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Charity’s column: Four weddings and a 5K

When I do the Shelter Island 5K I always learn something new.

It’s a chance to experience a big chunk of Shelter Island on foot, in the company of others, with water provided every mile or so. At last weekend’s event, I learned that about 60 people, from all over France, make their way to the Island every year to participate in the 10K and 5K. I was informed of this by a woman whose English is probably better than mine, although her native tongue is French.

I was impressed.

I was also impressed by the astonishing number of large weddings under way on the evening of the race, judging from the enormous tents, gussied-up guests, polished sedans and directional signs: “Wedding, this way.” The logistics involved in organizing and pulling off even one mega-wedding on an Island without easy mainland access takes my breath away.

There were likely as many swag bags, port-o-sans and transport vans involved collectively in the Saturday weddings on Shelter Island as were deployed for the 1,600 participants in the 10K/5K.

In early August, the Prince/Schluger and the Robey/Forman families will gather over a period of two days to participate in the wedding of Martha Prince and Isaac Forman. For both families, this is the first wedding in their millennial generation. The action will require the deployment of blood and treasure. There will be exhilaration, exhaustion and sore feet. Hundreds of people will participate, and afterwards, some of them will never be the same.

For over a year it had been rumored that Isaac and Martha agreed to a merger, and when they confirmed it early in 2018, I felt joy that I think I will feel for the rest of my life. Everyone else in both families seemed to feel the same way, and it became clear that this would be no simple operation, say, a ceremony at City Hall followed by lunch in Chinatown. The date was set, and the couple issued an STD (save the date). The deployment of acronyms had begun.

Runners, including participants in the 10K/5K use a set of arcane and useful abbreviations. My majestic pace of 16 minutes and 55 seconds per mile (I made some detours) was my MPM, and the ache in my legs this morning was DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) brought on by my effort to avoid being DFL (dead — you know — last). I couldn’t beat my PR (personal record) for this course, but at least I avoided a DNF (did not finish.)

Like runner’s world, American nuptials have distinct practices and a complex language of their own. Back in the day, a soon-to-be married person would refer to a father-in-law-to-be using an awkward mix of  “Dad,” “Mr. X” and “Sir” in the time between engagement and marriage. Now that time can be a year or two, and FFIL, (future father in law) is here to help. The fact that my son’s FFIL is named Phil made figuring out how to pronounce the acronym a lot easier.

The modern wedding acronyms apply to a bewildering catalog of roles and relationships, and are brief enough to travel easily in emails and text messages. Some abbreviations are on loan from the world of business, like B2B which used to mean sales between businesses and now refers to the CEO of the wedding, the bride-to-be.

It’s fun to be part of a dynamic organization that is wholly devoted to celebrating the nuptials of my offspring, and I’m happy to refer to myself as dear old MOG. My spouse FOG, has embraced his acronym by pretending to be unaware of the frenzied dress-shopping, centerpiece-arranging and appetizer-tasting going on all around him. Mabel, a hound who leaps with joy when our son steps off the ferry on a Friday night, seems glad to be DOG.

The email correspondence around the bridal shower made good use of many new (to me) and handy acronyms, including a communication from the MOH that left me with the impression that I might be going in for some type of laser surgery.

The BS was a great party. All the BMs were there, as well as the MOB and BFFs of the B2B and MOB. The rest of the BP, including the FOB arrived at the very end, not to shag fly balls but to help clean up, because (as I discovered) BP means bridal party not batting practice.

As I prepare myself for this major operation, it’s good to be getting the hang of this language of abbreviation. We will all need it on wedding day. When the GMs are deployed to transport the GMOG and GMOB from hotel and home to restaurant and event hall, it will require the troubleshooting security finesse of the Secret Service and the organizational skills of a show-runner for Game of Thrones.

One acronym out of place could spell the difference between success and failure of a vital mission, and we’re not going to let down the B2B and her FH on their day, our day, of joy.