Sunday, June 18, 2006

(milwaukee) the wedding

(example of notes taken on my tablet PC at wedding)

Without further delay, here are my written-live-but-posted-later notes from the wedding, as survived a unduly laborious tablet-writing-to-text conversion as well as a strange hardware malfunction earlier today. I reserve the right to clean up, correct, or otherwise change the text later.

The wedding is at Saint Hedwig church in Milwaukee. Rumor has it that W & K chose this church from among three Catholic contenders mostly by the usual criteria but also partly because the name is the same as that of the owl in the Harry Potter books.

The church is beautiful and has the Stations of the Cross and all the other iconic-acoutrements that give Catholicism its timeless gravitas. I have to admit I find the bright red conga drums a bit incongruous with everything else, but they are off to the side. The Lutheran church I went to as a kid started having a contemporary service and for it had this bright red drum set near the front with "New Song" emblazoned on it, which was more distracting.

S looks nice. she's wearing these shiny black Mary Janes with heels that she has worn to every wedding except when she has been a bridesmaid. She considers them lucky, because she has never been to a wedding in which the couple later divorced or even had a particularly animated argument. The shoes are cutting into her feet but she says that wearing them has become her duty.

I am in a suit. I forgot a tie in Cambridge and so borrowed two alternatives from Sal. S. rejected both (mostly out of the principle that guys can't fend for themselves tie-wise) and made me borrow the tie W wore to the rehearsal dinner. This is the first item of Tommy apparel I have ever worn.

The tablet is so discreet with my black suit that A. didn't even notice it until I pointed it out to her.

A key point of suspense for the ceremony will be whether W wears a monocle. Yes! A monocle. The monocle was central to K's vision for the ceremony. A monocle has been purchased, but W has been resistent to the idea of actually wearing it during the ceremony. To my knowledge, the outcome of this battle remained undetermined even as of last night.

I am not sitting in the last row of guests as would be my preference. We mis-projected what this would be and so there are at least three rows with some guests behind me. S was surprised last night to see herself listed in the program as "Wedding Coordinator, North Carolina," Within minutes of arriving at the church for the rehearsal last night she was put in charge of the six flower girls. (all between the ages of 2 and 5). She's off managing them now and then will slip in discreetly and join us. Her instruction before the wedding to the lead flower girl: "You just have to do two things: walk slow and look like a princess."

The procession begins. The lead flower girl does, indeed, look like a princess.

The bridemaids are in green with green bouquets. K's sister, the master of style and girlification herself, is Maid of Honor. For those who wrongly think girlification is about traditional femininity, K's sister did just shave her armpits this morning for the first time in four years.

W & K hired a bagpipes player for the wedding music. Indeed, the date for the wedding was set partly due to the availability of the player. Bagpipes would not have occurred to me personally but they are on now for the wedding march (or whatever its called), and they sound gorgeous.

K, it would go without saying except this is the official-blog-record and thus must be said, looks stunning. She is wearing orange heels handmade of silk in New York. They were the first thing she bought for the wedding. She has earrings to match and her hair up. She looks elegant in that way that is especially-effectively-pulled-off when a woman is tall with good posture. S told me that K was a little surprised by the conservatism cleavage-wise of the dress she picked out--apparently she had always envisioned herself styling as a bridal provocateur. K and her father are smiling widely chatting about something as they pass by me down the aisle.

Last night, S asked K as she was practicing walking down the aisle, "Isn't someone else supposed to walk for you? Isn't it bad luck?" K replied, "We don't believe in luck. We believe in God." (Earlier, btw, I had to explain to to S that if you aren't religious, you are supposed to either look down respectfully during prayers or just fake it.)

W is wearing a brown suit with an orange boutenir to match K's shoes, but no monocle.

First hymn, "Praise to Lord Almighty." As with all hymns, I sometimes pretend to sing and sometimes don't even both pretending. The hymn includes the rhyme of "reigned" and "sustained" FT is singing loudly and has a good voice. It must be awful to be a priest who can't sing.

First prayer makes reference to the "Holy mystery" of marriage; first reading is the new covenant passage from Jeremiah.

