Labor Day weekend closes out the traditional wedding season. With that, this column is dedicated to a recent wedding I attended as a friend’s guest.
My friend, Frank, is not known for punctuality. On the contrary, in lieu of the standard sentiment, “Safe travels!” expressed in advance of a journey, I always instead text him an earnest, “Be on time!”
Frank invited me to a wedding earlier this summer. I accepted and asked no follow-up questions. I did not ask where the wedding was, who was getting married, or how Frank knew the couple. I merely confirmed I would be in town that day, put it on my calendar, and forgot all about it.
In the days leading up to the wedding, I texted him: “What time is the wedding on Saturday?”
“Two o’clock!” he responded.
“What time would you like me to be ready?”
He confirmed he would pick me up at my house.
1:25 came and went and I sat patiently on the couch waiting.
1:35 passed by.
At 1:40 he texted he was on his way.
I looked at the clock, and wondered whether the wedding started at two, or whether doors opened at two.
Frank arrived at my house at 1:50, and I climbed into the front seat of the car.
He revealed the wedding was at the Catholic church across the street from the Captain Cook Hotel, where the reception would be located. His GPS, however, kept directing him off to West Anchorage, as opposed to North to the Catholic church.
“Could you look at the invitation? It’s in my email.”
I looked at the invitation.
It instructed us to be at Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe at two o’clock in the afternoon.
I put this into the GPS.
This church was indeed not downtown. However, GPS pulled several other results for the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral.
I frowned, debating which location it could be.
“We could go that way into Spenard,” I gestured to the left. “It says we will be there in six minutes.”
“Well, we will be at a church in six minutes,” Frank corrected, and swung through a wild lefthand turn.
“Also, if we are late, this will not be my first time walking into a wedding after the ceremony already started,” Frank added wisely. “It will be my third,” he finished definitively
We arrived in the parking lot at 2:08 PM, and were greeted with the welcome sight of two people walking through the closed doors.
“People! People we can walk in with!” Frank shrieked, and barreled through the parking lot after them, me clutching my coat trying to keep up.
We slipped into the back of the cathedral.
The ceremony had definitely already started, and I gazed around, thinking I really should have asked more questions before I got dressed that morning.
As customary at a traditional Catholic service, the attendees were all dressed in conservative, muted attire. Women were covered head to toe, and mostly dressed in shades of black or grey.
I pulled my coat closer around my now seemingly highly inappropriate fuchsia floral print cocktail dress.
After a brief fifty-minute service, the photographer bounded forward to take pictures of the newlyweds walking back down the aisle. Eagerly, he snapped photo after photo and then –
The photographer fell flat over backwards into the holy water.
Spraying blessings everywhere, the bride and groom bent over to help him to his feet. They then all mustered smiles, and walked gamely from the room.
As he passed, I noticed the groom had been wearing earbuds the entire time.
Sarah Brown is a great wedding guest. If you’d like to invite her to your upcoming nuptials, she can be found on Twitter @BrownsClose1, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Close” is a British term for alley or cul-de-sac. All names have been changed to protect the guilty.