I don’t like wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners although I’m always invited. It borders on rude if I don’t come, but I usually find a way out anyway.
I feel like the hired hand who is invited up to the big house to eat at a table by himself while the family and friends share laugher, stories, and affection with each other.
I know it’s not really like that.
I’m more like the hired official who eats at a table by himself while the family and friends share laughter, stories, and affection with each other.
“Your family is invited, too,” they always say.
But my children would rather take a beating than be on display in a room full of people they don’t know. “Don’t worry,” I assure. “They don’t see you anyway.”
I usually decline the rehearsal dinner by saying I’m expected elsewhere. I am. I expect myself to be home with my family eating a baloney sandwich rather the brisket, ham, or pizza with strangers who don’t have anything to say to me.
At the reception, I’ll take a piece of cake which I leave on the table because I don’t like wedding cake. After I’ve been there long enough to be seen but not spoken to, I’ll slide over to the groom, ask him for the license, fill it out, take my thank you card, and slip out. Sometimes he merely slips a few bills in my pocket and says “thanks Preacher, you did good.”
I usually refrain from wringing his hand with gratitude before I go home.
It doesn’t always feel so bad.
There was one reception where I felt at home. It happened to be the fanciest wedding I ever did. But the family were truly gracious hosts who worked to make everyone including me feel comfortable.
When the moment came for the dad to take his beautiful daughter in his arms to dance, I thought about how much I liked them. Then the music changed from formal to whimsical. Accordion music filled the air to the melody of The Chicken Dance as the father and daughter did the funny moves. I could see this lovely woman as a little girl doing the dance with her dad in their living room.
And I started loving them.
It was one of the only times I ever stayed to the end of the evening.