Anyway, I'm proud of how it turned out. It was a large event that I single-handedly arranged and it went flawlessly. I can't really talk about it or enjoy the pictures though. I suppose in time the sting of having made such an obvious error will fade and I can enjoy the documentation of my efforts.
My dad's toast was absurdly long. Like probably at least ten minutes long. Maybe fifteen. My dad really likes the spotlight. He'd handwritten the outline to his speech on white printer paper. At one point he said "after today I'm not going to drink any more.....
[insert audible crowd murmur and maybe even a gasp or two. Picture me with a raised eyebrow waiting for the punchline because I know that's not true]
....or less than I do already." two beats and then the laughs kicked in. A groan from my mother. Halfway through he said "Squirrel!" He told a story about how when I was little, about 3 years old, he duped me into thinking I could ride on a kite. He thought it was the cutest thing because I trusted him implicitly to fly me into air on the back of the kite. As he tells it, I sat down cross legged on this kite and gripped the sides and clenched my jaw, intent to not fall off. Of course he then had to confess that he was a big phony and that I could not, in fact, soar into the air on a plastic sheet suspended by straws and string. He ended his toast with the Star Trek hand thing, telling us to live long and prosper.
Side note: my dad always shined me on like that when I was a kid. He made up strange things and told them to me with a straight face. For instance, once when he took me fishing, he caught a catfish and told me that it was a California Whisker Shark, that's why it's smooth. Or one time he explained the origin of chicken drummettes (in the form of hot wings) by telling me that chickens are in fact born with 3 legs, but they have to cut one off so they can walk properly. I learned early on to take anything he said with a grain of salt and to this day, I credit him with my critical thinking skills. If it weren't for him I might not assume that anything you hear might just be bullshit.
Anyway. The groom's mother gave a toast next. She wasn't clutching a heavily creased stack of printer papers as my father had been, and confessed that she didn't have anything prepared. She did say that my dad's story about me riding the kite reminded her of a poem she'd written when her son was just a little boy, in which she'd "compared him to a bright shining kite, and now Jenny you get to ride that kite, and we're all right behind you!" She said it with heartfelt conviction and it was clear that she was really trying to drive home a sentimental gem. Her puzzled look gave way to embarrassment as her daughter, amid gasps, guffaws and looks of horror shouted "Mom! This is a family event!" From that point on, kites were the playful symbol of our relationship.
I had a talk with the best man on the shuttle ride back into town. He said that having met and seen my father, it made so much more sense that I'd chosen that man to marry. He understood why I was willing to put up with drunken absurdity. I explained that yes, everyone has problems but this is one I know how to deal with. "Better the devil you know," I said. I think I was trying to convince myself more than him.
It was a fun night, everyone had a good time. I don't regret throwing that party one bit.