Mr. and Mrs. Phil Persing
On Friday night I was standing on the altar of Bethel Baptist church and Brian Astifan, the brother of bride-to-be Beckie Astifan, sidled up to complete the line of groomsmen. And he asked me, “Is Phil the first one of you guys to get married?”

Yeah, Phil is. Phil is 13 months younger than me, but because I started school a little bit late we met in 2nd grade and have pretty much been friends since. In 7th grade he introduced me to his cousin Dean, and the next year he took me to church where I met Chris Chandler, Jason Estock, CJ Stunkard, and Aaron Alicea. My first memories of all these guys center around trying to push each other off a rug and playing that 311 album with “Down” on it. So the idea of any of us getting married is loopy. But it happened on Saturday, and we all watched Phil and his wife light the unity candle then kiss each other at least 10,000 times.

In tribute to my sorta boss Al Neuharth, some thoughts:
– Christians need better weddings. The Persings’ reception had no booze, we weren’t allowed to request music with curse words, and instead of smashing cake in each other faces the spouses took the time to cut itty bitty pieces and delicately feed them to each other. I mean, hell. When I signed up for my sophomore year dorm room, my new roommate and I smashed cake in each others’ faces. It’s what you do.
– Some people like to settle down fast. I cannot imagine getting married before I have three or four more jobs in journalism and turn 32. Obviously, the attitude is not universal.
– A corrollary to the first point: All weddings should feature dancing. Dean is getting married in March, and he won’t have dancing.
– I’m pretty sure you can get away with kissing unfamiliar people at weddings. I didn’t do it, but it felt like I could have.

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