1 Jun 2012
June is quite famous for the variety of nuptial activities. I am not sure exactly why June is the month of choice for these couples; I just go along with the flow. Consequently, through the years, I have officiated at many weddings during the month of June.
I must confess that weddings are not my favorite form of activity. I had much rather be doing something else, anything else, than officiating at the wedding ceremony of a young couple who are in love.
When I first began this area of my pastoral work, I was very nervous. I was concerned that people were watching and judging me and therefore I needed to have everything perfect. The day of the wedding found me an absolute nervous wreck. If it was not for several Apple fritters that morning, I am not sure how I would get through the day.
I feel that my personal inconvenience at these nuptial ceremonies qualified me to indulge in eating several, if not many, Apple fritters. Everybody needs something to help endure the inconveniences of life. Apple fritter is my chosen remedy.
I remember when I came to the shocking conclusion that nobody at the wedding ceremony was watching me. The wedding ceremony was concluded and the reception was over and I was in the restroom washing my hands when I happened to look into the mirror. There to my chagrin I discovered that the back of my collar was not covering my tie. Nobody even hinted that I had a wardrobe malfunction.
It was then I realized that nobody was paying any attention to me. I could come to the wedding ceremony in a swimsuit and nobody would notice. Not that I have been tempted in this area, mind you. After all, the focus of the whole affair is the bride.
Since this amazing discovery, weddings have not been quite so difficult for me. I do not worry about my appearance because nobody else is worrying about my appearance.
I often counsel young grooms who seem quite nervous that nobody is even aware of their presence. Nobody comes to a wedding to see the groom. The only thing that really matters is the bride.
After a wedding everybody always says, "Wasn't the bride beautiful?" Or, "Didn't the bride look beautiful in her wedding dress?"
I have yet to hear somebody say, "Wasn't that groom handsome?" Or, "I loved the groom’s tuxedo." It just never happens. This is the reason why every groom wears a rented tuxedo. Nobody is admiring him or his attire.
The wedding dress is something altogether different. Very few brides rent a wedding dress. Even though they are only going to wear it, supposedly, once in their lifetime, they all want to buy that special wedding dress.
One reason I am not so very fond of weddings is the premarital counseling involved. Of all the counseling I have given through the years, I am wondering if anybody ever paid attention to what I said. I think I could do the whole counseling session in pig Latin and the couple would sit there smiling at me as though they understood every word I was saying.
With that in mind, I have tried through the years to make the counseling sessions as long and painful as possible. If they can survive a series of premarital counseling sessions from me, then they deserve a lifetime of holy matrimonial bliss.
One strange phenomenon I have seen in weddings throughout the years is the number of people who cry at weddings. For some it may be overwhelmed with happiness. Others may be overwhelmed with memories of their own wedding. But the father of the bride is the one I watch.
It is very hard for some of these fathers to keep back the tears, not because they are losing a daughter, or because they are gaining a son-in-law, but because they are losing a whole lot of money on this wedding.
Then it got me thinking. Most weddings cost a small fortune. Of course small is a relative term. A young bride coached by her mother will find ways to burn through the father's bank account. "No price is too much to pay for this daughter of ours," the mother explains. "She's worth everything it costs."
And the father weeps some more. Especially if there is the younger daughter in the wings.
Looking into the situation the more I discovered just how much people pay for their weddings.
When anybody asks me about performing the wedding ceremony and how much I charge, I always say that I do not charge anything. What I am really saying is that I would prefer cash. I always leave that to the discretion of the groom. Usually, the groom is so discreet in paying me that I actually never see any money.
When I discover how much the wedding has cost and how much I was not given as an honorarium for my services, I too, weep at weddings.
Occasionally, I meet a young couple who understand the importance of a Christian marriage. Although it is viewed as old-fashioned, I like to reflect what the Bible says. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24 KJV).
This kind of a wedding calls for tears of joy.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.