After more than a dozen years of officiating weddings, it’s always a surprise when something new comes up. Just recently more than once I found myself saying, “Well that’s a first!”
Pregnant brides are definitely not a first. We’ve had many expectant couples as well as those with older children acting as ring bearers and flower girls and/or bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, this particular pregnant bride, stricken with morning sickness, poor dear, found it necessary to keep a waste basket handy throughout the ceremony, just in case. Okay I hadn’t run into that before. Fortunately, she got through her vows while holding onto the contents of her stomach. Hopefully her queasiness will subside long before the joy of being a newlywed becomes normal everyday married life. (Better yet, we can always hope the joy of the honeymoon will last forever, especially after the first trimester!) And speaking of joy, I believe it was at that same wedding in which I encountered another first: the groom’s mom let out a joyful “WHOOP!” when I pronounced the couple married. I hope it didn’t startle the massage client in the office next door. But at least it was a happy sound.
I've seen some unique rings, but none more so than the skull ring one groom wore. was also a first. I say hey whatever floats your boat. If you and the bride like it, I like it!
Then there was the planning session of the upcoming ceremony with a couple, who requested that after I ask them the “I do” question, I add one more question: “Do you pinky swear?” Apparently it was a private joke they often tossed back and forth between them. They had even given one another pinky commitment rings. Well that’s a new one on me, but if that’s what they wanted, I told them, sure, why not? It reminded me of another wedding in which the couple wanted me to follow up the “I do” question with, “Is that your final answer?” Sure, why not, I say. I’m all for firsts of any kind when it comes to love and creativity, and a couple wanting to commit the rest of their lives to one another. After all, creativity and humor are good ingredients to a long-lasting bond.
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.
Flower girls have been known to steal the show. This little princess struck a pose prior to one of our August weddings.
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!
Kids add a wild card to any wedding. Most certainly they will steal the show. But the entertainment is free, and simply adorable. Our chapel has hosted lots of weddings with kids in the wedding party. One of my couples had a daughter who had just turned two the week before. The guests were seated, the processional proceeded and I commenced the opening words. We sailed smoothly through to the middle of the ceremony when she spied the flames of the Unity Candle. “Happy birthday to you!” She began singing, over and over, while trying to blow out the candles. Mercifully, an auntie scooped her up and took her outside the room, though we all heard her running up and down the hall, still singing. Toddlers are beyond cute, whether shyly hiding behind a grown-up’s leg or hamming it up in the spotlight. Just be prepared: They will steal the show!
I'm the founding minister of Wedded Your Way. I love helping people tie the knot!