Tracie & Michael, married 07/20/06 on left and Julia & Bob, married 10/04/13, on right.
Here I stand, chatting with the photographer while waiting for the wedding couple and party to arrive. After a week of autumn storms I’m pleased to see that the weather has cleared to gorgeous, warm and sunny. I’m glad I recommended this beautiful location on the Willamette River: the Foothills Park in Lake Oswego. The bride had called me from North Carolina only the week before. She was arranging her impromptu wedding to coincide with a visit with her sister and husband here, a couple I’d married 7 years before at the Rose Garden. She was excited that I was available on short notice; the family had clearly liked and remembered me. I wish I could say I remember them; I officiate well over 100 weddings per year and they sort of run together.

But when today’s Matron or Honor, the bride of 7 years ago, arrives, I recognize her immediately. Their wedding was so much fun!  She had worn a big traditional white gown with a train, while the groom and groomsmen had dressed in suits—and flip-flops. (These were leather rather than rubber and therefore, evidently, their “dress” flip-flops.) I also recall that during the ceremony when I’d asked for the bride’s ring, the Best Man dug and dug into his pockets, appearing to have lost it. Finally, with great fanfare, he produced a bright green candy pop ring. It was joke, which surprised and delighted the bride. She threw her head back and laughed and laughed, thanking him graciously with a Southern drawl and even pretended to give the ring a lick. The real ring was then presented and we went on with the wedding, the bride still chuckling.

When I meet today’s bride, I find that she is even more laid back than her sister.  Today the two are dressed semi-casually but in classy southern style; pretty blue dresses accessorized with cowboy boots! Dad is clearly feeling at home in denim overalls, though they appear to be brand new. The groom is polite and kind, making sure to tell me that if I’m ever in North Carolina, I’m welcome to come and visit them. It’s a pleasure to reconnect with the parents and brother, who have all traveled to Oregon once again for a family wedding.

I don’t get much in the way of repeat business—ideally once I join a couple, they will stay together for a lifetime. I sure do love getting referrals of their family members, though. It is such an honor to serve the same family again and share in yet another joyful occasion!

A farm wedding, in this case a working farm and also B&B, makes a picturesque backdrop for a wedding. While capturing an image of the bride and groom and their large wedding party, we caught a weather vane in the background, while a llama watched from just outside camera range. Chickens were walking about, and the inside of the barn had been transformed into a sparkly fairy-like place for the reception. The flower girl clearly loved posing for pictures. Congrats to Rachael and Jesse!
The Old Church in Portland, OR: http://theoldchurch.org/
Well it was bound to happen sooner or later.  Nine years into my career as a wedding officiant/minister, I had my first fainting body come crashing down in the middle of a wedding.  The recipe for disaster goes like this.  It’s a very warm and humid summer day.  I’m standing in the midst of a large wedding party up on the dais of downtown Portland’s Old Church, a beautiful vintage venue with a massive pipe organ. Though plans to upgrade the HVAC system are in the works, like many historic buildings, the place is not yet air conditioned. The pews are packed with guests, all fanning themselves with their programs.  The bride is drop-dead gorgeous in her stunning white gown.  Sleeveless and strapless helps compensate for layers of polyester and lace, comfort-wise.  The young groom is handsome and trim in his three-piece tux and buttoned-up shirt with tie, tightly tied.  Alas, formal men’s wear is not user friendly in the heat.

We’ve made it through the swelling organ music of the processional and are mid-ceremony. I’m reading along from my book. The groom is on my left; the bride is on my right and they are standing a few paces apart.  Stretching out to each side there is a large assortment of bridesmaids and groomsmen. I’m not looking in the groom’s direction at that moment, so I don’t see it coming.  But the bride does.  I notice her anxiously reaching for him, which is curious since we’re not at the vows yet where I invite them to hold hands. Then, TIMBER-R-R-R-R-R-R!  He goes down with a thundering crash, flat on his back, out cold.

Instantly there is pandemonium while everyone huddles around him, loosening his tie, removing his jacket, finding him water. They bring him to his feet and bring him a chair, but he still looks woozy. I try to persuade him to remain seated for the rest of the ceremony, but he’s a young, macho guy and refuses. And then he goes down a second time! More water, and the venue coordinator is just about to call 911 when he comes to and is on his feet again.  I do the rest of the ceremony in hyper speed, skipping some paragraphs so we can make it to the goal of, “You may kiss the bride” while he is still conscious. Afterward as we all head to the reception room he is embarrassed, but married to his drop-dead-gorgeous bride. Everyone leaves with a story to tell.

People can be so creative with hair!  I snapped this photo of four groomsmen chilling with a pre-ceremony beer at one of my weddings over the weekend.  I asked the guy with the yellow Mohawk if it was hard to maintain.  Lucky guy, his girlfriend is a hairdresser.