat opposite me and checked his facebook account. Eventually (and, by eventually, I mean about a half an hour later), the rest of the groomsmen arrived – old high school acquaintance Bob, old high school acquaintance Scott, a guy called Gabby, and, finally, the man himself: Lawrence.
He brought gifts for his groomsmen: matching ties, scarves, personalized cufflinks (I was unable to wear), and, just for me…
The photographer’s assistant arrived (a lovely young lady who’d spent time in South Korea, she was an adventurous eater and we ended up discussing weird food and Asian cinema) and took a slew of pics. She insisted on taking shots of Lawrence helping us put on our boutonnieres. Through the magic of photography, it actually looked like he knew what he was doing. In reality, none of us did. Fortunately for us, the photographer was an expert at pinning those things to our jackets with minimal blood loss.
Also in attendance was this kid –
Not sure whether he was someone’s son or he just came with the corsages (buy a dozen, they throw in the kid for free) but the little guy had some great quotes, all directed at Lawrence:
Advising him on being on time for his own wedding: “Don’t be late, slowpoke.”
On his sister: “Your sister laughs a lot.”
On the fact that our limo didn’t show, necessitating self-drives to the ceremony: “No limo ride? This is the worst wedding ever!”
We drove to the wedding site, a venerable golf course located deep in the heart of who-knows-where. As we wound our way up past the various golfers in the midst of their games, I resisted the urge to fall back on traditional wedding car protocol and honk-HONK- HOOOOOOOOOOONK my way by. “Nice pants, buddy!!!”
As we headed inside, I stopped to meet a host of fellow guests. Including several who I’d apparently already met. As Bob said after the various pleased-ta-meetcha’s had been exchanged, it looked like my internal monologue was: “Hi! How awkward to meet you!”
The guests took their seats and I was hustled to the back room where the wedding party had gathered. The bridesmaid I’d been paired with assured me that even though I’d missed the rehearsal dinner, I’d be fine. All I had to do was walk down the aisle with her, then split up once we hit the altar. I go right, she goes left. The key was in the pacing. Not too fast, but not too slow. Just follow her lead. The music started up. We waited. More music. More waiting. Even more music. Even more waiting. Finally, someone asked if we were going to be cued. Groomsman Gabby scurried up to find out and then, seconds later, came bounding back, waving us forward. We charged out of that back room like diner patrons escaping a grease fire – then slowed our pace as we hit the aisle.
Boy, I nailed it. I was basking in the glory of my terrific aisle walk, so I ended up missing most of the ceremony – but from what I could gather there was a reading, another reading, the exchange of vows and rings, and that was that. Time for dinner and it couldn’t have come a moment sooner. I was starving!
Alas, as it turned out, dinner was a ways off. The wedding party and immediate family headed out onto the grounds where we took some pics. No, scratch that. We headed out onto the grounds where we stood around and waited for the bride’s brother who had saddled up to the open bar and was presumably in no hurry to abandon his beer. We waited. Eventually, we sent someone inside to get him. Then we sent someone else inside to get the both of them. Then, moments later, someone else to get the three of them. Twenty more minutes and we’d have all been back at the bar.
Eventually, the brother came out, beer in hand, and we took photos. Then, more photos. And more photos still. Finally, we were done. I headed inside, looking forward to dinner. I was absolutely ravenous.
Unfortunately, dinner would have to wait while the bride and groom took even more shots. So, I picked my poison, campari and soda (seriously, it DOES taste like poison!) and spent the next hour chatting with my old high school buddies, a surprisingly sober John, and Nigel who made the 12-hour car trip from Ohio with his new wife and dog. After a couple of drinks, we were instructed to make our way to the main room. Finally! Dinner!
Not so fast! In order to eat, you had to make your way through the procession. And with some 150 guests queued up, it was going to take a while. About another hour to be exact. The other groomsmen and I tried to keep the pace up, escorting the guests from the wedding party to their table (“Okay, granny, quit with the chit-chat! People gotta eat! Let’s go! Let’s go!”).
I ducked out to wash my hands and came back to find the parents and wedding party getting ready to head inside. I took up position alongside my bridesmaid partner and waited. As the emcee announced each couple in turn, their grand entrance was accompanied by a signature tune. I wondered: What had Lawrence chosen for me? Hero by Enrique Igelsias? Wind Beneath My Wings? Enter Sandman? They announced our names and we marched in – to the theme from Star Wars. Close enough!
Dinner, when it was finally served, was surprisingly good.
I’m not going to bother with a pic of the salad. It was a salad.
The dessert was a trio made up of a dark chocolate truffle, white chocolate cake, and milk chocolate mousse. Again, surprisingly good.
Then, it was time for the obnoxious DJ to take over. Boy, did this guy loooove the sound of his own voice. Two more drinks under my belt and I’m sure I would have clocked him. It was a flashback to my wedding some twelve years back. The shoe game! The dancing single men! The cutting of the cake!
Speeches, speeches, speeches. All mercifully short and entertaining.
Come midnight, it was time for a tradition reserved for weddings and cruise lines: The Midnight Buffet!
All in all, a great night. We should do it again sometime.