Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not a hoedown, but almost a throwdown!

Ever have to avoid someone because of an "almost altercation"? Yeah, me too.

How it all started ... a morning wedding appointment arrived with a typo on their license, so I sent them back to the Courthouse to get it fixed. In the interest of time and not moving the ginormous stroller back in and out of our building, I offered to meet them in the courtyard outside the courthouse for the ceremony.

Upon arriving at the courthouse, I got lost in a sea of folks who were clogging up the courtyard, the steps, the entranceway, the security machine, the metal detector ~ pretty much everything they could. They weren't moving forward, so I skirted through the crowd, said excuse me, and tossed my bag on the belt of the security machine ~ all the while, trying to get out of their way and get on my way. While on my way through the metal detector, I heard "ex-cu-use me" from a woman in a black dress. I spun around and snapped back, "I said excuse me," looked at the deputies who could see I was itchin' to throwdown and smiled ~ she was just SOOOO nasty. I, instead, went on my way to meet up with the other wedding group and didn't give her a second thought.

Until ...

... an hour later, when my next wedding appointment showed up half an hour early.

I threw on my suit, came out of my office, and approached the reception area of our building ... and then I heard that voice ... and saw the woman in the black dress, in all her nasty glory ... and the entire rest of the lollygaggers from earlier. (SIDE NOTE: there were at least a dozen of them, despite the fact that just yesterday - the bride indicated there would be just 4-5 guests - but, I digress). As a mature marriage celebrant, I ducked and scooted down the hallway quickly. Snuck in to my friend's office (who is also, thankfully, a civil wedding celebrant) and begged her to take the wedding for me. We debated the pros and cons and decided it was best for everyone (mostly me) if she just "covered" the wedding in my absence ... and I hid in my office.

Turns out, the nasty lady wasn't the bride ~ and it wasn't just me she was nasty to, as she apparently bossed everyone in attendance around; including the bride, the groom, and everyone else in her path.

They're gone now. I'm safe. There were no throwdowns at the courthouse, or in the courtyard ... and my friend killed her with patronizing kindness. I'd like to think we did the right thing by not ruining the bride's day with the awkwardness of me and her guest throwing down at her wedding. Or did we? I can't help but think, perhaps it would've made the bride, the groom, and the rest of the guests happy to have this woman put in her place ...

Monday, July 25, 2011

... and sometimes it's the celebrant that makes the faux pas!

There is a part of a wedding ceremony, where The Bride and The Groom look at each other and repeat vows to each other as prompted by the marriage celebrant. They go something like this (I'll use "Bride" and "Groom" where actual names should be):

I, Bride,
take you, Groom,
to be my wedded husband.
To have and to hold
from this day forward
for better, for worse
for richer, for poorer
in sickness, and in health
I promise to love you,
Cherish you,
And be faithful to you,
For as long as we both shall live.

The amount of words I say for them to repeat at one time often depends on their nervousness, and in the case of non-native-English speakers, their comfort with English. Sometimes I break the last line up in to much smaller pieces ... "for as long" ... "as we both" ... "shall live." Sometimes, I don't. Sometimes, I wish I had.

Recently, while performing a ceremony for non-native English speakers, after having the English-as-a-second-language Bride repeat "for as long as we both shall live" ... I followed with "I was afraid that might be too long" meaning the number of words for her comfort level with English, not for the period of time they should love & live.

Thankfully it was just the 3 of us and they both had a good sense of humor.

For the record, she did just fine. I wish I could say the same for me.

Infidelity and [Insert Name Here]

Kids aren't the only ones who say the darnedest things. Sometimes brides and grooms do too, and sometimes brides and grooms say things that they wish they hadn't said.

While placing the ring on the bride's finger & repeating "I give you this ring ... as a symbol of my love ... and fidelity" ~ the groom replaced "and fidelity" with "infidelity." Everyone attending chuckled, but I'm pretty sure I saw a flash in the eyes of the bride.

That flash was nothing compared to the one I witnessed after the [Insert Name Here] incident a few years back.

It was a beautiful day for a waterfront wedding. The Bride, The Groom and approximately 30 of their closest friends and family joined me in a very small space on the docks. Everyone could hear every word said during the ceremony ... including the moment where the groom said another woman's name where the bride's name should've been ... followed by a collective gasp for air ... and a flash in the eyes of the bride.