Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sharing the Altar with The Pope

I'm not a huge fan of weddings. Thankfully, I'm only invited to one or so each year. And since my invitations usually come from true friends, I wind up going and ultimately have lots of fun.

I tried counting the number of weddings that I have attended, and I'm probably sitting somewhere between 10 and 15.

Most frequently, I am simply an invited guest. A few times, I attended the bachelor party beforehand. Once, I was even the wedding DJ.

This past weekend's wedding was quite different from the norm for many reasons.

First off, I was in the wedding party. I performed the second reading - from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians - the "Love is Patient, Love is Kind" one. I have had multiple friends guess either this particular passage and/or book of the Bible from which I read. I suppose this is a popular one.

I was even invited to ride in the stretch Range Rover. As I stood for about twenty minutes outside, awaiting the rest of the wedding party, I watched tons of people stop and photograph this un-ecofriendly vehicle.

Second of all, it was a black tie affair, which forced me into a tuxedo for the second time in my life. The first time was my high school prom.

Third, the wedding was at St. Patrick's Cathedral, which means that I shared the altar with Bishops, Cardinals, and even The Pope. I think that's completely wild! Parishoners and random tourists were mulling around the interior of the cathedral all while the ceremony rolled on. After the nuptials and procession, we stood on the exterior stairs and were greeted by even more onlookers taking pictures, pointing, and probably wondering what wedding they stumbled across. If I happened across a wedding during one of my trips to Italy, it would have left a lasting impression in the annals of my vacation memories. Hopefully this wedding served the same purpose to a few out-of-towners.

Fourth, the reception was at the New York Athletic Club, a private venue on Central Park South. Our function room on the 9th floor had an outdoor balcony and windows that gave a panoramic view above the treetops of the entire park.

Between the wedding and the reception, I had the opportunity to play Midtown Manhattan tourist, as my friend arranged for a brief chartered bus tour for guests to occupy the down time between the end of the ceremony and beginning of the reception.

Overall, a great day. Perfect weather, happy people all around.

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