Clearly I haven’t been the most faithful of bloggers. I can blame my “new” lifestyle. I can blame a bout of writer’s block. I can even blame the inconsistent weather that befalls New York and say it messes with my chi… But those would all be excuses and I’m trying my best lately to follow the advice of a friend and not get in my own way with petty excuses. So! Simply said, I lost my focus.
But, with the arrival of FMC’s (Judie & Juan) wedding in April, I had to put my game face on and return to the world of matrimony. It had been seven months since the last wedding I attended, but a main difference with this event lie with the task of finding a date. My most pleasant choice was asking Jon (one of my closest friends) to attend with me and avoid the questioning that would revolve around me bringing anyone else. That being said, I’ve now put it out there that my love life hasn’t exactly secured it self since the last wedding. But, we’ll get to that later.
Judie & Juan’s wedding took place on April 23rd at Russo’s Bay in Long Island (or is that the Queens border? I can never tell.) Clouds threatened hard rain throughout the morning, but I knew that would do nothing to dampen the beauty of this day. Their wedding was a daytime event, meaning it started at noon and would end by 6pm. By some miracle of God, I was able to keep to a tight schedule and arrived at Jon’s house on time despite the sloshy rainfall. He erupted from his house, dressed in a tailored black suit, looking quite perfect, but bitching about the rain f’ing up his white tie. I assured him the spot could not be seen by normal eyes, and then distracted him by focusing on how well his black suit matched my purple and black flowered dress. Jon, a man of fashion, looked at me with a smile and reminded me he would never allow us to have a joint fashion mishap. Bless him.
A short time later, we found ourselves in front of Russo’s and hastily being ushered out of my car by the valet attendants. I forfeited my jacket and made a beeline for the door, crashing through it just before my hair found its way into frizz. Jon started surveying his tie again and I quickly grabbed him and led him to the bar filled with boozy delights. We started off with martinis and coffee (to ease the hangover I was fighting off due to a drinking binge with coworkers the night before.) After my palette was moist, we were led into the hall where the wedding ceremony would be held. Finding seats toward the back, I readied myself for the entrance of my dear friends.
Salsa singer, Kevin Ceballo, opened up the ceremony with a special song. Juan, looking wonderfully handsome, made his way to the altar with his mother and father. Shortly thereafter, the music changed and we were asked to stand. The doors fell open once more and in glided the stunningly beautiful bride, flanked by her parents. Judie is a natural beauty; she has high cheekbones and a captivating smile. Now, dressed in a gorgeous curve-hugging gown, and made up just enough to accentuate her natural beauty without looking overdone, Judie was breathtaking. I nearly started crying just at the sight of her (cut me some slack, I’m allowed to be girly once in a while!)
As she joined Juan at the altar I was suddenly aware that the man was on the verge of a tear filled waterfall. It was adorable and almost brought me to tears myself. Juan was so anxious he jumped to kiss his bride before the ceremony even began and was quickly (and affectionately) scolded by the officiant. The crowd giggled and the ceremony commenced. Now I know Judie to be a funny woman, but her vows nearly had me howling in laughter. Of course they were also laced with sweet sentiments, but Juan’s heartfelt monologue was the more emotional of the two and all I could keep thinking was how lucky these two were to find each other.
Soon thereafter they were pronounced man and wife and sashayed their way back down the aisle and out the back door. We were then led back to the cocktail area, now decorated with several food stations. Jon and I quickly made use of our plates, piling them high with pasta, veggies, pork, fish, fruit — the deliciousness of it all left us with no shame. As we chowed down we discussed our lives and our futures. Jon is gay and greatly looks forward to having his own wedding and family one day. It makes me sad to think that laws may make one part of that equation very difficult for him. I wish I could forfeit my “right” to wed to someone who believes in marriage so much more than I do. It just doesn’t seem fair.
Our conversations and debates about life and love were interrupted by an announcement that we were to return to the hall for the reception. Taking a last swig of our martinis we headed inside and learned we were sitting beside Trance, one of Judie’s best friends and a mutual friend of mine as well. His presence alone was a sure sign that the sentimental wedding would now turn towards a full on party. House music played as the newlywed couple made their way into the hall. First and parental dances were had and soon enough we were all joining the lovers on the floor to sweat out our excessive martinis.
The next few hours were a blur of wonderfulness. Jon and I danced to top 40, salsa, bachata and endless bouts of merengue. A live band (Los Homeboys) graced the stage and called Judie and Juan up to join them. Showcasing their hip-gyrating talents, the couple got the whole crowd involved in the dance extravaganza. Calling it memorable is an understatement. Between dances there was more food, more drink and more laughs. I only broke from the fun to use the restroom, and in doing so found yet another sweet surprise: a photo booth.
My most recent obsession with photo booths began when Jon and I found one in a dive bar on 9th avenue months ago. Since then, whenever I come across a booth I must grab someone to take photos with me. If not, I might turn into dust or something medieval and tragic like that. Jon and I grabbed a clapperboard and a boa and jumped into the booth. After emerging with some fun photos, I spotted Judie, grabbed her hand and cut the line of party-goers while announcing, “I’m allowed to cut the line, I have the bride!” Fortunately, Juan found us, joined in, and now I have printed memories of our quartet being ridiculous together.
The problem with fun and beautiful weddings is they tend to move along too quickly. Before we knew it, hours had passed and it was time to wish the couple well on their honeymoon to Italy. I hugged Judie fiercely, made her promise she’d have the most amazing time in Europe and contact me as soon as she returned. I approached Juan just the same and then let them both go off to attend to their other guests. Jon and I made our way to the valet and learned the clouds had begun to clear. The transition into a beautiful day.
As we drove away, Jon commented on the experience. “That was an excellent wedding and they clearly love each other more than anything.” I smiled. Jon had never met the couple before, and yet he could acknowledge their shared love. I’m honored to know people who still love this way despite any outside factors. While I have my own opinions, my own doubts, while there are facts to back up my claims, and sad stories of experience to be told, I still know a few people who have made it through the bullshit. And in knowing Judie and Juan, I still have hope.
Love you guys!
[Addendum:: Since I wrote this original post, NY state legislation passed a law allowing same-sex marriages. Yay New York!!!!!]