As an urbanite in his early thirties, the pace for weddings has picked up recently and not all of them have been traditional. The husband of a friend of mine wore an orange jumpsuit on their wedding day, as they had gotten engaged before he got charged with attempted murder. At another wedding, two avowed nerds rolled 20-sided die to determine who would read their vows first. One time, during the reception, a newly minted bride of a dear friend of many years thanked me for coming by closing her eyes and leaning in to give me a nice, slow kiss when no one was looking. She was wasted, as was the groom, so best to pretend it never happened.

Still, I find this much preferable to the traditional wedding format. Too often they are contrived ceremonies (Nobody walks that slow!), with awkward vows, followed by a bunch of people not dancing. And at no point in the last dozen weddings I’ve been to did anyone solicit guests for objections or to forever hold their peace. That’s probably for the best.

But the most interesting wedding I ever attended had none of these things. It was equal parts sexy and sincere, and entirely unconventional.

It was 2014 and my girlfriend and I were attending our first Burning Man, that decadent bacchanal of art, music, love, drugs, and general anarchy. We were riding our bikes through the darkness of this barren wasteland, dressed in feathers and tutus and top hats and nipple pasties, high on some pharmaceutical-grade molly we’d been gifted and riding towards the sound of music.

Tearing through the darkness lit up only by fluorescent wires and the pervasive firelight, we came upon a woman unlike any we’d ever seen. She wore a skin-tight leopard-print suit with cat ears next to a giant metal octopus that shot 20-foot flames from its tentacles. She danced alone while others watched from a distance, moving to the beat with the grace of a ballerina, and the sensuality of a burlesque dancer. She was in her 30s but possessed a body so fit and firm it would put almost any college coed on notice. We halted our bikes and stared, mouth agape at this dancing manifestation of pure femininity.

My girlfriend ventured out to join the feline in her dancing, and I stood and watched with the growing pool of onlookers as the a dance beat poured from a double-decker bus stacked with speakers. Deafened to everything but the music, I felt I had to share this moment with someone, so I yelled to the man next to me that this was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I was answered in a comically thick Australian accent, “Why do ya think I’m Mehrrying her?” He yelled into my ear. I looked back in shock and beamed with pride.

He was older than her, but had confidence and class that said he knew he was lucky. He clearly knew a lot of things. “The wedding is tomorrow! You should come, mate!” He said.

I was introduced to the rest of their party, all Australians here for the wedding. When the dancing subsided and my girlfriend rejoined my side, the maid of honor, fit and blonde and beautiful, covered in face paint with a star like Paul Stanley from Kiss, said to us, “We’re all going to the Orgy Dome after this, would you like to join us?”

My girlfriend and I looked at each other in shock, but we couldn’t control our excitement. “Yes!” we blurted out in unison, and with that our caravan of bikes pedaled into the darkness, pushing through the cold and the dust to some approximate address in the wasteland. Somewhere along the way, we crashed our bikes on a sandbar and separated from the wedding party.

It took us an hour to find them again, only when we finally made it to the Orgy Dome. We passed through two heavy velvet curtains and a bouncer and table spread with lubricants and condoms and paper towels. Inside, we found the wedding party scattered under this bedouin style tent with tapestries on the wall and music filling every corner, the lights a glowing mix of green and red. The groom and best man were sitting back, sated and pleased with themselves as the bride and maid of honor lay naked and pressed together on a mattress, kissing and caressing each other. They excitedly beckoned us to join them when we entered the room.

I’ll leave the details to your imagination, but I will say that with the molly, every touch was as pleasurable as you can imagine, multiplied by a hot bath.

The next day we went to the wedding at the appointed time. In a wooden structure ornately decorated as a faux library and crowded with strangers and friends, the bride was naked except for a sheer scarf on her hair and a gold chain on her waist, from which hung a small cut of sheer cloth that only pretended at modesty. Gold metallic temporary tattoos accented her body as she stood before a crowd of strangers, tall and naked and proud. It in no way focused on putting on a show, or pleasing parents, or satisfying expectations, or impressing the community. It was about two people who were madly in love, and if you didn’t like it, then fuck you. It started as an orgy, and ended as the most authentic and loving wedding I’ve ever been to.

Stick that to your “dream wedding” Pinterest board.

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