My First Wedding (2006)
NOTE: In a nod towards professional integrity, the name of the DJ has been omitted.
I just went to my first wedding. At twenty-six, for a long time I had been the oldest person I knew who had never been to a wedding, this drought due to a tiny extended family and emotionally disorganised friends. (I just sneezed and now there’s a small galaxy of rainbow stars on the screen, I just smeared them into a whirlpool with my t-shirt) Finally one of my best, long-term school friends set a date for her ceremony to be held on a beach – in southern Tasmania – in the middle of winter. Apparently it was easy to book.
The groom said the night before he had prayed to Buddha and emailed email@example.com asking for nice weather, and sure enough his e-prayers were answered by clear skies and a surprisingly mild fourteen degrees. The groom’s father and sister performed ‘Even When I’m Sleeping’ as the bride and her father appeared on the sand. My heart sped. There’s something about seeing your friend in ‘that’ white dress – her face a picture of graceful excitement Their relationship of seven years had graduated. Their love was strong, intelligent and optimistic, and I was warming my hands in the glow, as waves swelled and crashed from behind.
The vows were show-stopping. The pair had penned their own and seemed to ad-lib them from within a force-field of joy. “You are my easter, you are my christmas, you are my chocolate, you are my television. You’re the one I’ve been waiting for, I will love you until the sea runs dry and the world stops turning – ps, you’re hot.” The ceremony was a fitting blend of wackiness (when the bride first walked out, the groom went to give her a kiss, before realising he wasn’t allowed to yet) and inspiringly sure-footed emotional honesty. Yeah, I had tears in my eyes – in a blokey way.
Trouble came late in the evening through the music practitioner aptly titled ‘DJ ****.’ DJ **** had come for free, a gift from the groom’s work. For most of the evening, he had been playing generic, nondescript background techno. Having miraculously slipped in one Bob Evans song, we became aware he at least had an ‘alternative’ section. After strolling behind his speaker fortress I queried him on his tastes, suggesting some Beck, Eels and Belle and Sebastian. He typed away furiously on his laptop, eying me nervously and suggesting he might be stretching his resources. I assumed this meant he only had about six songs that weren’t completely shit.
DJ **** redeemed himself later in the evening with an impassioned if not slightly unsettling ‘puppet display’ featuring him manipulating and voicing Grover and Ernie hand-puppets from behind his booth, much to the wonderment of the kiddies and particularly hammered adults. After the bridal waltz, **** launched into a 70’s/80’s dancefloor assault, complete with indecipherable narration between songs despite strict instructions from the bride and groom ‘never to talk.’ I thought about remonstrating, but by this stage **** was wearing a peaked cap, with ‘DJ ****,’ written on it, so I figured he’d been through enough.
Late in the evening, a wobbly, creamy moon appeared above the sea, so the bride and groom collected a few of us and dashed out to have a quick dance in the moonlight. About fifteen of us held hands as the bride and groom thanked the ‘special ones’ for coming. Watching them waltz, barefoot and freezing, I thought the idea of true love was similar to what I’d been taught in my creative writing degree.
Show don’t tell.