“Here we go,” I thought. I could feel my legs shaking. “Focus.”
Just as I’d practiced, the thank-you’s went smoothly. The pavilion was a great size — I was pretty sure my voice was loud enough. I could do this.
Next up, the address to the couple. The place where tears were guaranteed.
And with a deep breath, we were off.
Finally, it was time for my best friend’s wedding. She, the bride, and me, the officiant.
It was a big day for the both of us.
Now as I’ve been told, having a friend marry you isn’t quite the big deal it once was. At this wedding alone, two others approached me to say that, as officiants themselves, they thought I did a great job.
I guess this gig wasn’t just for sitcoms anymore. And while the idea for my officiating was largely inspired by Joey Tribbiani’s two-time appearance at the altar, it still felt incredibly special.
For me, it was the immense honor of marrying some of my best friends.
All I needed to do was actually make it through the words, which I’m happy to report I did. We all did, with only a few small tears making their way through. We took our pictures in the rain and made our way to the restaurant. I announced their first dance and toasted to their future happiness.
Everything was wonderful.
As part of my officiant role, I hustled around the party, keeping things on track. Sure, it was my first wedding, but I’m nothing if not a good schedule-keeper. And while other friends were charged with photos and decorations, I answered questions and politely guided the evening’s events. My goal was to keep the happy couple focused on their happy day, and not the nuts and bolts of serving times and tips for the guitarist.
By the end of the night, not only did I still have them both as friends, but I had made a new connection of my own.
As it turns out, the lead server for our venue was from China. And while other guests had asked me polite questions about what I did abroad or how I liked it, she actually understood when I said it was a beautiful yet frustrating place to live. By the end of the night, we had exchanged contact information — maybe we’ll meet abroad one day. She’d love my partner, I assured her, as his Chinese was far better than mine. “But your tones are so great!” she insisted in Mandarin.
It seemed I’d made a new pal.
I couldn’t help but chuckle, though, as I saw China creep into even a friend’s wedding night. Sure, my gift to her had been Chinese in theme — hand-written messages in Chinese wishing them endless years of happiness, wrapped in a traditional red packet — but I hadn’t imagined I would find such a literal connection.
Alas, I was (and will be for a while yet) the “girl from China,” only back for a quick visit.
In this case, it was a visit that will be etched in my memory forever.