(Here I go upcycling.)
A few Fridays ago, I randomly caught a wedding.
I was hanging out with some cousins who were staying at The Gaylord Texan for a business conference. Afterward, when they had to go to an awards ceremony, I wandered around inside. For those who haven’t been to a Gaylord, they’re centers, are a mix of indoor mall and huge, open courtyard with restaurants, gardens, a man-made river, statues, lots of people, a sky of, well, skylights.
That courtyard-like space is air-conditioned like the rest of the hotel. So I stayed. It was so hot outside, so cool inside; dead grass outside, lush gardens inside. It didn’t matter that I stayed long enough for parking to cost $20. I turned a corner from some gift shops and found a coffee shop*. Through it, I saw an inviting balcony that overlooked the courtyard-like space. From the counter while paying, I saw a seated wedding party beyond the balcony, waiting on a lower level across the river for a ceremony to begin. I wandered with my coffee out to the balcony.
Many people had gathered on the balcony to watch. I was reminded that this was also a vacation destination. Kids with balloon animals and Shrek crowns. People in swimsuits and flip flops or just short and tanks. This one man was really going after some brownies.
I sat next to a couple who introduced themselves as being from Alabama as I adjusted my metal chair to see where the bride and groom would be standing. String music played through speakers down there. The couple from Alabama and I guessed and suggested all sorts of things (like which of the older men standing around, fidgeting, was the groom and which was the father-of-the-bride), cracking jokes, until the wedding began.
“It must sound better down there,” the Alabama wife said. “The music and the river probably drown out the sound of all these people.” A country song played in the coffee shop.
The bride appeared near the top of the staircase that lead to her wedding. She looked side to side at two teenagers and another couple there who were dressed up. One of the older men walked up. We assumed it was her father. As he climbed the top step, another woman appeared.
“I was in the bathroom!” she said.
“Mother!” the bride said. Her father grabbed her mother, and they descended. The couple at the top of the steps looked to the bride and she waved for them to go. Then the teenage boys stood to either side of her, each offering an angled arm. One wore an over-sized suit, the other a very tailor suit and bow tie. We commented on the bride looking older as she stepped down the stairs (and closer toward us) than she had up above.
The officiant was a funny man even though he didn’t mean to be. He cracked two jokes that no one else laughed at but him. As he went on, it sounded like he hadn’t practiced the night before. He said “ummm” and “uhhh” and “oh, sorry…that’s not it” so many times. It was cute. (The groom was trying to keep from laughing and I guess the wife was too if we could’ve seen her face.) He looked to the groom (who he’d introduced as John earlier) and then proceeded to tell us about the ‘first marriage’ in the Garden of Eden between Adam and…John. He called the ring bearer before he was ready.
I especially liked his personal ‘Three Rules to for Happy Marriage’ (yes…that’s exactly how he said it):
- If wife responds more, she be more feminine and be appreciated more for this. If man responds more, he be more masculine and be appreciated for this.
- If you talk to each other every day, you will not need a lawyer or a psychologist. (The wife next to me asked, “What if you’re yelling at each other every day?”)
- There can only be one tiger on the mountain; if two tigers are on top, one will swallow the other.
He angled the mic toward the groom or bride as he asked them to repeat their vows. Sometimes we missed the first or last word or phrase when he angled the mic back to himself too quickly.
In the end, the wedding lasted all of ten minutes and the couple walked off laughing toward a bridge passed the stairs that crossed over the river from the restaurant next to the coffee shop.
The couple from Alabama and I commented on how unexpected the wedding was.
“Did you see her pulling him away?” the husband asked. “We know who the tiger is.”
“That was the best TV I’ve seen all week,” I said, and they agreed. “Worth the $20 I’ve just spent on parking.”
I wonder if they’re home now, thinking about those rules.
*You can see the balcony in the right of the top photo. (By the way, these are not photos of the couple I saw being married. I found these photos here.)