My friends Lindsey and Michael are getting married today. Sometime around 4 o’clock, they will trudge through the deep Minnesota snow to the park behind their old stomping grounds of the St. Louis Park Rec Center dressed in warm, comfortable clothing, and brave the cold temperatures (high of 18°F) surrounded by their immediate family, as our friend Adam binds them with words validated by a certificate from the State of Minnesota, confirming the legality of his ability to wed them for as long as they both shall live. At 4:10, they will walk to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a celebratory feast. Later, friends will trickle in to clink glasses and share the happiness of not only the newlyweds, but of the tiny human who has been kicking it (so, so literally) in Lindsey’s belly for 7.5 months.
Now that’s my kind of wedding.
Please, no gifts, they said, but I made them a CD entitled Not Your Average Love Song anyway, because seriously, who makes people CDs anymore? The first song, a little ditty called “For Better For Worse” by Old Man Markley, ends with the singer killing his lover as the listener realizes she’s been married to another man the whole time. Not your typical love song per say, but if the proverbial We have learned anything in Life, we’ve learned love doesn’t work out perfectly, pretty much most of the time. I am just being realistic. I do not want to sugar coat Marriage on Day One. That shit is hard. I am completely unqualified to make that statement, I’m simply repeating what I’ve been told. Some may think it an inappropriate song to include on a wedding CD, but not for these two. It’s full of energy and life, despite the murder.
I’m not completely sold on the whole marriage thing, for so many different reasons, but if I were to enter a permanent relationship, it would go a little something like this:
I would pick a lake somewhere in the Boundary Waters, or if I really wanted to get serious, somewhere near my Dad’s second home in the Quetico. I would send people maps in advance, with a date and time to arrive at the tiny dot circled on the map. Those who made it before that specified time would witness a simple union of love on an island, from their floating seats on the clear water. Then everyone would set up camp ashore, break out their guitars, banjos, harmonicas, mandolins, fiddles, (I have a fair amount of musically inclined friends, but I am not above making new ones to complete this hypothetical wedding) and we’d sing, drink whiskey, and enjoy each other’s company all night, asking Mother Nature to forgive us for breaking the silence of the starry night for just one evening. No money, no gifts, and not just because I don’t want to weigh down my pimped out wedding canoe, but because I am 33 years old and if I’ve lived 33 years without a bocce ball set or fancy cookware, I can probably make do the next 33 without them; just the presence of the people we love most.
But that’s just me. I’m not trying to take away from any of my friends and family who rocked a more traditional wedding. My sister Tessa’s was the most beautiful I have ever been a part of, and my friend Lisa’s will most certainly go down as the best Four Day Celebration in Wedding History. (Even if I were to retell the events of the days leading up to the infamous Dinndorf wedding, people wouldn’t believe me. That kind of good.)
But those weddings that spiral out of control, taken over by mothers and grandparents, driven by extended families, somehow becoming a monster of its own, totally not representing the two people in the middle of it all. It becomes more about the flowers and the location and the food and the dress than the real reason this whole thing is even happening. Love gets lost in the shuffle of a bunch of crap. So I’d eliminate all of the middlemen and boil it down to the only things that matter at that particular moment: you (whoever you are) and me and Us. And all of those people willing to paddle and portage to celebrate with us.
So congratulations to my friends, newlyweds, and soon to be parents, Lindsey and Michael. I am honored to have the opportunity to clink glasses and share in your happiness, celebrating the simplicity of Love.