By Dennis L. Morgan
As I sit down to write this essay, the wedding scene is playing in the movie “Forrest Gump” on TNT. Lieutenant Dan has just arrived and the ceremony has begun.
Less than 24 hours earlier, we were in Lincoln for the wedding of a high school classmate’s daughter. We were friends in high school, then 25 years passed before our paths crossed again in Auburn. He’s a nuclear engineer at Cooper Nuclear Station, his wife does counseling for those in need of good, sound advice.
Our families have become close. Husker football games, and road trips for chicken wings in Peru formed a strong bond. So, when they called and asked Lynell if she would photograph the wedding, she agreed to come ‘out of retirement’ for Nicole and Josh. She’s done many weddings through the years, each one is unique. As her ‘gopher’ (go for this, go for that), on this night I would see things I have never seen before.
Television shows have created the term ‘bridezillas,’ brides who go ballistic over one detail after another that doesn’t go as planned. I don’t fault the ladies for that, After all, this is their day, the biggest day of their life, so the things they can control they should be allowed to.
Saturday’s wedding, held in Lincoln, started out with a bang. Shortly after stepping inside the church, I heard the mother of the bride telling the wedding coordinator she wanted to see the priest because the church was too warm. This wouldn’t be the first or the last time heat was an issue, more on that later.
The formal wedding photos had to be shot in a 90-minute window. It’s kinda like herding sheep. You have a list of the photos you need to shoot, you know who needs to be in them, getting them into the photos can be a challenge. Especially for the wedding party depending on the night before OR the wedding day being ‘the morning after.’
The formal photos are always the hardest. Everything after that, beginning with the ceremony itself to the reception to the cutting of the cake, etc., is a piece of cake. And so it was on this day, even the photos in the park went off without a hitch. Then it was on to the reception hall at a nearby motel. That’s where the fun started.
Stepping into the reception hall, the first thing you felt was the heat. The air conditioning units were on the fritz and a packed hall had temperatures soaring. The wedding party shed their tuxedo coats almost immediately, the ladies could do nothing with those long dresses. But, to counter the situation, refreshments were flowing freely. Most everyone found what they were looking for — ice water, tea or whatever else cold that was available. With the father of the bride standing next to the bar, a loud sound came from overhead. The ceiling above the bar suddenly came crashing down. It seems that someone up above, trying to fix the AC, had taken a wrong step. Miraculously, no one was injured. But, this wouldn’t be the first surprise of the night.
Later on, the DJ had all the married couples go to the dance floor. Then, after the music started, he asked all who had been married 10 years or less to sit down. It continued until there was just one couple left on the floor. The couple, slowly moving back and forth to the music, have been married 61 years. Compromise and being willing to say ‘I’m sorry’ adds up to many years of wedded bliss.
Moments later, everything came to a halt. The groom suddenly found himself without the wedding ring. I wondered aloud to those seated around us, is this a bad omen? The lights came up, people were on their hands and knees scouring the dance floor and surrounding tables. The MC offered a $6 reward to the person who found the ring, still nothing happened. Having exited the hall moments earlier, the groom came running back in with a huge smile on his face. The ring had been found inside a paper towel in an adjoining bathroom. It must have been wedding night jitters, after all there is a lot of pressure on a groom to do and say all the right things, that he must have forgotten what was on his ring finger. Whatever the reason, the result was a happy ending. But, it marked the first time I had ever seen a groom lose his wedding band so quickly after the wedding.
The maid of honor had to leave the reception early, she wasn’t feeling well. Even without her, the celebration continued.
The father of the bride did his best to meet and mingle with everyone and still find time to dance the night away. Our table was next to the dance floor and, every time he went out to dance, he would sit his digital camera down at our table. If there’s one rule about wedding parties, it’s never leave a camera unattended. Because, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.
With the able assistance of the other Auburn acquaintances, some family members living the ‘moment’ and a few volunteers, let’s just say these photos will be the ones mom and dad won’t forget for years to come. In fact, I doubt they will ever be seen again.
For the parents of the brides, there’s no charge for ‘those’ photos. But, should they ever appear on social media sites, copyright laws could apply with lawsuits likely to follow.