Will the REAL Wedding Please Stand UP!?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Will the REAL Wedding Please Stand UP!?

To Thee I do Wed

Dear Engaged Couple:

Charlottesville vineyard
     Recently a couple phoned me wanting me to officiate at their wedding.  They wanted to do a “quicky service” at a winery with all of their friends present.  The groom said, “We just want you to do the bare essentials.  You can skip the vows and the exchange of rings. You see, this is really just a wedding for us and our friends.  Later on we’ll have to do a full blown wedding in a church, planned and attended by our various family members.  We’ll do the vows and the exchange of rings next go around.” 

I understand.  I really do.  But alas, it doesn’t work that way.

The one bare essential in a wedding service is the exchange of vows.  If a promise is not made, then it’s not a wedding.  Vows come in all different forms.  They can rhyme—or not.  Both the bride’s and groom’s vows can be the same—or not.  You can use the archaic wording of the King James Bible, ‘I take thee.” –or not.  You can make up your own or use the traditional, in sickness and in health—or not.  But SOMETHING, some THING must pass between the two of you that sounds, feels,and smells like a promise.  Otherwise, you haven’t really married. 

I offered to do a blessing instead.  No marriage license.  Just a blessing of their engagement. 

“No, we want this to be official.  We already have our marriage license. We want you to sign that.”

“Then there must be some sort of promise made.”

UVA Chapel, Charlottesville
Finally we arrived at a compromise.  They would use one set of vows at the winery, another set of vows when they married at the church.  When they married at the church, the officiant, would not sign a marriage license, since in the eyes of the state, the first wedding ceremony would be the real one.  In the many eyes of their family members, and maybe even in the eyes of God, the second wedding would be the real one. 

Oh, and just so you know, in case you are planning to do something similar, in the end they agreed to exchange rings—temporary rings—until they had time to choose and buy permanent ones.    

Two weddings.  Two sets of rings, but one couple and one marriage. 

Blessings to you as you plan for own big day (or two big days, or three, or four….) 

Gay Lee     

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