[the reverend]

[the reverend]

Welcome to the LEFT of center

Dana & Mike

October 7, 2012


I first met Dana and Mike at a local restaurant. I had received some devastating personal news earlier that day, and by the time they arrived I had been at the bar for over an hour, was three sheets to the wind and barely holding back tears. I suddenly experienced the drunken equivalent of panic, which was really more like a vague thought tinged with regret: Ummm, this probably isn't making the best first impression.


Far from being pissed, Dana and Mike were really sympathetic and super-sweet, and despite my inebriated state, we hit it off. Mike is something of a local celebrity here in Queens; he fronts a brutal death metal band called Dehumanized, and in fact it's through the band that he and Dana first met. (Dating Tip: although it worked out for Mike, generally speaking, when a pretty girl asks for your phone number, DO NOT respond by asking her to work the merch table!)



I was pretty stoked that they were planning to play some metal at the reception, but I was extremely skeptical that your average wedding DJ would have any knowledge of bands like Lamb of God or At The Gates. Were they going to give him tracks and just hope he'd figure out when to play what? "No, no," Dana assured me. "Steve is a metal guy."


Wait, a DJ named Steve who was into metal? Well, the world instantly got about a zillion times smaller as I realized that the only guy she could be talking about was my friend Steve, who moonlighted as a DJ and who also just happened to be the drummer for a rock band that I was fronting called Born of Scars. What are the freakin' odds? And why the hell wasn't I *already* friends with Dana and Mike? These are clearly my people! (The answer, of course, is that – outside of weddings – I rarely socialize anymore, and have become something of a homebody. Spending almost 20 years playing in bands, drinking like the rockstar I wasn't and spending 5 or 6 nights a week in clubs and bars promoting your band and your friends' bands will do that to you.)


So anyhoo, I'm already totally stoked about doing the wedding, and then Dana and Mike upped the awesome by inviting me and my husband to the reception "if you'd like to come." Ummm, seriously? HELL YES!



The day of the wedding was unfortunately grey and drizzly, but as the entire service was not only indoors, but all in one place, it didn't really matter. I got to the Astoria Renaissance about an hour early, and really enjoyed the look of the place. That is, until everyone started talking about the processional. You see, I'm often asked to take part in this, and it's not normally a problem for me. The Astoria Renaissance, however, is unique in that the ceremony and reception area is a long, marble staircase DOWN from where the procession would start. And, despite the fact that I do weddings on a fairly regular basis, those are literally the ONLY times I wear high heels. (Shit, I didn't even wear heels to my *own* wedding; I wore knee-high combat boots and was comfortable as hell.) As a result, I am not wholly confident wearing heels; whenever I do *and* I encounter stairs, I walk slower than a convicted man on death row, desperately clinging to the railing with both hands and fully 100% sure that if I don't I will slip and tumble all the way to the bottom, landing on my face in front of a bunch of people and generally making an ass out of myself.



I am almost hyperventilating at the thought of leading a wedding procession down that wretched stair-flight of what I have thoroughly convinced myself is made of the slipperiest marble known to man, when (once again) I probably should have just freakin' chilled out. Turns out that I will be safe and sound at the altar when the procession starts, and although I have a moment of panic for Dana, I remind myself that most other chicks are much better at being chicks than I am, and that she will probably be fine and not humiliate and injure myself as I most certainly would.


Dana finally materializes from the powder room, and she looks fantastic in a slim white strapless dress with a pleated sweetheart neckline and tiered ruffles below a black sash. And there were no combat boots for her; open-toed white pumps with black accents and a matching pedicure firmly cemented her place in the Girl World that I only get to visit from time to time. Mike is wearing a dapper three-piece suit, and yet still manages to look kinda metal. (Gotta be the shaved head!)



The venue had provided a private area for the wedding party, and Mike and Dana invite me in for photos and to sign the license. There’s also an awful lot of champagne, and by the time the ceremony starts, we’ve managed to polish off quite a bit of it and are feeling fairly confident that this wedding is going to kick everyone’s ass.



The service did not disappoint, and I did my first-ever vows in another language for all of their guests who spoke metal. (Awesome Alert: Dana’s *Mom* totally speaks metal!!) The cocktail hour saw me tipping the valet an extra ten bucks to park my car somewhere nearby so I could come back by train and pick it up tomorrow; I saw where the rest of this night was going and none of it would involve me driving anywhere.



The reception was a blast, with great music (that allowed for both copious amounts of air guitar solos as well as the occasional mosh pit) and the most delicious little cupcakes I have ever eaten. Ricky and I were seated at a table with some metal friends that we had in common, so what little awkwardness there might have been went right out the door, and Steve let his partner do some spinning and came downstairs to hang out with us all. I eventually called a cab before Ricky’s liver gave up on him, and we bid everyone goodbye and headed home.



As usual, I had the time in the cab mostly to myself, and took a moment to think about all of the weddings I’d done so far. Now, I don’t know how other officiants feel about their job; maybe it’s just a job for them and that’s where it ends. I mean, I’m sure they enjoy what they’re doing, but I get the impression that it’s still a lot of, “Hi, I’m your Reverend. Here’s your wedding service. Thanks for your payment, goodbye and have a nice life!” At the end of the day, all business. I guess it kinda should be, really, but I just can’t see myself operating that way. Because at the end of *my* day, I am so incredibly pleased and grateful that my unbridled enthusiasm for every single wedding that I do is not only evident to my couples, but often appreciated to the point of becoming an invited guest. Not just some stranger who is hired, paid, and never seen again. A guest.


And, I realized (as Mike and Dana were talking and laughing over drinks in my apartment a few weeks later) sometimes something much more.


Sometimes, even a friend.


Rock on! \m/


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