Monday, September 5, 2016

A Colorado Wedding

My childhood best friend Sam asked me a few weeks ago to officiate his wedding in Colorado, a wedding that happened on Saturday. Obviously I immediately began preparing FOR MY SPECIAL DAY. This included my ordination as a reverend in the Church of the Holy Internet.

Ok, I don't actually remember what the thing was called. All I know is that Sam sent me a link to some page where it took me literally four minutes to fill out some basic information and receive a certificate that bestowed upon me enough power to legally bind people to one another for life.

It was almost disappointingly easy to obtain this power. It kind of makes me question all authority considering that the following things took more effort in my life to obtain than a certificate authorizing me to marry people to each other:

1. My food handler's permit when I was 15
2. Costco Membership
3. Ringworm
4. Respect from my mailman
5. "I Voted" stickers at any election
6. Etc.

As you can see by number 6, the list could go on and on.

In any event, newly ordained and with the power vested in me by The Church of the Holy Internet, I began researching what one is supposed to say as The Officiant. This research was mostly unhelpful because Sam had charged me with "keeping it unique, light, and funny," which by the way is way more intimidating that "boring and sentimental." Because when you stand in front of a crowd and say polite romantic cliches, you need no reaction from the crowd to punctuate the substance. But having a joke be met with silence from a large audience is worse than death. I would even go as far as to say it's worse than camping.

And you guys know I don't take my camping comparisons lightly.

So when the wedding day arrived, I found myself surprisingly more nervous than I have ever been to speak in front of other humans. This includes any time I have ever been to court and every time Bob and Cathie forced me to call grownups and apologize for my "behavior" when I was 10.

This was a gay wedding with attendees from all sorts of backgrounds, religious and non, and so I took some risks with jokes specific to the situation, including hypotheses about this wedding being the result of a "pregnancy scare" and a suggestion that no matter any attendee's background, we were all there for one common reason: to admire the wedding dress.

These went over well enough, and served as something of an intro to the lovely exchange of vows that followed.

And it turned out to be one of the most beautiful occasions I've ever had the honor of attending.

And then it was ruined by the wedding photographer. Or, rather, it was ruined by me, as was explained by the wedding photographer.

Look. We didn't practice this. There was no rehearsal. I had no idea where I was supposed to stand during the vows part. Was I supposed to stay in the middle? Was I supposed to lie on the ground? Was I supposed to go wait in the car?


But as they started saying their vows, and I noticed the photographer was attempting to catch the moment, it suddenly felt very inappropriate that I was there. Like I was some kind of creepy voyeur.

And so, I, VERY EXTREMELY AWKWARDLY, basically climbed into the wildlife growing beside the rocks you can see in the above picture. This seemed like the only option, considering that all of the parents were standing to the side and so there wasn't really any room for me to move in that direction.

(I stole this photo from someone on Facebook and I don't even remember who anymore. Sorry!)
But once I found myself standing knee-high in plant life, I felt like I just needed to stay there because if I kept searching for the right spot, I was just going to be a giant distraction to the beautiful thing that was happening center stage. You know. The thing people came from all over the country to see.

The vows ended, and I frolicked through the flowers and back to the center where I did the "I do" stuff. And when I pronounced them "married," I suddenly realized that once again I needed to move out of the way for the kiss and congratulations, etc. But having learned from the previous off-roading experience, I opted this time to just shuffle to the side as far as reasonably possible. WHICH was not far.

And so, this beautiful photographed moment:

Photo cred: Nick Totin

Without my cropping, looks a lot like this:

You know what, I'ma help you get a better view of whatever the Hell is happening in the background of this picture.


Clearly I'm thinking about Cheetos. 

Also, this is definitely the most I have ever related to Barb from Stranger Things:

I texted Sam the photo the moment it was sent to me. We both admired it appropriately. I mentioned that this was my new favorite photo of us together. Then I remembered that it actually still takes second place. Because:

Congrats, pal. After two decades, you are still like a brother to me. Or, per the above photo, "sister." 

I love you as much as one friend can love another, and I couldn't be more happy for you and your happiness. 

Sorry that I photobombed your wedding. 

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Oh man. As you described backing away from intruding on the special moments, I kept thinking you were going to follow it up by "and then my clothes caught fire, so I had to take them off, and thus I ended up naked in public again." But it sounds like you avoided the fire and hit shrubbery instead. Well done, Eli, well done. What an attractive location for a wedding.

    1. Ditto. I want to say more, but my brain is still asleep and I have four teenagers on their way to my house for seminary, and of course this is what I do every morning while I wait for them to come: check your blog. But really all I wanted to say was: DITTO to Michelle's comment. When's your next wedding, do you think? Do you get paid for this kind of gig? Is it something I should look into as a source of side income??? (ok, and now on to the teenagers. Wish me luck here, clearly my brain is not fully awake yet)

    2. Michelle, thank you. I'm now laugh crying. Really needed that today.

    3. I think you have to get a few weddings under your belt before anyone is willing to pay you for it. I'm sort of in the internship phase of my officiating career. You know. Building my resume. Something I should have started doing before I became 32 years old.

  2. This is amazing. As is that photo and your face. At least your face isn't poking up from right in the middle of the kiss! Looks like a beautiful wedding though!

    I also got ordained online, my freshman year of college, just for kicks. Later on I was out drinking one night and two of my friends decided they wanted to get married right then and there, and somehow I agreed and "married" them, and we all laughed and went on our way. But only when I sobered up did I realize that technically I had actually married them because I had that power! I never told them that I was ordained and they still don't know to this day. So I agree with you that it is WAY too easy to get that kind of power! And there should be some kind of required course of do's/don'ts for marrying people! (Like, do rehearse beforehand so you know where to stand. Don't perform marriages while under the influence of alcohol. Those type things.)

  3. My husband is also ordained by the Church of the Holy Internet - he is going to perform his sisters wedding in a few weeks. Any words of advice or tips you could give him? I must say the grooms looked amazing! Congrats to them!

  4. LOL! I loved this post! And how special that you got to officiate your best friend's wedding!

    1. Agree fully. It was beautiful and you're so very fortunate to have had this opportunity.

  5. I'm literally crying. This post definitely ranks in the top ten most hilarious posts. Your comedic timing is genius. I only wish there was a video posted of the wedding as well. Do we call you Pastor Eli or Father McCann now? How will this affect June Snapple's bid to be on the PTA?

    1. I am "The Rev." per the wedding certificate. Also, I think June Snapple will better appeal to her religious base now that she is associated with an ordained minister.

    2. It sounds like it would be "Sister Eli"

    3. I hi hope you start requiring people to call you "The Rev Eli." I kind of like "The Stranger Rev" or "The Reverend Stranger."

    4. hilarious, wonderful and so well written... I re-read this after reading it 2 days ago because Bad Day. I have also decided I will now call you Rev McCann...not that you will know this since we do not know each other, but just know that is what I am calling you.

  6. LOVE this. One of my favorite ever Stranger posts.

  7. One of my favorite posts ever too!!! Crying because I'm laughing so hard.

  8. The close ups of your creeper face in the background were a nice touch.

  9. I never thought I would say this, but I think Sam may have better hair than you.

  10. Honestly, I'm just super proud you kept your clothes on the entire ceremony. Bravo!