Outdoor Wedding Black Ops Thank You Notes


Austin and Ashley, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix was perfect for your dry sense of humor. Here’s to the happy couple! Sure could have used the complimentary coconut water during my first recon mission in Syria.


Bob and Brenda, the intense humidity at your Georgia wedding brought me back to my first retrieval mission in Kumasi! Thanks for not making us duck enemy fire in Okefenokee Swamp, you freaking sadists! Love you guys! Wish I could sleep without screaming.


Ed and Elizabeth, the rain at the Edgartown Yacht Club pier was no joke! I felt like I was back in my Navy Seal training days, soaked head to foot, shivering, wishing I’d never been born. If only you had a bell I could ring when I wanted to quit. To your health! Hooyah!

Cold and Snow

Debbie and Dmitri, how can you beat a wedding in a snowstorm in Denver? The fact that your grandfather disappeared made it as epic as the time I trekked twenty miles through Jektvik to gather Intel on that crazy scientist. Wasn’t your grandfather a scientist? Happiness forever! I have nothing to do with his disappearance.

Wind and Sand and Heat

John and Judy, wow! Your wedding at Navagio Beach was intense! When the sand storm knocked your great grandmother into the flower arch, it was like I was crouched next to my overturned jeep in the desert with zero visibility all over again. Love and laughter! I killed my friend’s grandfather.

Heat and Rough Terrain and Humidity and Mosquitos

Fred and Francine, you’re the best! When I was scrambling down that rocky hillside to get to your lake-side dock, slapping at mosquitoes, slipping head over heels on the gravel and dislocating my shoulder when I landed on your niece, it reminded me of the broken collar bone and irreversible psychological trauma I suffered in Kuala Lumpur. Hey, if it doesn’t suck we don’t do it, right? To the bride and groom! I drink in the dark.

Rain and Heat and Humidity and Rough Terrain and Alligators

Mike and Melinda, how did you even find that clearing in the Everglades? The combination of rain, heat, humidity, muddy footing and the threat of alligator attacks triggered some seriously repressed stuff from darkest recesses of my brain, man. I didn’t know if I was supposed to do the Macarena or just wave my bowie knife at anything that came near me. Don’t be that guy, right? To true love! I dream that I’m having nightmares.

Wind and Cold and Snow and Hail and Falling Ice and Rough Terrain

Paul and Patty, awesome balls-out wedding! Blizzards scare off most people but not you guys! Kudos to your officiant for continuing in the hailstorm even after that falling ice destroyed the hotel shuttle bus! What a long walk back. It reminded me of a stint in Nepal when I had to rip open a yak just to warm up, which reminds me of sleeping with Paul’s sister. Never go to bed angry! My dead platoon members haunt me.

Rain and Wind and Heat and Humidity and Rough Terrain and Locusts and Lightning and Bug Bites and Bee Stings and Bear Attacks

Victor and Vicki, what an unforgettable wedding experience in the Maine woods! You’re the Martha Stewart of unnecessarily uncomfortable, impossible to enjoy, unbearable, illogical, cruel, terrifying, pragmatically foolish and downright dangerous outdoor weddings. The locusts eating the bear after the bear bit off your Maid of Honor’s bouquet arm? Oh my god right? How did the mosquitoes sneak under the bride’s veil? And what are the odds of the Best Man getting stung by a bee and struck by lightning at the same time? I’m almost disappointed that I’ve been sent here to kill both of you as part of Operation Guestbook. Mazel tov! Cyanide Champagne all around.

Christopher Shelley is a Wedding Celebrant and writer whose work has appeared in Slackjaw, Points In Case, and Little Old Lady Comedy. He marries people through his company Illuminating Ceremonies.

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