A Necessary Extra

Wedding-Ring-FingerI have posted in the past about the growing number of weddings that I’ve done over the last couple of years. Just a few weeks ago I had the privilege of presiding over my niece’s wedding ceremony. I have performed the weddings of former students and also for couples I didn’t know very well at the start of the wedding planning process.

As I’ve been involved in more weddings, I am beginning to experience what I’ve heard other pastors and ministers talk about in regard to the actual ceremony. This is not a complaint; just an observation that I’ve heard others echo.

As the minister who is presiding over the ceremony, you are a pretty important element. It’s not an ego thing or a power trip for that person (or at least it shouldn’t be). In the state of Ohio, you have to be registered with the state to perform a wedding. The minister also signs the marriage license which makes everything legal. So, if the minister doesn’t show up, it can really be a downer to the whole wedding day. It is necessary to have that person present to pronounce them husband and wife.

There is also an element where the minister is one of many, many details to the wedding ceremony. There are the tuxes and dresses, the flowers, the decorations, the music, the food, the cake, the toasts, the programs, the gifts, the reception, the DJ, the wedding party and so many other elements. As a minister performing a wedding, you know all the attention is on the bride and groom (as it should be). Once the wedding day kicks in, you can sometimes feel like an extra. Did the flowers get delivered? Check. Is the DJ here? Check. Does the caterer know what time to serve the meal? Check. Does the best man have the rings? Check. Is the minister here? Check.

Once they say “I do” and you pronounce them “man and wife,” you kind of fade into the background. The reception begins, the food is served and the celebration is underway.

I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to be involved in weddings. It is such an important time in the life of each couple and you hope you are adding some value to their lives as they begin married life together. I think many ministers wrestle with that necessary extra element to the wedding day. Perhaps it’s an opportunity to learn that we each have our part to play and we should do our best to play that part well.

Musings on Marriage

I can’t really think about a wedding without picturing the scene from The Princess Bride – can you?

I’ve been in ministry long enough to occasionally perform weddings for former students who are now entering into that stage of life.  Last weekend I performed the wedding of a young lady who was in junior high when I moved here.  This week I have two appointments with two different couples to plan their weddings.

There is something unique about performing a wedding.  You meet with the couple, talk about plans and ideas, what they both want to be a part of the ceremony.  The rehearsal happens and you smooth out whatever wrinkles might exist in the proceedings.  When you arrive on the wedding day, everyone is transformed by tuxes and dresses and flowers and candles and decorations.  You can feel the nervousness in the air as the hour approaches.  The prelude music begins and people settle in.

Then it happens.  The bride appears in the back of the church.  She sees the groom.  He sees her.  She is beaming.  You can tell he is a little emotional.  In that moment, you get a picture of the magnitude of what is about to take place.  It is more than just pretty dresses and lovely flowers and rented tuxedos on the groomsmen.  It is not just a magical moment, it is a weighty moment where this man and women are going to pledge themselves to this relationship…for life.

It is a good reminder to all – both married and unmarried alike – of what God’s design for marriage is.  More than just a romantic moment of two people in love, it is the entering into a covenant relationship that will require much of both man and wife.  It is a battle.  It will be hard.  But it is good.  God designed it that way.