This New Year's Eve, my husband and I stumbled upon a pop-up wedding chapel. I've avoided marking holidays with romantic milestones my whole life figuring that if the romance ever goes bye-bye, I'll have to dread that holiday for the rest of my life. And I would undoubtedly carry it too far. "I knew I shouldn't have gotten engaged on Arbor Day! Now I can't walk in the park in April anymore! There are trees everywhere!!" (And yes, I did just look up when Arbor Day was... or if it even still was.) So, there, in the middle of the New Year's Eve festivities was this pop-up chapel. Immediately I said to my husband: "Wanna do it?" To which he responded: "Wanna?" I knew I'd better seize the moment, the second I saw it. If I'd waited for him to suggest it, we would have already strolled a mile down the road and had to walk back. We signed in and waited our turn on line behind a dozen other couples. I was disappointed to see there weren't any same-sex couples in front of us. I was dying to see if someone in the audience would be so steadfast in their beliefs, they'd even walk out of a fake wedding. The woman working there handed out gum machine rings from a baggie to everyone on the line for us to use and keep. I thought: "Wow, this would've been great for my real wedding: One-stop bridal shopping: They lent me a veil, a bouquet, and they have a jeweler on the premises." (Though the veil did make me a little nervous. As one blushing bride finished with it, they swiftly transferred it from her head to the next one's and so on down the line. I had visions of the local newspaper's first headline of the year: "New Year's Eve Brings Love and Lice".) So there I was looking lovely in jeans and my NY Mets bridal sweatshirt that I'd spilled fruit punch on earlier because that's what I typically do... And, oh, did I mention that we had been walking through intermittent showers for the better part of the day? So, what really brought all of us to this indoor pop-up wedding chapel? True love or inclement weather?
I held my groom's hand as we waited our turn. His palms were sweaty. His eyes were shifting up and down, left and right... You know when you go for an eye exam and the doctor tells you to follow his finger? Like that. I'm thinking: "Great... Things are worse than I thought. He's considering bolting out of here. What could be more depressing than being left at the altar of a mock wedding on New Year's Eve?... You're right: Being left at the altar of a real wedding on New Year's Eve.
It actually was a very nice ceremony. At least the vows were in English. The last one we had, they were in Hebrew. I haven't a clue what I agreed to. At the end of the New Year's Eve one, we even got a marriage license with our names and the date and everything. Granted, it looks less like a marriage license and more like something you get for participating in the spelling bee... like a certificate of achievement. But you know what? We've been married twelve years. Damn it, we deserve a certificate of achievement.