Last weekend I officiated a wedding for the first time in my life. That's right. I'm now the Reverend Happy Hypochondriac, ordained through the Universal Life Church online resource. They don't like you to say you were ordained online. An actual person will review your application and email you directly to let you know if you are ordained. But I was addressed as Reverend in the email, so I'm official.
I was admittedly nervous about officiating the wedding. The bride and groom are wonderful friends, and I was extremely honored. But the truth is that even though I have been a bridesmaid many times, and was the focus of my own wedding, it's entirely different to stand at the front and FACE EVERYBODY (the bride doesn't even have to do that), speak all the words of the ceremony, and control the flow of the whole thing. It was pressure. Some of the older women at the event offered me Xanax before I went out there. Not just one woman, but two or three. I must have had the concern on my face.
I led the procession by walking down the aisle myself. Usually I have some sturdy arm to offer support. Please don't fall, please don't fall. It was outside, so I was trying to avoid roots tripping up my wedges. It would have been pretty special if I had hit the ground in a form-fitting lace dress. I made it to the front, turned around and watched as everyone walked down. I cleared my throat. The sound carried across the meadow. Odd. I turned to my right and left and realized there were microphones hidden in the plants on either side of me. The whole audience could hear my every sound, throat clearing, nervous breathing, nose sniffling when the bride walked towards us, or even the shifting of papers as I made sure for the 100th time that I still had the rings stuffed securely into the pocket of my leather folio. It's a lot harder to find a dropped ring in dirt and grass, than in a church.
I managed to pull it off without fainting, forgetting words or getting names wrong. I did mispronounce the title of one of their readings. To be fair, it was a made-up word in the title, so I can't be entirely faulted for not knowing it, but still. It was embarrassing. People were kind after the fact and the bride and groom seemed pleased.
Now I've got a bug. I want to marry other people. No funerals. Just weddings. I might start a website. I can think of worse things than being a part of people's favorite day of their lives.