I performed my first wedding a year and a half ago. I married my co-worker Nate and his lovely fiancée, Brook. I’m pleased to report that they’re still happily married despite the parts I got wrong.
A short time later, I also performed the vow renewal of friends Gary and Millie Watts. I tried to talk Millie out of recommitting to a known golf addict, but she insisted that it was too late.
Like Nate and Brook, Gary and Millie are also still together. In fact, they’re in Thailand right now visiting their most recent grandchildren, twins Joe and Gary.
Since then I have performed another vow renewal, a “re-engagement” ceremony and the arranged marriage of Big John and Ellie, a pair of dachshunds, one of whom was shockingly pregnant.
I’m pleased to report that all of these unions are actively thriving. With a record of 100 percent, I figured that I should quit the marrying business while I was ahead.
But then I got a call from the daughter of a friend asking if I would perform her ceremony next month?
Before agreeing to do it, I called my friend (her father) to make sure he was OK. That was important. Few things put a damper on a wedding quite like the officiant being punched unconscious.
Then suddenly I started getting more requests. A few days ago, an apparently nice young man named “Alex” emailed and asked if I would perform his wedding to his fiancé, “Brad.”
I’m slow but eventually I’ll clue into the fact that something is out of the ordinary. I caught on fairly quickly about Big John and Ellie, but this took an extra second. When I talked to Alex on the phone, he was nervous.
Alex: “We’re gay. Is that … all right?”
Me: “You’re not pregnant, are you?”
A date was set. Unfortunately, some people are firm in their definition of marriage. Alex called back and canceled.
His deeply religious parents weren’t happy about him marrying his partner, but they absolutely refused to attend the ceremony if it were conducted by “that guy at The Tribune.”
I don’t blame them. Getting married is serious business, especially if you plan on it lasting longer than five minutes. Why start things with the pronouncement of a fool?
Since Alex, I fielded three more requests to perform “gay weddings.” I hadn’t really thought about it much. A wedding is a wedding. None of my business who loves whom.
First: “We know you’re LDS, but you seem nice.”
Second: “I read your column on my mission.”
Third: “How much do you charge?”
Charge? Wait, you can make money marrying people? Nobody said anything about that. This is more serious than I thought. I obviously need a fee schedule, something that bespeaks the official tone of a legal union.
OK, my absolute bottom price for marrying a visibly heterosexual couple — and by this I mean one man and one woman — is $18.72. That should cover mileage and whatever my time is worth.
My absolute bottom price for marrying a gay couple is — well, $18.72. That’s fair. It still takes the same amount of gas and time and love.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.