Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's the Wedding Season......Thoughts on Weddings

If you do College Ministry, you relate to weddings. A College Minister friend of mine did not do weddings, but he attempted to go to all the weddings that involved his students. He often went to two a day and was known to have made three in one day. A lady College Minister friend of mine said she was often asked to be a bridesmaid which involved buying a dress "that you will be able to wear other times". I have done about 50 weddings which would not even compare to guys like Roger Bear at Indiana State. I think he is in the triple digits. I did one each of the past two weekends of former students who had been in our ministry. A couple of years ago I told Sue, "This is my last student wedding.". At the reception two former students asked me to do their wedding.

One fascinating thing for me to see is how weddings have changed and evolved through the years.

Receptions are more elaborate than they have ever been. Many years ago when we got married, you served cake, punch, nuts and mints at a reception in the church basement. Now many receptions involve a meal and a band (or at least a DJ)at a different location. My favorite was at the Zoo.

The pictures and the reception have become the main event. In many cases I don't think this is intentional, but it is a reality. A recent wedding I did had a professional Event Planner/Coordinator. She does all kinds and sorts...not just those from a strong Christian background like I do. I asked her what trends she saw. She said, "The bride wants the ceremony to be no longer than 15 minutes, so they can get to the reception and the alcohol.". She told of one wedding where the groom was so drunk he did not know which one was the bride.

I often ask the photographers what's the funniest thing they have seen. I have considered writing a book just telling funny stories from weddings and funerals. My dad who was a photographer once did a wedding where the groom fainted three different times. The first two times they sat him down on the front row. The third time they took him outside for fresh air and then brought him back to finish. I adopted the rule if anyone soon as they can stand back up, I will pronounce them husband and wife!

Most funny stories revolve around young children. One told of the Ring Bearer throwing the cushion he was carrying across the room and running out a side door. I always tell couples it is fine to have young children, just enjoy whatever they do.

After I attended a student wedding where everyone including the minister danced down the aisle, I started asking, "What type of wedding do you have in mind?". Me dancing down an aisle would not be a service of celebration!

One friend tells of doing a wedding where a dog came down the aisle with the rings attached to his collar.

A pastor friend told of a bride beginning to spit up as he was speaking. I asked what he did. He said, "I said let us pray and determined I would pray till she was done.". He said at the end of the ceremony he considered asking if the groom would like to "give the bride a little peck on the cheek".

One groom realized his pants were unzipped as soon as he step up beside me and leaned over and said, "Will you say a prayer so I can zip my pants up?".

One young woman I had known many years ago called and asked if I would do her wedding, but not read scripture or mention Jesus' name as that would be offensive to her groom. But, she wanted to have a church wedding. I didn't do that ceremony. That ceremony would have taken about thirty seconds for me.

Recently, the sound man at a wedding told me that his church keeps raising the price to have a wedding trying to get out of the wedding business. I understand that due to all that goes with getting the church then set up after
a Saturday wedding for Sunday morning. But, I don't want weddings to go away from being Christian and spiritual events. I would even lean the other way. What can we do to help a couple who wants to get married at our church begin a Christian marriage? Can we require pre-marital counseling? I think at the least we must take seriously our responsibility in working with couples multiple times prior to performing their ceremony. I have made a few exceptions to that rule, but not many. I ask couples to read SAVING YOUR MARRIAGE BEFORE IT STARTS by Les and Leslie Parrott. Fortunately, the couples I work with want a specifically spiritual ceremony.

Instead of saying how can we get out of the wedding business, maybe as Christians and churches we need to start saying, "Let's get back into the wedding business in a serious way!".

Some day maybe I will write about all the conversations I've had with Aunt Ethel at the Rehearsal Dinner.

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