Thursday, November 11, 2010

SO MANY WEDDINGS: some lovely, some so much trouble

This week I married 12 couples and one couple I turned over to a translator.  That couple would not admit the groom didn't speak English.  I kept talking to him and all he could say was yes.  I did a practice run on the vows. I take you . . . he kept saying yes. Just yes.

It was a week for the United Nations.  Couples were from Nepal, Mongolia, Vietnam, China, Mexico, Hungary, India, Ethiopia, and the United States. When I have the United Nations of couples I also have the problem of correctly pronouncing their names.  After so many years of doing this I am getting better.  I have figured out the Mongolians. My bride's name was Gangantsetseg. I have learned you pronounce it just as it looks. Of course some names start with Khlg. . . .  Then I struggle.

The group from Nepal were in traditional dress.  The women wore heavily jeweled dresses or tunics and pants.  The jewel work was at the necks like a necklace and around the hemlines.  Really lovely. Most of the other brides were in white or black and white, which seems to be popular now.

There were many very much in love couples and their ceremonies were very nice.  But you know I always get the funny/strange couples.  And that is what I write about.

I was given the license and I checked it.  The couple had put the mother of the bride's birth name the same as the father's.  That happens sometimes, same last name.  I checked it before doing the ceremony.  Yep, it wasn't the mother's birth name. We reprinted and re signed.  I then gathered the couple and their guests.  There were 8 of them.  We are getting on the elevator and the groom says, "The rings are in the car. Should I go get them?"  I said, "If you want them as a part of the ceremony, go get them.  How far away are you parked?"  They were 5 minutes away.  That means 10 minutes total. The groom takes off, I go back to my desk.  Finally they knock on the door, they are ready.  I go out and there is no bride and none of her sisters are there.

They don't know where the bride is.  Why did they come get me?  They call her.  The ladies are in the restroom primping.  I told them they were like herding cats.  We should be all done with trouble now. No.  We get upstairs to the wedding room.  As always I tell them to mute their cell phones.  We begin the ceremony.  Half way through, a phone rings and rings.  I said, "Don't you dare answer that.  Turn it off now."  And then I completed the ceremony.

One more very strange one.The names have been changed to keep me out of trouble.  I am checking the license and see a problem.  The groom's name is El-Cid Jones, but he signed the license with a string of numbers, periods, hyphens and some letters.  Something like  G.G.M.-sqxrbbbb.2d3  Doesn't look anything like his name.  I took it to supervisor R and she said he can't do this.  R went out and talked to him.  Sacramento requires letters only and in English for a signature. He pitched a fit. A loud in your face fit. No one had ever questioned his signature before and it was on his driver's license and his passport.  If the federal government would accept it. . .  And then he pulled them out and son of a gun.  That was how he signed them.  R called Sacramento and they said he could sign that way since the Federal government accepted it.  Now as a little side note he and the bride changed their names from Jones and Smith to a name associated with a powerful criminal Oakland family. 

To end on a nicer note.  I did the ceremony for a sweet so in love couple.  He was Mexican, she was Chinese.  They told me this was their third ceremony.  They had done a cultural Chinese ceremony.  They had gone to Mexico and been married in the church there.  And my ceremony was for the state.  The beauty of this is they responded as if my ceremony was the first one.  They took it very seriously.  Isn't that nice?

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