One of K's brothers is cantor. We're doing the "responsorial psalm" which has as its antiphon: "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord; Taste and see the goodness of the lord." He raises his right hand for the parts to signal the parts where we are supposed to be responsorial. S whispers, "those Flynns are all good singers."

Second reading is by W's father who is in theater. W & K have known each other since children but only started dating in last two years. When K was a child, she knew she wanted to have W's father read at her wedding one day because he was such a good reader. Back then, though, there was not the idea of accomplishing this via marrying W.

Gospel read by FT. It's the passage from John that includes: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

FT does the homily standing in the aisle, walking back and forth between W & K and the first row of attendees. "This marriage is an act of hope." He mostly talks directly to the couple and then turns and steps back toward the audience when he is making a joke.

FT says he has a gift for the couple. A knotted rosary made by an older member of the parish. He talks about a different parishoner who had been like 90 and had made more than 30,000 of these knotted rosary. FT said he told the woman, "You know, since you've made so many of these rosaries, you could probably sin a bit know if you wanted." To which she replied: "Father, I took care of that before I ever made any of them."

FT talks about the knotted rosary in terms of it being a metaphor for the "circle of life" for a married couple and the "flexible circle" (since the rosary does, after all, stretch and marriages do, after all, require flexibility). Then he says he will give it to them on one condition: sometime, and he assures them they they will know it is the right time, they need to give the rosary to someone else.

(The rosary streches enough that, had W worn a monocle, he could have used it to shoot the monocle into the crowd after the ceremony as a prize for some lucky attendee. These are the kinds of things I think would be great crowd-pleasers at weddings but no one else ever agrees.)

S cries during the vows. W first, then K. "I will love and honor you, all the days of my life." The church is hot--it's over 85 degrees in Milwaukee today-- and the programs are being pressed into service as fans by many in attendance.

Rings. Again, W first, then K. "As a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father..."

At the rehearsal, W just pecked K at the kissing moment and the priest told him that lip contact so brief was NOT satisfactory. He does better in the ceremony. Indeed, FT notes this to the audience.

Prayers of the Faithful: This is the part where various contingencies of "For those who" are listed and everyone says "Lord hear our prayer." While I have known people to slip idiosyncratic requests in here, their list seems pretty conventional.

Lord's prayer, doxology, nuptual blessing. The last includes "May you live to old age together in the company of family and friends. May you live to see your children's children's children." They are also told to live their lives "so the afflicted and needy will find in you friends"

Apparently there will not be the part where the priest asks if there are any objections. If I had a live Internet connection, I was going to allow readers to e-mail in any objections that I would voice on their behalf.

W & K kneel, parents come forward for nuptial blessing. Then to the Altar of Mary. Ave Maria from the balcony. S whispers, "Mary is like the big difference between Protestants and Catholics, right?"

W & K walk back down the aisle. They smile at us as they pass. The last person they pass on the aisle before leaving the church (i.e., in the back pew) is K's dissertation's advisor, whose eyes are all red from crying.

Outside the church K motions to S and S goes over to retrieve some flowers from her. K: "What did you think?" S: "It was so beautiful. It made me cry." K: "That's what we were trying for."

Update: Apparently W did have the monocle with him the whole time, and posed with it at the ceremony.


jlp said...

Extraordinarily grand writing! Great attention to significant details, contextual backstory tid-bits--and of course, the humorous gems. (I now feel ripped-off that the best--stand-up material wise--I came away with from the last wedding I attended was a note that the homily contained, "we are all more evil than we know." I did not notice that priest to be nearly as personable as FT's been illustrated to be.)

I was on the edge of my seat as to whether the monocle would be a deal-breaker.

Hearty congrats and best wishes to your pals!!!

captain crab said...

I almost cried just reading the blog!

Simpleton said...

Since we had signed the license the night before, there really wasn't an appropriate moment for W to pull out the monocle during the ceremony. He did have it in his pocket the whole time though.

Anonymous said...

why the W, K, S, etc. pseudonyms?

jeremy said...

Granted, they are pretty thinly veiled pseudonyms, but it's also easier writing when one can just use one-letter abbreviations.