Years ago my father invited me to shadow him as he officiated at weddings, and the first event I remember was a rehearsal at a yellow farmhouse inn. I stood against the back wall of the room, grateful to be a mere bystander, because the bride was very, very anxious.
Actually, her intensity terrified me.
She and Dad were reviewing the musical cues for the processional. She had divided some recorded classical music into tenths of seconds. "How long exactly will it take the flower girls to walk 24 feet?" she asked. "What happens if they don't make it in 10.4 seconds? Will the musicians know what to do?"
Dad was calm and compassionate, an old hand at dealing with nerves. "I've worked with these musicians; they are highly professional and they'll be able to extend a note if that's what is needed." This detail was normally a wedding planner's job, not for the minister, but this bride had taken on every bit of the planning, just in case wedding planners were all incompetent.
She was comforted by Dad's demeanor, and they discussed a few other issues. When it was time for the actual rehearsal, we had to hunt across the property to find the groom. I got a sense that he didn't really want to do this. His face was red and he staggered and swayed through rehearsal, then wandered away when it was over.
The next morning, Dad phoned me. "They had an enormous fight last night," he said. Apparently in a moment of high drama, the groom flourished his wedding ring, and then swallowed it! About an hour later, they made up.
"It's a good thing the wedding is not until four o'clock today," Dad remarked. "They're sitting around waiting for the ring to make its appearance."
Here are some thoughts about weddings, writing, and the world. Enjoy.