Sweaty Teddy

For this maestro, the weddings go on forever and the receptions never change

"They want to go away and wash their hands off, and the photographer will say, 'Stop them,' Ted says. "So what do I do? I've got Wet Ones for them. It solves the problems and saves time."

As the photographer sets up the shot, a groomsman asks Ted to play "the new one" by Eminem.

"I'm not allowed to play it," Ted says.

"Are you kidding me?" the groomsman asks.

Ted gets out the form and shows him that Eminem is on the verboten list.

"Who gave you this?" the groomsman asks.

"The bride," says Ted.

"Aww, that's my sister. I'll talk to her."

The three huddle and decide that "maybe later" the song will be playable. Ted says he has the version "with the bad words out of it."

"Yeah," says the groomsman. "Beautiful."

It's still early in the evening, and Neil Diamond is serving as background: She's got the way to move me, cherie.

The early stages of the wedding rituals -- the ceremony, the handshakes and hugs in the receiving line, the meal, the cake, the garter and bouquet tosses -- those belong to the older relatives and friends. The bar, the music, the Nelly and Eminem during the final hour on the dance floor -- those belong to the breeding class.

Nelly's "Hot in Herre," despite its lyrics about taking off clothes, was used as an intro song for the wedding party at one recent reception worked by Ted. Novelty variations on songs such as "Mony Mony," with its sing-along chorus of "Hey, hey, get laid, get fucked," are also requested periodically.

"I have no idea about the origin of that, but it's not very tasteful to do it at weddings," says Ted. "I've had people say, 'Play it, but play it during the last hour.' Songs like that and 'Strokin',' by Clarence Carter -- it's fun, I like that song, but I don't play it until after eleven o'clock, when Grandma and Grandpa and the pastor are gone."

Jill and Tim's "wedding song" is "Oh Very Young" by Cat Stevens. Because Ted's CD collection is all singles, the newlyweds have had to bring their own Cat Stevens CD to hear the cut: You're only dancing on this earth for a short while ...

Next, the wedding party dances to Louis Armstrong's version of "What a Wonderful World."

The first song Ted punches up for everybody to get up and dance to is a wedding-reception standard: Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll":

Just take those old records off the shelf
I'll sit and listen to 'em by myself
Today's music ain't got the same soul
I like that old time rock & roll
Don't try to take me to a disco
You'll never even get me out on the floor

But disco isn't far behind. A request comes next.

"Where are the Pikes [the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity]?" Ted asks. "This goes out to the Pikes. Let's get the Pikes out here."

Everybody was kung fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning

Next comes the bouquet toss, carried out with a backdrop of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cindy Lauper.

"Ladies, these are the rules," Ted tells the assembled women. "All kicking, hair-pulling, eye-gouging and kneecapping are sanctioned by the state of Missouri. On the count of three ..."

For the garter toss, as Tim removes the garter from Jill's leg, Ted plays the theme from the television show Mission: Impossible.

"Where are all the single guys? Single guys, get up here -- no drinks on the floor -- everybody, no drinks on the floor, single guys get up here," Ted asks the crowd, trying to get some males to join the few who have already stepped up. "I can't believe all these beautiful women didn't bring dates with them.

"Tim, kneel down in front of your lovely wife. Tim, kneel down. Get used to that position. Tim's a movie fan. He's also a secret agent."

The music kicks in.

"So, Tim, your mission -- should you decide to accept it -- is to remove that garter from your lovely wife's leg as creatively as possible. Do not worry about your dental work."

Tim reaches up under Jill's wedding dress.

"You may be entering hostile territory, so proceed with caution."

Tim gets the garter.

"He has succeeded in his mission. We don't want those men to crush our beautiful bride. OK, Tim, it'll be on the count of three. Guys, these are the rules for you: No jumping out of the way when you see it coming at you, no letting it fall to the floor and, most important, don't put it in my pocket -- it's yours to keep."

Ted's line is part of the shtick, but it's also true. Less than a year from his 40th birthday, Ted has never been married. Being around all these people getting married must not be contagious.

The one stunt the bride and groom have opted out of is the "slip on" routine, in which the man who catches the garter puts it on the leg of the woman who catches the bouquet. It's not often done, but of course Ted has a skit worked out for that, too.

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