Ode to Marty Stuart and Connie Smith: Top 10 songs fer gettin' hitched

Had my father truly loved me, he would have forced Davy Jones to marry me at gunpoint.
Had my father truly loved me, he would have forced Davy Jones to marry me at gunpoint.

Today, I've got love on my mind. Is it because I've been invited to a wedding every goddamned weekend the month of July, and so love has been striking in the form of RSVP cards, Target gift registries, sweaty brides and even sweatier grooms, uncles drunk on keg beer and aunts doing the chicken dance? Much as I tear up when weepy dads give their daughters away, this ain't why my heart feels a-flutter.

It's because I'm a dork, and my second favorite country music couple, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, are celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary today. What is it about Marty and Connie that endears me so?

The pair met when little Marty was 12 years old and a budding mandolin player. Connie, 17 whole years his senior, was his mother's favorite singer and had a record of hers at their house - Miss Smith Goes to Nashville. Seeing her image on this record, young Marty fell in love with Connie, then in her late 20s and enjoying a successful career.

Ode to Marty Stuart and Connie Smith: Top 10 songs fer gettin' hitched

When Connie was to play in their hometown, Marty had his mother buy him a bright yellow shirt so she would notice him. After the show, he got her autograph and proclaimed to his mother that he would marry her someday and 26 years later, he did, in a quiet ceremony in the 96-degree heat on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Supposedly they were told that if they saw an eagle on the day they were married, it would be a successful union. Sure enough, they saw one fly overhead as they drove to the ceremony. After, they drove their rental car out into the wilderness and danced on a cliff to Buck Owens' "Your Tender Loving Care."

Cheesy as all hell, I know.

As I wipe away this tear, I dedicate this to you, Connie and Marty, on your 13th wedding anniversary. I also dedicate it to all of you, the scores of people getting hitched this month. May you get every last Egyptian cotton towel requested on your Target gift registry. The Top 10 wedding songs to take you from the walk down the aisle to the last drunken chicken dance. "Your Tender Loving Care" - Buck Owens 96-degree heat? Not so much. But Connie and Marty got this part right.

"You Belong to Me" - Pee Wee King & the Golden West Cowboys Patsy does a nice version, too.   "Could I Have This Dance" - Anne Murray Play this song if you have any moms or Canadians at your wedding.

"Friends in Low Places" - Garth Brooks The ultimate wedding-crashing song. Cross your fingers and hope this guy shows up at the reception you're snoring your way through.

"Cowboy Take Me Away" - Dixie Chicks I'm totally playing this at my wedding. And if anyone makes a bad face, their scowl will be met with a fistful of cake.

"Daddy's Hands" - Holly Dunn That awkward part of the wedding where you're supposed to dance with yer pa? Here's a song that'll make you cry like a baby when that part happens.   "Tall, Tall Trees" - Alan Jackson If your wedding dance is in any rural venue, or an urban V.F.W., Elks or Moose Lodge, it is imperative you play at least one Alan Jackson song. "Chattahoochee" is also acceptable.

"Fishin' in the Dark" - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band You wanna see a gaggle of bridesmaids singing in their most passionate voices? Play this tune.

"Ring of Fire" - Johnny Cash You've likely heard the story - Johnny Cash fell in love with June Carter, she wrote him this song, and a few years they married and she helped get him off all the drugs that made him as damned skinny as you can see he was in this live performance. If that ain't love...

"Forever and Ever, Amen" - Randy Travis I hear the Catholic Church will grant you an annulment on the basis of not playing this song at your wedding. So you'd best play it.

May you all love each other, forever and ever, aaaaaaa-men.

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