Recently a friend asked me: “If you could perform a wedding, what would it be like?” Well, in fact, I have performed three weddings in my life — all illegal. In two cases, the celebrants weren’t looking for a “true” marriage. In the third instance, the couple was married by a justice of the peace before I arrived.
I didn’t have complete control over these nuptials. The marrying couples designed the solemnities. What if I could create my own ceremony? Let me see….
1) How about an entirely nude wedding? (And I mean entirely: the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the maid of honor — and of course the clergyman!)
2) I would love to sing an entire wedding, as an oratorio. Admittedly, I tend to go off-key, but I love singing, and a tone-deaf couple with musically ignorant family and friends would, I’m sure, be deeply moved.
3) A minimalist wedding, where I choose one word out of the Bible as the entire sermon. Let me do it right now, for practice: field. [Full disclosure: I don’t own a copy of the Bible, so I used the Koran.]
4) “Disneybounding” refers to Disney fans subtly “quoting” the style of their favorite characters, such as a pearl necklace or a hairdo — in order to evade Disney World rules against adults dressing exactly like Disney cartoons. I’d love to perform a Disneybounding ceremony, especially if I could marry Olaf (the snowman from Frozen) to Pinocchio!
5) An elevator is a cozy — and cheap! — location in which to exchange vows. (For a large wedding party, a freight elevator is preferable.) How pleasant to rise upwards while entering the state of wedded bliss.
6) While I was writing this essay, the pope married a couple in midair!
Here’s what happened. Paula Ruiz and Carlos Elorriga, two Chilean flight attendants, wished to wed, but could not easily do so, because their church was destroyed in the 2010 Chilean earthquake. So Pope Frances himself married them on Airbus 321, traveling from Santiago to Iquique, a city in northern Chile. This was the first papal midair wedding in history.
Anything the pope can do, I can do better! I am happy to marry hang gliders, parachutists and astronauts in outer space. (Also I would marry two space aliens — or even three!)
7) How about a wedding staged as a heavyweight boxing match, where the two “contenders” come out of opposite corners, dressed in striped shorts, wearing boxing gloves, and I stand in the center, in the garb of a referee? I might announce:
In this corner, weighing 165 pounds, from Laguna Beach, California: “Jostling” Jeffrey Scott Gordinier! In this corner, weighing 128 pounds, from Los Angeles, California: “Lucky” Lauren Elyse Fonda! I want to see a clean wedding, no hitting below the belt – and remember, protect yourself at all times!
8) Alexander Dumas said: “No one needs a poet until someone dies or gets married. Then a poet is essential.” It occurs to me that I am a poet, so perhaps I could read my poems in a wedding rite. For example:
No Reason to Love You
I have no reason to love you.
You’re not that good-looking, or smart.
Your wardrobe is atrocious.
But I love you, uncontrollably,
I wish your teeth were nicer,
or you said something interesting.
But I love you, for no reason,
no reason at all.
Full of Love
I’m so full of love
I even love my dentist.
In fact, I love your dentist!
9) But whatever type of wedding I conduct, I’ll give this speech: “If there is a God, may God bless every moment of your union. And if, as we all suspect, God is a myth, may every tree and shoe store and water fountain bless you. May blessings arise from each street corner and cell phone, and cover you as you walk.
“And may you find TV shows and web series that you enjoy together, that aren’t too violent or too juvenile, and may you only binge occasionally, so that you receive some well-needed rest!
“Everyone knows that marriage requires compromise, but the question is: Who should win each compromise? (Because deep down we all know one side or the other always wins a compromise.) And the answer is: the wife should win. Maybe every 900 compromises, the guy should come out ahead in one. But in general, women deserve the upper hand. (One reason: women are usually right.)
“But, most of the time, forget which one of you is the ‘man’ and which is the ‘woman.’ These are outdated terms. A woman is just a man who shaves his legs. A man is just a woman who shaves her face. And stop shaving your face and legs! Concentrate on the important matters in life: playing card games and doing crossword puzzles. That’s what marriage is for. Americans turn everything into work, while it is meant to be play.
“My advice is: just think to yourself, ’I’m getting married for the next 25 minutes.’ Twenty-five minutes from now, decide if you want to renew this legal bond, or if you’d rather file for divorce. Twenty-five minutes later, decide again. Continue in this manner until you either die or fall in love with the furnace repair man.
“We have been misled by Hollywood films to believe that love must be between a young man and a young woman, bicycling together near a lake. But you can’t bicycle forever, and there isn’t always a nearby lake. In fact, there are 45,000 types of love, most of them invisible to us. Amoebae experience love. So do turnips. Two people standing in line together at the Motor Vehicles Bureau who never speak feel a subtle type of love. Water falls to earth in the form of rain, or snow, or hailstones, out of love. Forget ‘romance’! Open your eyes to all the loves surrounding you. In fact, you may love everyone you meet, as long as you don’t sexually molest them. Good luck!”