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My best friend, Stephanie, was a lovely bride
Li Em_Stephanie lovely bride
MY BEST FRIEND Stepha-nie “was a lovely bride,” according to columnist Reverend Emily Schendel. Shendel, recently appointed a mail-order-reverend, officiated at the wedding of her best friend Stephanie recently.

GAYS MILLS - This weekend, I married my best friend.

I should back up a little bit, that is kind of a misleading sentence. Because, in fact dear readers, I, Emily, was not the one getting married. I was the one doing the marrying. 

My best friend Stephanie and her now husband were joined in matrimony at the top of Mt. Hosmer in Lansing, Iowa on Saturday. I played the part of the officiant and photographer during the event. 

Stephanie has been wedding planning a long, long time. The dream has taken many different forms as well. From a massive grand ceremony in a Catholic Church in her now husband’s home city of Mexico City to a beach wedding in Cancun to a little white chapel in Las Vegas, to just simply running down to the courthouse on a Wednesday. when it is ‘get married for free day’ in their county.

So, I have to admit, after years of her dreaming up all sorts of different ceremonies, I wasn’t exactly convinced it was all going to go down. But of course, like any good best friend does, I agreed to fill whatever role she needed me for. 

The Internet is a crazy place and after a very minimal amount of Google searching I found that I was able to become ordained in the Universal Life Church, making me able to officiate a wedding. For a range or prices as well, I could commemorate the moment with plaques, coffee mugs, business cards and all sorts of materials. I kept it simple and opted for the cheapest certificate verifying my new position. 

True to my scatter-brained style, for about a month and a half I’d continually text Stephanie and ask “When’s the wedding again?” 

“July 6” she’d say over and over. I promised I’d write it on the calendar this time...

The other fun aspect of Stephanie’s wedding was, it was kind of an elopement, in the sense she didn’t hardly tell a soul. 

The happy couple is self-proclaimed hermits, so this, in the end didn’t surprise me much at all. 

Us gals got ready at the groovy new lodging spot, The Dharma House, in Lansing. 

The room Stephanie and Alfredo stayed in and we got ready in was everything I wish my own bedroom could be. If I didn’t have kids making a mess or Chasca leaving dirty socks all over.

The willy-nilly feel of the wedding added a certain charm to it–as well as a relaxed atmosphere. We drank iced coffee and complained about our spouses, gossiped, and discussed the merits of different cheeses, while looking at ourselves in the mirror and getting glamorous. All in a day’s work, as they say.  

As part of my officiating duties, I had to write a little speech as well. The positive words were a nice reprieve from all of the funeral writing I’ve done when not writing for work. 

“Let me read it so I can have a pre-cry” the emotional bride demanded. I declined her offer, assuring her that the waterproof mascara and fake eyelashes only had to last a little while since we were taking photos before. 

Once at the park, things happened so fast. Stephanie’s aunt and uncle, who were surprised they were going to be attending a wedding, were there at the ready along with Alfredo’s uncle and cousin. 

Everyone had their phones out for photos as Stephanie’s Mom and Dad walked her up the grassy hill to the arbor where Alfredo, his daughters and I awaited the beautiful bride. 

Forgetting her portable speaker at home, Stephanie had stuck her phone with her music, a steel drum rendition of Elvis’s ‘Cant help falling in love’ in the back of her dress, along with the marriage license. Handy, when they don't make wedding dresses with pockets. 

I delivered my speech, with minimal crying from Stephanie, who worked awfully hard to keep it together.

Kudos also to Chasca, who wore the baby strapped to his chest, and was able to take photos for me, while Thatcher beat him with a stick demanding whatever an overtired hungry toddler may want. 

The little ceremony was over as quickly as it began and we whisked off to her family’s home to have a steak dinner with all of the fixings. Short and sweet, just like Stephanie herself. 

This is my only wedding for the year, but who knows what else could crop up. But I certainly am happy I was able to kick off my first one by marrying my best friend.