A recent bride told me she was so glad to have found our little chapel for her second marriage. She explained that she wanted a simple civil ceremony, which we are happy to offer. But she definitely wanted to skip the courthouse setting she’d chosen the first time around. That wedding was apparently interspersed between divorces; when the clerk had announced the next item of business on the judge’s docket, he had called them up as, “Smith vs. Brown.” She should have known then that the marriage was doomed, she told me!
Some courthouse weddings might be sweet, and judges friendly. But a couple cannot expect immediate service. First of all, they may not always get right in. During busy times it may take weeks to get on the docket. Then once there, it may take awhile for their turn to come up. And they may not be the only ones waiting. I’ve heard about criminals also hanging around in the courtroom, waiting for their cases to be heard. One couple joked that their courthouse wedding was “love among the felons.” That gives a whole new meaning to the term “ball and chain!”
Then, too, courthouse weddings by nature are very brief, virtually no more than a blip on the screen in a busy judge’s day. After all, the court has to work you in around other important business. With us, a couple is our only and most important business--and you won't have to wait. Once you have your marriage license, we can often marry you the very same day (though you will need to get a waiver of the 3-day waiting period--just ask the clerk when you get your license). Even if you prefer short and sweet, we will make your wedding warm and personal, something to remember fondly as you begin your married life together.
The daughters/bridesmaids connect with family in New Zealand.
We live in an electronic age for sure. While virtual weddings aren’t legal yet, at least not in this State, guests are finding inventive ways to “attend” a wedding from afar. While officiating one such ceremony I noticed the bride holding something next to her bouquet. I mused: A small Bible? A photo of a departed loved one? Nope, turns out it was a cell phone. Dad couldn’t come, but he was right there with her on speaker phone.
At another wedding of an older couple, their daughter stood with them holding her brother, or at least the laptop through which he was Skyping from Hong Kong. After the ceremony, the family posed for an interesting picture; the sister stood between her newly married parents, holding the electronic version of her brother, whose smiling face filled up the entire computer screen. It gives a new meaning to the expression “talking heads.”
Speaking of “talking,” it’s a good idea for the guests to hit the mute button at their end. I recently officiated a wedding at our chapel in which guests were Skyped in from New Zealand. I’m sure they were not aware that we could all hear their running commentary, in a thick New Zealand accent, amongst each other. "Crackie!"
At still another in-home wedding, a young couple traded vows in front of the fireplace before a dozen or so guests. They perched on the living room couches and chairs, with two more on the coffee table—that is, two laptops. One was connected to loved ones in California and the other to a branch of the family in Canada. Following that ceremony, the couple squatted down in front the coffee table with a glass of champagne, in a virtual toast to each computer, and to the kinfolk who could not be there in person. I wonder if wedding invitations will change their RSVP Yes-lines to: “I plan to attend in person,” or “I plan to attend via cyberspace.” Yes, it certainly is an electronic age we live in!
Some families come ready made. On Friday we officiated a simple elopement-style wedding at our chapel for Sondra and Al. Included in the package deal were two little ones, a 4-year-old boy and his red-headed sister who is, well, terribly 2! She responded to every question or comment with an emphatic, "No!" Due to this restless little native, we skipped the unity candles for a short and sweet ceremony. As soon as she was back in her mother's arms, all was well with the world.
Some couples want to show off their love to the world and others prefer to keep it a private affair. Over the weekend at our chapel we officiated for two couples who wanted privacy. They were kind enough to allow photos of their hands displaying shiny new wedding rings.
One of our couple's family members re-created this cake, inspired by one they'd found on Pinterest. We think they did a masterful job and it made their mini-reception, following the wedding at our chapel, very special!
Congrats to Amanda & John, married at our chapel this afternoon with one hour's notice. Courthouse weddings often need to be scheduled in advance. In their case, there would have been a 2-week wait, as the judges have to schedule around other important business. But with us, a couple is the most important business! We happened to have an opening the same day and were glad to help them tie the knot! They were only too happy to reenact the kiss--a number of times, in fact. :-)
Our chapel is small, but sometimes the bride's gown is big! It is so fun when a bride wears a dress with a long train. We captured an image of the back of Janna's lovely gown, standing next to her handsome new husband, Jason.
Most couples we serve are happy to share a photo or two for our website or Facebook page, but occasionally there's a shy couple who would prefer not. And we certainly respect that. Some will consent to an anonymous back view shot, or photo of just their hands. Whether sharing this joyful occasion only with each other and a small circle of friends and family, or "shouting to the world" on social media, we honor your wishes to be Wedded Your Way.
Maj-Britt and Svend, Danish couple who pulled off a surprise wedding
A surprise wedding is a delightful event. I once married a couple from Denmark who were visiting with friends on a vacation here in the States. A Sunday morning brunch was arranged by a friend who was in on their secret for them and their parents and a dozen or so of their friends. But it was no ordinary brunch; they had prearranged with me to help them tie the knot. When I arrived I was introduced simply as a friend. The bride and groom did not tip anyone off with their dress—they chose to wear matching tropical shirts for the occasion. Before the bacon and eggs were served, I called everyone out onto the patio and announced that this was, in fact, a wedding. Surprise!