I Married My Sister! The Rehearsal

D.J. Paris Priest Rabbi
Absolution will begin after I finish leering at the bridesmaids.
D.J. Paris Priest Rabbi
Absolution will begin after I finish leering at bridesmaids.

My comedy instincts are usually correct.

About six months ago my sister called me to ask if I would perform her wedding ceremony. I wasn’t sure she’d give me this job as I had officiated weddings exactly zero times in the past. I was a groom in a wedding once, but then I got divorced, and I don’t think I could use my ex-wife as a resume reference for the gig.

Despite having no credentials befitting of an officiant, it wasn’t so far-fetched that I would be tapped to play the role of preacher. Neither her or the fiance are religious. Just a few months before they had moved to a different part of the country and were busy renovating a home and starting new jobs. Auditioning the local clergy was not high on their priority list. So, from their perspective there were two options – hire some random dipshit to marry them or ask her only sibling to step up. They could have just dumped me into the groomsmen line but then there wouldn’t be an equal number of bridesmaids to match. Symmetry is important, you know.

When the call to serve came in I was vacationing in New York. As my sister asked I immediately teared up and couldn’t respond. After a six-mississippi count I recovered enough to croak out, “Yes – I’d be honored!” I hung up a minute later and continued bawling. I wish I had been born a broad so I could blame this on my ovaries. After I composed myself I took the subway down to the 9-11 memorial at ground zero and started bawling again. I should have saved that for another day, in retrospect.

Truth be told, I had been petitioning to get this job ever since the announcement of their engagement. I told everyone I knew that I hoped they’d ask me. I made friends and family promise not to relay my wish back to my sister because I didn’t want to put her in the position of having to say no. But like the book The Secret, I psychically visualized her asking me a thousand times. I’m not exaggerating.

Since that ended up manifesting, my current The Secret visualization is where I vividly experience a Brinks truck exploding in a cornfield where nobody else is around except me because I’m a migrant worker on a small farm detasseling corn late in the day after all the other crew had gone home and as the truck burns with the driver inside (not my problem) money is raining down to earth to which I collect the non-charred, unmarked bills and stuff them into a gunny sack and run into the forest to start my new life as a rich guy. (the book says you’re supposed to be specific in the visualization exercise).

Once I accepted the wedding role there were a few to-doskis. First, I needed to get ordained to make it all official-like. The good news is that becoming an ordained minister takes about four minutes. No background check. No questions about faith. Not even a captcha question to submit the “submit minister application” button. Either I chose the most welcoming church on the planet to ordain me or a bunch of shysters who figured out how to get schmucks like me to pay $7 and avoid corporate taxes. Probably the latter.

Upon my online ordination I was willing, legal and ready to marry. I called down to the county clerk where they were getting hitched just to make sure I didn’t miss any requirements. The clerk let me know that I was good to go. Next I had two critical tasks. One, write an amazing script for the wedding. Two, do something ridiculous for the rehearsal. Let’s start with the rehearsal.

My future-brother-in-law was raised by a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. Because I’m a relative simpleton I went for the most obvious joke. My first call was to a custom yarmulke shop (in Manhattan – shocking!) and I had a suede beanie made with “Al and Dana” written in Hebrew on the back. Next I phoned a friend whose family runs the Catholic supply store where I grew up. You can buy crosses, nun habits, and even holy water at the shop. I explained that I wanted a full priest dress. The bummer was that I couldn’t rent it and priest outfits are expensive. You have to measure your neck and arm length and all that crap. A few weeks later everything arrived in the mail. I was the proud owner of a custom yarmulke and a tailored priest cassock with collar. I was going as half-rabbi/half-padre. Not the most sophisticated joke, but visually I figured it would work. I put on the outfit at home and fell about the place, giggling.

dj paris yarmulke
A goy wearing a kippah? IT HAPPENED.

I was 100% sure this would kill come rehearsal day. I ran it by a bunch of people including my parents and everyone agreed it was funny.

Turns out it wasn’t that funny.

One thing that I didn’t remember from my time exchanging vows was just how uncomfortable the rehearsal is for everyone. It’s stressful. Nobody knows what to do or where to stand. I’ve been in a dozen weddings and after each rehearsal I still have to turn to another groomsmen and go, “Did you get that? I wasn’t paying attention.”

The rehearsal was also going to be the first time I had met the wedding planner. We had chatted a few times over email but I didn’t think to clue her in on my costume. I should have thought that she wouldn’t have any context for the joke or what to make of it.

I was the first in the party to arrive at the rehearsal. The planner was already at the location waiting for everyone. I drove separately because I wanted everyone to see my hilarious outfit at the same time. I went over to say hello. When she saw me in the priest/rabbi garb I’m sure she didn’t know how to react. Maybe she thought I was a real priest. The yarmulke should have tipped her off that this was a goof, but maybe she didn’t get invited to a lot of bar mitzvahs in junior high and didn’t know what that thing was perched atop my melon.

After shaking her hand I motioned to my outfit as if to say, “Isn’t this the BEST?” She didn’t respond. She started at me with vacant, dead eyes. All of a sudden I felt like a huge asshole. This was her gig and she’s getting paid a large sum to pull it off without issue. Meanwhile I scored the lead in this play and now she’s dealing with a bozo who could screw up the entire production. I understand she was freaked out. But I couldn’t take off the outfit because the wedding party hadn’t yet arrived. Like any good actor, I commit to the role. I spent five minutes making small talk with the wedding planner. I reassured her that this was just a goof. I even tried to impress her by revealing I had purchased a new suit for the actual event. Tailored and everything. She still looked at me with revulsion.

Okay, the wedding planner wasn’t a fan. Fine. But I still had the bridesmaids and groomsmen would most obviously laugh themselves silly. Well… I had also neglected to do the math that most of the wedding party didn’t know me. As they walked up to the event and sort of just stared at my outfit. While some of them laughed, others were puzzled. Was Dana’s brother really a rabbi and/or priest? Even the groom barely chuckled and I’ve known him for six years and likes my sense of humor. At one point I felt compelled to address everyone and say, “Just so everyone knows, I’m not a world-class shithead. This is a joke. Tomorrow I’m going to be professional and serious. In a new suit, in case you didn’t hear.” Do you know how big of an asshole you have to feel like to address a whole group like that?

My parents were the only people at the rehearsal who clearly thought it was hilarious. They ran around taking pictures of me at various angles.

The planner ran us through the event, gave us our blocking and then dismissed us until tomorrow. I ripped the clothing off and got back in the car. My folks were there giving me solid 10s across the board. I appreciated the support, but I knew I had bombed.

Oh, by the way, I still have the priest dress. If you’re 6’3″ and have a 17.5″ neck and wish to hang out with altar boys I have the perfect outfit for you. Make me an offer. God bless.

3 thoughts on “I Married My Sister! The Rehearsal”

  1. Shae says:

    Oh my thanks for the laugh! Firstly that title …. And had I been a guest at the rehearsal well let just say your parent have a great sense of humor, well done!

  2. Karoline says:

    Hilarious. LOVE the kippah, goyim! When I get my adult version of the bat mitzvah, you gotta come.

    1. http://www./ says:

      What a lovely post and a lovely tribute to your mum, it actually made me tear up a little bit. I am not going to say anything as I have no idea how you feel and I have absolutely no idea how I would cope in your situation but you are obviously a very brave lady. Loads of love to you today. xx

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