Wednesday, November 01, 2006

They Do


72 hours after I said I'd never be in another wedding, I was in another wedding.

It was kind of an accident.

Babc0ck and Jenn had opted out of having a big ceremony. They'd actually been planning it for weeks, but sprang it on everyone else suddenly to avoid potential wedding hijackers—you know, well-intentioned friends and relatives who just want to help them out in ways they don't want to be helped.

They'd wanted Pond Scum to be their witness, but that didn't work out when it was discovered that he had no legal identification. No driver's license, no passport, no state ID. He'd once had an official card issued by his reservation (he's Native American) but no one is sure where it went.

You need ID to get into City Hall, and in theory to be a witness. Plus, I think he had to work.

I wanted to see the ceremony, and I arrived while Jenn's sister and mother were in the restroom. Jenn and Babc0ck went to wait in line at the info desk. I followed, curious to see bureaucracy in action.

The information officer did not look up as we approached her desk. She held her hand out.

"Money order."

Babc0ck handed it over. She made a few marks. She still didn't look up. Her hand went out again.

"Form."

He handed over a form. She marked a few blanks. She finally looked up.

"Groom? You the groom?"

"That's me."

"Sign here."

Babc0ck signed by the X.

"Bride?"

Jenn signed.

"You the witness?" She was looking at me.

"Guess so," Jenn said, laughing. Her family was still MIA.

"Sign here." I signed. No one asked me for ID. I was suddenly Best Man again. The officer handed all the papers to Babc0ck.

"Go stand in that line."

The next line was the money line. We gave the money order to a friendly woman who was behind a thick wall of glass, like a bank teller. She handed Jenn a receipt.

"Go to Window 7."

At Window 7, Babc0ck handed over the license and got a certified document in exchange.


"Now wait in the hall for them to call your name."

The three-line process had taken about one-and-a-half minutes, involved a lot of stamping, and no showing of identification.

"I'll go find your mother and sister." Babc0ck headed to the restrooms.

Thirty seconds later, a string of names was called. The last names were Jonathan and Jennifer.

Jenn's eyes got big.

"I'll go into the waiting room--you go find Jonathan!"

I got as far as the elevator when I remember the magic of cell phones. I dialed him, and he strolled up a second later.

"I couldn't find them."

"Well, then they'll miss it. C'mon! They called your name. Do you want Jenn to marry herself?"

We went into the waiting room. The line got smaller and smaller, as each couple disappeared into the chapel.

Only one other couple was left, when Jenn's family finally showed.

The officiant was a gregarious and sensible woman, who efficiently married Babc0ck and Jenn in under two minutes. They exchanged a few rings they'd bought earlier on St. Mark's Place, from a man who'd given them a discount when he learned they were wedding rings. Or maybe it was because they didn't have the right change.

Mr. and Mrs. Whatever-Names-They're-Using walked out of New York's municipal buillding only minutes after entering it. It was easier than getting a driver's license. The security check lasted longer than the ceremony.

And for me, always the Best Man and never the Bride, it was painless and even, fun.

2 comments:

Toby Holmes said...

As someone who would have been one of those wedding crashers if he wasn't too cheap to get a flight from Dublin - Congratulations but I am sad that they did not go for an illegal temple wedding by scaling the walls in Salt Lake. Good luck for the future from Toby in ireland.

Amanda Castleman said...

Marie, lovely writing. Fun, funny and tender.

Babcock and Jenn, I don't know you, but I salute your honest, lovely low-key wedding. Best of luck, Ax.