The Drunk Groom
I performed a wedding on the grounds of a beautiful restaurant overlooking scenic Dana Point Harbor in Orange County, California. The restaurant is built on the side of a cliff and it is very difficult to find.
Everyone was set, except for the bride. A limo was bringing her. We waited and waited. No bride.
The groom and the families were beside themselves. They asked me if I would stick around until they found out what happened to the bride. agreed.
After an hour or so, the family told the guests that there would be an open bar with drinks on the house. Everyone started drinking – especially the groom.
The limo finally showed over two hours late. The limo had car trouble. (These were the days before cell phones.) Then the driver went to the same-named restaurant, but in Newport Beach. Then the driver had trouble finding the cliff-side location. The bride was livid. The family reprimanded the limo driver and threatened a lawsuit.
We were finally ready to start. Unfortunately, by that time, the groom was drunk out of his mind. His speech was slurred, and he spit on me as he talked. He couldn’t stand on his own. I had to interlock my arm in his throughout the ceremony to keep him from falling down.
I’m not certain if the groom had the mental capacity to knowingly enter into a marriage covenant, but I went ahead anyway. I haven’t heard anything since.
The Mix-and-Match Samoan Wedding
I performed a wedding for two Samoan families I knew from church. Although I performed the wedding in my capacity as judge, the ceremony was held at an LDS Church.
Culturally, Samoans are often laid back and often late. (“Samoan time”) The groom and groom’s men did not show up for the wedding until two hours after the scheduled time. Knowing that Samoan males are built like refrigerators one would have thought they would have tried on the tuxedos ahead of time. But they didn’t. When they tried to put on their tuxes right before the ceremony, nothing fit.
They raced back to the tux shop and had to wear clothes that were in stock. The groom wore a black coat with grey pants. One man wore a white coat with black pants. Another wore a tan coat with white pants. And on and on it went down the line.
They completely pulled the best man out of the wedding. The tux shop manager said they only way they could fit him was would be to wrap a bed sheet around him and put a bow tie around his neck.
The wedding party told everyone that the mix-and-match colors were intentional and that they were trying to start a new trend. Some people believed them.
The Groom Who Got Stuck
I officiated at a wedding in a spacious back yard where they erected a plywood stage about three feet high so that everyone had a good view of the ceremony. The family members who built the stage taped off areas that were reinforced for us to walk and stand. They cautioned us to stay within the taped areas.
At the conclusion of the ceremony I introduced the newlyweds. As the bride and groom started the recession, the excited groom stepped off to his left outside the taped area. His leg broke through the stage. He was okay, but he was stuck. Family members rushed to the tool shed and returned with pry bars, so they could dislodge the stuck groom.
The Crazy Aunt
We all have crazy relatives. Sometimes, these crazy relatives steal the show.
I performed a wedding for a young attorney friend of mine and his bride. It was held on the lawn behind a restaurant overlooking Dana Point Harbor, California. I had performed several weddings at the picturesque location.
Just before our procession, a crow started fighting with a squirrel for food in a pine tree near the front row of the audience. All of a sudden rocks started flying over the crowd and into the tree, raining the audience with bark, pine needles and dust. Behind the back row was an 80-year-old woman, yelling, “Get out of the tree,” as she picked up rocks and hurled them over the heads of the crowd toward the tree.
The quick acting groom standing next to me grabbed her, pinned her arms to her side, said a few comforting words, and ushered her inside the restaurant before she could injury anyone. He came back outside, a little embarrassed, and said it was his “crazy aunt from Chicago.”
The Noisy Balloons
I performed a wedding in the back yard of a mansion overlooking the ocean. They decorated the backyard with hundreds of helium balloons which they secured with long ribbons near the top of the wall surrounding the backyard. Unfortunately, on the other side of the wall were bougainvillea vines with their long sharp thorns. The wind picked up in the middle of my ceremony and the balloons started popping. It sounded like a gun target practice range.
“My Awful Wedded Wife”
During one ceremony, the nervous groom, instead of saying, “my lawful wedded wife,” said, “my awful wedded wife.” Every laughed. I don’t know whether that was a Freudian slip or not.
The Teary-Eyed Aryan Brotherhood Gang Leader
I performed a few marriages in my courtroom where the grooms were in custody, generally on their way to state prison. Because of security concerns, the brides had to undergo an embarrassing and invasive search for weapons or drugs. For security reasons I stood in the “well” and the couple stood on the other side of counsel table.
I shall never forget one of the weddings. The groom was a leader in the Aryan Brotherhood white racist gang. He was huge. His head was shaved, and he had prison tattoos and Nazi symbols all over his body. One tattoo was a dotted line around his neck with the words “Cut Here.”
He was about 6’5” tall. I could not imagine a more evil, mean looking, hardened person. During the ceremony, as I talked about my “Ten Laws of Matrimony,” tears trickled down his cheeks. Even I started to get chocked up. I guess everyone has a soft spot somewhere.
The Double Prisoner Wedding
Perhaps the most unique wedding I performed, both the groom and bride were prisoners. I had sentenced them both to state prison for ten years. They were like Bonnie and Clyde. They were committing robberies together. They finally got caught, but there was only enough evidence to convict them of one of the robberies.
After I imposed sentence, they asked if I would marry them. The bride had tried to get the groom to marry her for years, but he just wouldn’t commit. Now that he had “settled down a bit,” he finally agreed, and I performed the ceremony. The bride could take some comfort knowing exactly where her spouse would be for the next ten years.
The ceremony did not look very romantic. Both the bride and groom were dressed in bright orange jail jumpsuits. Since they were in relative proximity to me, they were both in handcuffs with waist chains plus leg irons, and there were surrounded by four sheriff deputies.
As they say, “Love conquers all.”