Wacky Weddings

January 24, 2008

I just returned from a week long trip back to the frozen Midwest. My dear niece was married and all my sisters were gathered in one place for the first time since 2005. There were typical last minute emergencies. I got to contribute a headband to the bride’s coiffure and loan my nephew a pair of black socks to wear with his tux. It was a lovely ceremony and though we heartily approve of my niece’s choice of a young man, my sisters and I boo-hooed in the appropriate places.

Since I’m a singer, I’ve seen a lot of weddings over the years (and been asked to sing a lot of totally inappropriate songs! ‘I don’t know how to love him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar is tied with ‘I’d rather have Jesus’ for the ‘What Really Shouldn’t Be Sung At Weddings’ prize!) I’ve squirmed through ceremonies where the nervous young bride giggled uncontrolably through her vows and seen more than one groom lock his knees and faint dead away. But probably the worst gaffe is the one where the ceremony started WITHOUT THE BRIDE!

Everything was going well. My handbell choir had rung a festive prelude. The groom was in place. The bridesmaids had done their stately step-touch down the aisle. The bride and her father were waiting behind the closed santuary doors for their musical cue. Then the organist stopped his Pachelbel to change the stops before launching into Here Comes the Bride.

 And he took too long.

The minister decided the silence meant he should start into his spiel. I was in one of the wings with the handbell choir I was directing, gesticulating furiously and mouthing “Stop! We need the Bride!”, but nothing could turn the pastor from his recitation of the opening charge. He even led the  bewildered congregation in a prayer. I know the poor little bride must have felt like she’d entered the Twilight Zone or something because they were having her wedding without her. Then the pastor finished praying and raised his head.

“Oh,” he said. “I guess we need the bride.”

The organist launched into his belated Lohengrin, and the back doors to the sanctuary flew open. Every one always says all brides are beautiful and there’s no doubt this one was. But her glare could have melted steel at ten paces. I don’t think anyone blamed her.

It just goes to show that life and love aren’t always perfect and that’s ok. Do you have a funny or poignant wedding story to share? Weddings, births, funerals–these mileposts remind us that life is slipping by. I hope yours is slipping by with lots of laughter and joy.