I was up by six in the morning. At that point I knew I'd be operating on about 10 hours of sleep from the past three nights, but I knew I had enough energy and adrenaline left in me to last until the evening.
The plan was to be ready for pictures by 9:30 and knowing that it wouldn't take me three and a half hours to put on a shower, shave and put on my tuxedo, I wandered around camp to see who was up. Sure enough, the only people awake were my parents - used to getting up early with the dog at home - and the people staying at camp with young babies. Due to the amount of crying and screaming in the building we used to house the families with kids, I dubbed their row of rooms "the psych ward." Groggy parents and hungry babies meant it must have been a rough night for them all.
Barely a few minutes in to breakfast, I realized that I've forgotten the one thing I'm responsible for all day: the marriage license. It was back at L's parents' house, a place I was supposed to avoid before the wedding. But it was early enough that I figured L couldn't possibly be getting ready already, so I headed over. Luckily, all L had done was wash her hair, something I've seen her do a million times, so I didn't spoil the surprise of seeing her later in the day. I grabbed the license and headed back to the camp buildings.
I hung out with my father and some of our other friends and family and, interestingly, had a long conversation about blogging with a few people. Many of our guests followed the adventures of L and the Groom all year, but a few of our older family members were stuck on the whole idea of what a blog was in the first place and I fielded a number of questions about it. It's not really a diary, I explained to this group, since diaries are typically meant to be kept private and a journal isn't really the right word for it either, since this site never stuck exclusively to personal subjects. I realized that my generation's habit of putting our entire lives online is still foreign for so many people.
The clock hit 8 am, and I decided to head back to my room and get ready. Still, an hour and a half would be a long time for even a guy like me to get ready, so I took what must be the longest shower of my life. In the shower, I remembered that I haven't written a toast or a thank-you speech so I started thinking about what I might say in front of the assembled masses. Ironic, I thought, that having spent the entire year writing about every last detail of the wedding, I completely forgot to write even a simple list of thank-yous.
I got out of the shower and began getting dressed. I imagined L being attended to by a hair stylist, make-up person, bridesmaids and her mom while, like an idiot, I could hardly get my suspenders to go on correctly so that my pants wouldn't hang somewhere between my belly button and neck. Thankfully, my friend Catherine across the hall helped me make about five hundred adjustments to my suspenders to make them more comfortable.
Here we are:
(Yes, that's me in the middle. The one with the blue tie. And, no, it's not an optical illusion, like that room in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. I really am shorter than all the other guys.)
Hearing that L and her crew were running late, the men went out first for the pre-wedding pictures. We posed outside for a number of pictures and, hearing that L was in the building, quickly finished up and headed over to the building where the ketubah signing would take place.
As we walked over, one of the guys noticed another guy's fly. It was in the down, unzippered position. Sharing perhaps the biggest laugh of the weekend, we tried to imagine what the pictures would look like. Luckily, his fly was not open to reveal bright white underwear, and the mistake was probably unnoticed by the camera lens. I don't want to embarass him, so let's just say that his name starts with J and ends with -ames.
Over at the Bayit, we started the first of some of the traditional Jewish pre-wedding rituals. The men - and some women, gathered in a small library off the main room in the Bayit for what is traditionally a time for storytelling, teaching socializing and little drinking. We stuck mostly to the drinking and socializing part, as evidenced by this picture:
I decided not to have a drink, lest I collapse during some of the upcoming ceremonies. However, after taking a few deep breaths and getting ready to go out into the main room to see L for the first time, I did down one small shot of whiskey. It was just what I needed.
All the men left to go into the big room and I had a few moments alone with J and P, our rabbis. Then R, our cantor, came in to get me. "Quick, there's a car running in the back, you can leave now if you need to." The joke hit me in just the right way, soothing my nerves before I stepped out into the big crowd...
Part two coming up.Posted by The Groom at September 8, 2004 10:53 PM