If you get a group of clergy together, chances are they will have some wedding horror stories. Emotions run very high at weddings, and the stress is sky high. Everyone has their own idea of what the perfect wedding looks like, and everyone thinks there way is best.
I plan out the wedding with the couple, then I run a very tight ship when it comes to the rehearsal. I ask them to bring the marriage license and any needed checks to the rehearsal, as then they don't have to worry about remembering those things on their big day. The couple I married today were writing their own vows. I told them they needed to bring those to the rehearsal as well.
I acknowledge at the rehearsal that this is an event worth celebrating, and suggest they hold off until after the wedding. I tell the story of the groomsman who had partied too hard after the rehearsal, and couldn't stay on his feet through the ceremony in a hot church. I tell them to hold off on the celebrating until after the wedding.
Last night at the rehearsal they hadn't written their vows, didn't have the check, and didn't have the marriage license. They scheduled the rehearsal for 6:30, so I was at the church at 6:00 to open up. They didn't get there until 7:00. The groom wasn't sure where he'd even put the wedding license. They decided to go home and get it and bring it back to me at the church before going to the rehearsal dinner. I hung around the church for an extra half hour waiting for them to get back with the check and marriage license. I had suggested they write the vows right after the rehearsal, but they insisted they'd do it when they got home.
Today's wedding was outdoors on a lake. It was supposed to start at 3:00. I got part way there and realized I'd forgotten my cell phone. I decided I didn't have enough time to go back and get it. I arrived at the place at a little after 2:30. They were still decorating. The men had not yet arrived, the bride was not dressed, and she was still working on her vows.
I was promised the vows soon, and sent away. They didn't come, and I began trying to remember the traditional vows, in case I had to lead her in reciting those.
The limousine arrived with the men a little after 3:00. They got out of the limo holding cans and bottles of beer. One had a huge joint stuck behind his ear. The groom had at least written his vows. He showed them to me, and they were beautiful.
The guests were milling around, unsure where to go. I'd given the ushers careful instructions, but one didn't arrive until after 3:00. The other was every place but where she was supposed to be. It was hot today, so everyone was looking for a breeze or a bit of shade.
Finally, around 3:30, I was told they were ready. They had to figure out where all the men had gone to get them into position. Someone had to track down the groom. They said we were good to go, so the groom and I went up front to wait for the rest of the bridal party. We waited, and waited. The groom realized there wasn't the music the DJ had promised from a speaker set up outside. Someone went to ask him to set it up. We waited some more.
They are now married. By the end of the day I could feel my feet and legs swelling up as I stood there on the hot pavers, waiting. I always tell the couple that all that matters is that at the end of the day they will be married, everything else is unimportant, so don't sweat it. Then I waited while they greeted all their guests so they could sign the marriage license and I could leave. It was a long afternoon of waiting, made longer by the fact I didn't have my cell phone to distract me.
I had promised Daughter I would pick her up for supper after the wedding, and I would call when the wedding was done so she'd know when to expect me. I had estimated I'd arrive around 4:30. Of course, I didn't leave the wedding until after 4:30, and then I took the longer way home to avoid the traffic back up in a construction zone. I stopped and picked up Daughter without advance warning, and we ate at a Mexican restaurant.
Now I need to finish the sermon for tomorrow, and then I'm going to bed. It's been a long week. Have I mentioned that I'm ready for vacation?