Yes, he really pulled it off!

Laura booked her December wedding at the bridal show in February. She called me in the early summer, and told me, rather casually, that she had just had her leg amputated.

As an MC who is accustomed to public speaking, I found myself at a rare loss for words. Thinking that she must be heartbroken, since she was really looking forward to dancing at her wedding, I wondered how this might change her plans. Laura explained that she had a prosthetic leg, and was having a “Miss America” leg fitted for the wedding, and planned to dance the night away in December! She had a healthy, positive  attitude about her experience.

As the time passed I pondered the most professional way to handle this at her reception. We met two weeks before her big day, along with fiance Jim. I watched her walk in from the car, and if I didn’t know that she had a prosthetic limb, I would not have noticed even a slight limp. She moved remarkably well.

Our planning meeting went smoothly, except for the question I kept avoiding. Finally I asked if they planned to do a garter toss, and Jim responded “Yes.”

“We thought we would put the garter on her prosthetic leg, and I would pull it off,” were Jim’s exact words, followed by a long and uncomfortable silence. We all three scanned each others’ eyes, and in perfect three-part harmony we all said, “The leg…”

Well, that answered that question! Laura said that this was her reality, that she lived with every day, and now Jim would also. Making light of it was their way of dealing with it. Might as well have a little fun! We even selected special leg-themed music, but would keep this a surprise for the guests.

I have always worked hard to make my weddings unique and personalized, and I thought I had seen everything, but this would be a first. All manner of gags and stunts have been used for the garter toss, such as grooms tunneling and removing the garter with their teeth, pulling out kitchen utensils, rubber chickens, and even a miniature kitchen sink. This would be different – really different.

Don’t try this at home, kids, we’re professionals!

When the time came for the garter removal, I played the obvious choice, Legs by Z Z Top. We had sampled 15 other leg songs, including “Put Your Party Legs On,” but decided to maintain a semblance of good taste, since we had enough of a shocker planned.

And it came off (forgive me) just as planned, and as expected, half of the men gathered to catch the garter laughed uncontrollably, while the other half gasped in horror.

Jim and Laura Schwendig at Bass Hall; photo by Kent "Hoss" Evans

Jim and Laura Schwendig at Bass Hall; photo by Kent "Hoss" Evans

The reception was a grand and glorious evening, and Laura indeed danced the night away! As the guests assembled at the exit to send them off in a carriage, Jim grabbed me and asked me to share a toast with him and his Best Man. So I lifted a glass and proclaimed “To Jim: You really pulled it off!”

Which of course made champagne come out his nose! Fortunately everyone else was out of the banquet hall.

2 Responses to “Yes, he really pulled it off!”

  1. Lise Frazier Says:

    The bride is a very classy lady!

  2. Kent Henderson Says:

    Only you Scott Shirley could have “pulled” this off with dignity, class, and an overall sense of joy and humor. As always kudos to you and your imagination!

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