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As many of you know, I am an ordained nonsectarian minister/wedding officiant and run a business called Nonconformist Nuptials. Yesterday (May 14), I had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony for Kimberly Nickel and Ted Johnson at the Black Bear Crossing Lakeside Pavilion at Como Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Kim’s sister/matron of honor, Jenny, had recommended me to her after having met me through her work with the Carver-Scott Humane Society, at whose fundraiser, the Walk Fur Love, I’ll be selling my books (“Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss“) on May 22.

Como Lake as viewed from the Pavilion

The setting was beautiful; the bride, groom and their respective entourages, glorious; and Mother Nature…dare I say it?…well, she was kind of a bitch. This “spring” (in quotation marks because we really haven’t had one following one of the longest, toughest, snowiest winters in Minnesota history) has given us about three days of spring; a couple of hottest, most-humid summer-like days; and a ton of residual winter.

Yesterday, it gave us gray skies, arctic winds, rain, and 44˚ temps. Of course, we couldn’t spoil the look of the gorgeous dresses and suits worn by the bridal party by covering them up with parkas, so the girls, wearing strapless gowns made of cold-conducting satiny fabric, and I got to literally freeze our smiles in place. I’m certain our various goosebumps could be detected by low-flying planes.

But what was most remarkable was everyone’s complete lack of tyrannical behavior or rampant complaining!

In addition to the frigid climes, we discovered the marriage license had been forgotten in the hotel room and one of the attendants had to race back to get it. Then we had to ditch the idea of lighting the Unity Candle during the ceremony because nothing could stay lit even momentarily, I just explained what the act would have symbolized and told the crowd the couple would simply do this at the reception instead. Kim remained calm, composed, and smiling no matter what happened.

She was Zen-like (or maybe she’ll already frozen solid in her happy place, I’m not sure). Either way, I was extremely impressed. She and Ted had had to scramble to find another officiant just two weeks before the wedding because of “artistic differences” with their formerly scheduled person. Then, in that short time, always known for being a time of brides losing their minds from managing details, she (and possibly Ted) managed to shop for some really awesome Flintstones memorabilia (some Flintstones Fortune Tellers and four Hardee’s commemorative Flintstones glasses) as gifts for me because she’d visited my home and seen my Flintstones shrine in the basement! I was floored not only by the generosity and thoughtfulness, but by her rising above the conditions that would have overwhelmed most other women in her position to be generous and thoughtful!

Did we all wish the weather had been more cooperative on the wedding day? Of course. But did we all perform like pros and pull off a lovely, meaningful, and memorable ceremony in spite of Nature’s best efforts to mess things up? Absolutely! Yeah, team Nickel-Johnson!!

My heartfelt thanks to Kim, Ted and all their friends and family for making this wedding one I will remember forever—more for how warm they made me feel inside than for how cold I was on the outside! Congratulations, newlyweds!!!—Sid

P.S. Sometime soon, I will have photos and maybe even a video of their ceremony to post on my Nonconformist Nuptials Photo Gallery page. Check in to see it.


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