Saturday, June 27, 2009

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings

Today I broke a personal record - or rather it was broken for me. A wedding due to start at 2pm in fact did not begin till 3.15pm - a full 75 minutes late (not quite the 90 minutes which I thought - put that down to an arithmetical error). My previous record had been only 40 minutes and that was more than a decade ago.
Fortunately I was not running against a deadline, such as another wedding, and I kept very calm if a little hot under the chasuble on a warm summer afternoon. Our organist, cool and professional as ever, was perhaps a little more put out than I. And justifiably.
The reasons, as so often, were trivial, and one of those unfortunate-series-of-events: the bride overstretched herself doing the hair or the bridesmaids herself; one of ushers, sent ahead with the orders of service get hopelessly lost just a short distance from the Church and despite being given directions on the phone got more and more lost until he found himself on a car park just a few yards from the Church. We sent the photographer to fetch him. When he returned with the lost sheep, he then decided another of group photos were required.
All in all it would probably make a not unlikely script for a situation comedy. Though we might say 'Well, funny yes, but a bit far fetched'.
I seem to have been involved in more and more weddings recently. Two of our daughters married last year. We have more weddings in the parish this year than for a few years, and already have a few booked for next year, though to be very honest, the numbers are still pretty low. And the couples who come to tie the knot, with few exceptions, have been living together for quite some time.
One reason for the decline in weddings has to be that our expectations of the wedding day are so high - in terms of ceremony, and all the trimmings, and all the expense: and of course (as no one would deny) that is the wrong focus.
I said to the gathered congregation, who had waited for so long for the ceremony to begin (so long that many had to go out of the Church to put extra time on the parking meters) that one thing we had learnt today is that things don't always run according to plan.
If that's the one thing Stefan and Georgina take from this experience, it will stand them in good stead. Our expectations for marriage should be high - not because it will always be perfect, but because it won't be, and (that little word which is used to mean so many different things) Love is not about perfection, but about perseverance, endurance, forgiveness and healing. Oh yes ... and patience.

[I took the photo above on my phone - the b&w setting was accidental, but is, I think, quite effective. As the family still chatted outside the Church they didn't notice me - I was sneaking off to the Coachmakers for a Very Important Meeting. This is true. There is nothing wrong in enjoying work. And this was (sort of) work.]

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