Molly Fisk: Wedding Bells

6800392964_ce643273d2_zPhoto by Flickr user orangebrompton. (Creative Commons License)

 The thing about being a wedding officiant is that they really can’t get anywhere without you. I’m not usually late to things, and I’d hate to be late to someone’s wedding ceremony, but knowing I’m this vital to the proceedings is kind of relaxing. Which is good, because usually at a wedding everyone around you is the opposite of relaxed. Excited to the point of possibly throwing up? Yes. Tense, intense, and overwhelmed with detail? Yes. And sometimes also sad, confused, lonely, and — if your recent ex- will be there with her or his new, younger, partner — possibly enraged.

Sometimes I run across an older relative of the groom who’s as relaxed as I am. Usually he has come to be supportive, likes a shindig, is glad he’s not one of the principals, and doesn’t really mind what happens. Bouquets can come apart, cake tables collapse, entire tents fall on everyone’s head and he’s just amused.

I should probably find someone like that if I ever decide to marry, but then he’d be one of the principals and I wouldn’t be the officiant — we’d both tense up and it would probably end in tears.

Today, I’m not marrying anyone — the wedding is tomorrow. Today the groom’s brother, who runs a tour company, is taking us to visit many of the sights around Seattle. It is currently pouring with rain but we’ll be safe and dry on a very small tour bus.

I’m staying at an elegant and well-known hotel right on the water. I have a first floor, waterside room with a balcony. It’s not quite like standing next to a swimming pool, but it’s pretty close: even a wimp such as myself wouldn’t be afraid to dive from this height. But as it is February, and raining, I’ve decided not to. Also the swells are four or five feet high. And, you know, Puget Sound is full of orcas. “Wedding Officiant Bitten in Half by Killer Whale” would probably sell newspapers, but is not a good omen for marriage.

Instead, I’ll look through the sliding glass door at that moving water and be glad I’m not on a cruise ship requiring intravenous Dramamine or something stronger. I will not nervously add oceanic metaphors to the vows. I’ll put on my scarf and raincoat and calmly walk the three miles from my room to the lobby to wait for the very small tour bus.

Have I mentioned how much I love the couple I’ll be marrying, and how much I love my life? Who else gets invited to marry people in the Space Needle with a crown of roses on her head? I feel incredibly lucky, which makes me want to spread happiness as far as the eye can see. So, dearly beloved, using the power vested in me by the State of Washington, I now pronounce you a wonderful person and a loyal Woman for Change.

After obtaining permission, you may kiss whomever you wish.


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  • Molly Fisk August 6, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks, Andrea! Leslie, I started doing weddings about 10 years ago at the request of a friend, and at that time wrote up some words about marriage that made sense to me, starting with Dearly Beloved and ending with the famous kiss. It’s short and sensible, and most of the people who ask me to do this want that in the mix somewhere. They may add poems and other readings, vows they’ve written, Bible verses, etc. This couple at the Space Needle wanted a story about their courtship, so I interviewed them and wrote it up and read it. I’m not a good memorizer so I didn’t “tell” it extemporaneously, although that would have been great. 😉

  • Leslie in Oregon August 6, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    It sounds like a wonderful wedding weekend, which I hope that you write more about. How did you go about deciding what to say during the ceremony, in your role as officiant?

  • Andrea August 6, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Lovely read this morning Molly!!!