Cliff’s Wedding

Yesterday Debbi and I headed out to the wedding of my friend Cliff, who was marrying a Debby of his own!

I must be getting less high-strung in my old age, since putting on the monkey suit (i.e., my suit) didn’t bother me, despite having to remember how to tie a tie and doing so at the tail end of the area’s latest heat wave. And Debbi looked great in the dress she bought last month for the event. I did learn that it’s time to buy a new suit, though, as this one is showing the initial signs of being a little too old and worn (I think I bought it in 1994 to interview for jobs following grad school, so I can’t really complain).

Cliff is Jewish, so this was a traditional Jewish wedding (well, or so he told us!), which was a new experience for me. About as new as Subrata‘s Hindu wedding a few years back; heathen that I am, all of these religious wedding ceremonies are equally fresh to me, I guess. We showed up at the temple and the guests were divided into two rooms, one for the bride and one for the groom. Cliff was about as happy as I can imagine ever seeing him; he’d been looking for the right someone for a while, and has been positively brimming over with excitement over his wedding day.

This pre-ceremony event apparently traditionally involved the groom expounding on some element of the Torah – and apparently with some heckling from the gathered guests, although I’m not sure how traditional that is. Though I noticed that it was common throughout the events leading up to the ceremony that people would be laughing and joking about everything, and Cliff was certainly among those. After this, Cliff was danced (literally) over to Debby’s pre-ceremony reception (the violinist played what I presume is a traditional tune along the way, but before then he was playing “Mahna Mahna” and the theme from the Muppet Show, to much amusement of all), and we all went over for the ceremony.

Well, not quite: Before the ceremony is the signing of the marriage contract, which is apparently the majority of the legal event (under both California and Jewish law). This was somewhat less interesting for us because there wasn’t a lot going on to see or hear, and because the room was a little too small to see what events there were. But afterwards we went into the temple for the ceremony proper. And this was joyous but in a more serious sense, as ceremony typically is. One thing that struck me was that Debby circled Cliff 7 times when she walked in, and if I recall correctly (not having journalled about it at the time) Subrata circled Susan 7 times in their ceremony (or maybe it was the other way around?). I may have the particulars wrong, but the circling in both ceremonies struck me as interesting. Anyway, Debby seemed to be just was happy and enthusiastic about it all as Cliff was, and it all went quite smoothly.

The wedding reception was a couple of towns over, and we were seated with some of Cliff’s gaming friends. There were actually only two guests I knew beforehand, although there was one woman whom I recognized from the campus at work but whom I don’t know. (I don’t think she worked in Cliff’s group, so I may ask him how he knows her.) Dinner was quite yummy, and we had a good time watching the dancing (no, I didn’t dance), and we congratulated the happy couple of course.

And now they’re off on their honeymoon. I wish them the best – certainly it seems like they got off on the right foot!

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