Lots of women have their dream weddings perfectly mapped out in their minds. The dress. The hair. The cake. The venue. The centerpieces. It’s totally acceptable for a lady to envision all the critical elements of her wedding day; long before she meets the person she will marry. Men, not so much. There’s a myth that guys never want to be married, but if some woman tricks him into marriage through riddles or holograms, he certainly has no interest in planning the wedding.
Not me, though. I already have a perfect vision of my special day. It’s a little unconventional, sure, but I think if I meet a woman who really loves me, she’ll understand how important it is that my wedding day be magical.
The ceremony will not take place in any kind of religious institution. I’m not an especially religious person. And I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by picking one denomination over another. Instead, friends and family would congregate in some kind of elegant open foyer with a grand sweeping staircase on either side. The floors are made of the kind of hard, thick tile that clicks satisfyingly underfoot with each step if one is wearing hard-soled shoes. There is a skylight. This becomes important later. Samuel L. Jackson, who in this scenario has become my best friend, presides over the ceremony.
A solemn quiet falls over the crowd as the bride appears. She’s wearing… I don’t know… whatever. Sensible shoes. That’s the most important part. In fact, everyone is wearing sensible shoes. The invitations will list the dress code as: “Business on top, party on the feet.”
The organist begins to play “Oye Como Va” by Santana, and the bride walks down the aisle. She’s smiling. Everyone feels at ease. She stands beside Samuel L. Jackson, who nods and winks. The organ music stops. Everything is in its right place. But where is the groom?
As seconds tick by, a blanket of anxiety swaddles the crowd. People shift in their seats. The older attendees emit audible sounds of concern. Faces contort into expressions of pained sympathy for the bride. Samuel L. Jackson looks at his watch.
At the instant of critical discomfort, the skylight shatters. Don’t worry; it was made out of prop glass. I come crashing into the foyer wearing an American flag jumpcedo (jump suit/tuxedo). My parachute catches on a bolt in the wall, and I cut myself down with a machete. All eyes are on me as I approach my bride. I hand the machete to Samuel L. Jackson, who nods and winks.
“Dearly beloved,” he begins, “we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, ‘life.’ It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time. But I’m here to tell you… there’s something else. The afterworld. A world of never ending happiness. You can always see the sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr. Everything’llbealright, instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask how much of your mind, baby.”
With that, the band launches into Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” My new wife and I kiss. Everyone cheers. Well-trained monkeys clear away the chairs, and the dancing begins immediately. Anyone who requests “Love Shack” is laughed at by the DJ. Anyone who requests a song from the Grease soundtrack is quietly ejected from the party, and whatever gift they brought will be mailed to their home at a later date. That is maybe the most important part of my fantasy.
Instead of a sit-down meal, there is a pizza buffet. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan pizzas, so no one complains. There are also plenty of pizzas with bacon, so no one complains. When everyone finishes their first slice of pizza, my wife and I thank everyone for coming and inform the crowd that everyone is expected to give a toast. Each person will have sixty seconds to speak (with the exception of our parents, the best man, and the maid of honor, who will each have four minutes). If any guest decides not to speak, we will all sit in uncomfortable silence until the next person is on the clock. Toasts do not have to relate to the bride or groom. They can be about Phil Collins or milkshakes or the Miami Dolphins. Just something to make everyone feel good.
Since the toasts could take a while, waiters serve slices of wedding pie as the guests listen to each speaker. Yes, wedding pie. Cake is fine. Pie is the best. There will be several varieties of pie. You will have chosen yours when sending back your RSVP. If you do not like pie, you were probably not invited to my wedding.
When the toasts are finished, all relatives who are older than 1.75 times the age of the bride or groom (whichever they’re related to) break off into a separate old person party where they listen to old people music and talk about old people things like politics and the PGA tour. They drink coffee, tea, or red wine until bedtime. The younger people leave the foyer and head out to a nice park where there are lots of places to sit. They drink cheap beer and finish the leftover pizza, which is now cold, obviously. They hang out until way past bedtime reminiscing and making friends with each other’s friends. They also listen to old people music. Two people who have never met before kiss for the first time and eventually get married years later.
Just before dawn, when several friends have already headed for their hotel rooms, I address the remaining crowd. “Thank you so much for coming. Obviously, marriage is a sham, like college, but it comes with a lot of tangible legal benefits, and it’s a great excuse to throw a party. It means everything that you were here.”
Ethan, my childhood best friend asks: “Are you going to cry?”
“DOES JOSH GONDELMAN LOOK LIKE A BITCH?” bellows Samuel L. Jackson. Everyone laughs, and that is the cue for us all to go to bed. My wife and I talk until we pass out about how nice everything was and how good it was to see so many people we love all together celebrating with us. We sleep until the afternoon.
And our honeymoon is in space.