Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Marital Bliss

The wedding festivities consist of a bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and two receptions. I thought it was called your special "day", not your special "week"?

I arrive in time for the bachelorette party, in which everyone gets exceedingly drunk. The hotel room is wallpapered with cut-outs of the male anatomy courtesty of Playgirl (and Kelly for providing it). Elizabeth recruits a ring of underage male strippers, proceeds to bite one on the ass, and sends them all packing fearing for their lives. Our bride, Kristie, spends the following day "puking and pooping" (her words) in recovery from said festivities.

The week takes a turn for the worse. The happy couple just wants to elope, and admittedly doesn't enjoy being the center of attention. The parents, however, have taken the wedding to heart. Kristie's mom has replaced her as the quintessential bridezilla. Kristie also finds out she's not allowed to invite her friends or bridesmaids to her own bridal shower. While this probably pisses her off, I consider it a lucky break.

Our next scheduled appearance is at Glacier Gardens for the rehearsal, and Sandy Beach the following day for the rehearsal dinner. Why the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner take place on two seperate nights, we have no idea. Also an interesting choice, to have the wedding semi-outdoors and the rehearsal dinner definitely outdoors, seeing how we live in Juneau, where it rains 360 days a year. Sure enough, it's raining and cold, but we manage to enjoy ourselves, dining on veggie burgers and bright pink cake, which several of the guys deem "too gay" to partake in. (They do seem to regret the color choice, though, as they gaze wistfully at my heaping serving of strawberry cake.)

The next day is the wedding, and I sit in the back row with Mike (Elizabeth's boyfriend) and make sarcastic comments. Not because the wedding is horrible, but because it's my personality to do so. Well okay, Kristie's dad marries them and gives a very Alaskan speech about our "crazy, materialistic world" and makes a few too many comments about how much thought Kristie and Ryan have put into this decision. (Thought? They've barely been engaged four months!) And the groomsmen did walk in to "When a Man Loves a Woman", but overall it's lovely, and Kristie, especially, is lovely.

I have to snicker because Kelly has previously informed me that she refuses to bow her head and pray when asked to do so at important events. (This conversation came about because Kristie's family is religious, and she was asked to do so at the rehearsal dinner.) Instead, she chooses to make eye contact with the other people (like her) who aren't praying and make them feel uncomfortable. Sure enough, I keep watch on her, and at the "let us bow our heads and pray" moment, Kelly scans the audience for innocent bystanders she can lock gazes with. I'm cracking up, and Mike elbows me, and hisses-

Mike: "Pray!" under his breath with a grin on his face.

There are two receptions. The first is the Christian family reception, which takes place immediately after the ceremony, in which no alcohol is served. Therefore, no typical wedding events take place; such as the bouquet toss, the toasts, or the wedding party being seated at the head table. Never before has the purpose of alcohol at a wedding become so clear. We all sit around, stare at each other, struggle to make conversation, and devour chocolate ganache instead. With nothing to do, we stand in the freezing cold as the wedding party takes more pictures than a Japanese family at the circus.

We take a ride in a limo (I'm invited only because I'm considered Kelly's hot date for the night) to DIPAC, the fish hatchery, for the second super secret reception in which alcohol and dancing are served. It seems weird to outsiders, but the fish hatchery is prime location for a wedding reception in Alaska. There's a security guard, in the event of wedding partiers getting too out of control (or in case someone wants to incite a mass break-out and set the "little fishies free", which actually happened on a past occasion.)

I make it my personal mission to get people drunk and dancing. The reception is off to a bit of a slow start, but once we dim the lights, the party gets underway. I do find it interesting that a few guests are ignoring the bash, and have broken out the fish booklets to spend the evening gazing at the fish tank with rapture, identifying species of fish. (Only in Alaska). My timing couldn't be worse, and I have to leave the fest as abruptly as I came, since I'm due to fly home on the red-eye with some other party guests.

I manage to leave all the make-up I own in this world on the floor of Kelly's car, (and her mom calls later to inform us that my necklace and earrings have been spotted in her driveway as well.) I hug my favorite friend Kelly good-bye, and wave at my hometown through the SUV window as I pull into the parking lot of the airport. The Alaskan adventure is over.

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