Jun 282013 5 Responses

Dead Butterflies, Runaway Brides, and Arriving Late for a Wedding

One of the most special moments of my life was watching my soon-to-be wife walking down the aisle toward me at our wedding.

One of the most awkward moments of my life is watching bridesmaids walk down the aisle toward me at other people’s weddings.

I would love to know how much of my life has been spent, or will be spent, standing at the front of a church watching people walk down, or go out, an aisle during a wedding.

It’s a strange moment. (See: And After the Funeral She Hit Him in the Nuts)

Do we look at each other?

If I look away will you take it personally?

If I look at you will you be able to see deeply into my soul and realize I’m thinking one of three things:

  1. I wonder what the score of the game is?
  2. You do realize you will never wear that dress again, right?
  3. Fall. Not hard, but how about a little trip?

It’s a secret few people realize about a pastor at a wedding. We do so many weddings that we kind of like it when something goes wrong that’s not our fault. It makes it exciting.

I don’t like it when a groomsman intentionally tries to do something wrong. Groomsmen are NEVER funny. They are NEVER original.

Yet when something naturally goes wrong—a ring bearer that has to pee, a bridesmaid that trips, a couple who doesn’t pay attention during the vows—hilarity ensues.

I love funny things. It doesn’t hurt the marriage. It doesn’t scar the wedding. It makes it memorable and fun. (Yes, I know I am a man and this is a very man thing to say).

Dead Butterflies

One year I was doing a wedding that would end with the audience releasing butterflies as the couple exited the wedding. I was given a butterfly and put it in my coat pocket. As the ceremony ended, I was to retrieve the butterfly, release it from its packaging and explain the beauty of the imagery as it floated to heaven.

An important fact to note is that after getting married and gaining 30 pounds during the first year of marriage, I have floated back and forth within that 30 pound range. The last suit I bought was purchased at the high end and was bought with some room to grow assuming there was a great possibility I would continue to add weight. When I’m at the upper end of my weight scale, I wear that suit.

On the rare occasion I’m at the lower end, I have two choices—either look like a little boy in his Daddy’s clothing or squeeze into my old high school suit. On this day I chose the latter.

While the suit fit, it was tight.

As the wedding ended, I retrieved the package and said, “Inside the package is a butterfly. It symbolizes the potential and hope of this couple’s love. As the butterfly soars to heaven, our prayer is that your love would also soar to the skies.”

I ripped the package open, tossing the butterfly into the sky where it promptly fell to the ground dead—suffocated and smashed by my chest in my stretched high school suit.

The bride looked mortified. The groom was stunned. I giggled and said, “Hopefully you do better than that.”

I Nearly Married a Same-Sex Couple on Accident

In 17 years of performing wedding ceremonies, I have only feared a runaway bride one time.

It was a “pay for the signature” wedding which means I didn’t know the couple, they didn’t know me, but they needed someone to do their ceremony.

I didn’t meet them before the wedding, so I met the groom in the hallway before the processional and would meet the bride when she came down the aisle.

As we stood in place, all the bridesmaids made their way down the aisle without a single trip, and the Wedding March began. I stood the crowd, the double doors opened, and we waited for the bride’s appearance.

And we waited.

And we waited.

Finally a shadow approached the doorway, but the person which appeared was a surprise.

It wasn’t a father and a bride, it was a man four times larger than the one I was standing beside.

The groom looked at me, I looked at him, and said, “Is that her?”

Come to find out, the visitor arrived at the wedding late and just happened to walk in at the very moment the bride was supposed to come through the door. Upon seeing the man, the bride waited for him to be seated, unknowingly allowing him to take her place in the wedding processional.

I’ve Only Been Late Once

I’ve only been officially late for a wedding one time. Mostly this is due to the fact that you can’t start a wedding without me. When asked what time the wedding starts, I often respond, “five minutes after I get there.”

Yet one time a wedding did start without me.

I got lost on my way. I’ve only lived in my hometown for over 30 years, but the wedding was being held in a place I had never been.

I thought I could find it but I thought wrong.

After wandering around for some time, I finally found someone on the phone who knew the location—even Siri was confused.

When I pulled up to the little one room church-house, the bride was getting out of her horse drawn carriage. I spoke to the bride and entered the back of the church when I noticed the groomsmen were already in place and the bridesmaid’s were proceeding down the aisle.

The one-room church had no back door. The hundred seats were full. There was no way to get to my spot without going down the center aisle. (See: Ashes to Ashes)

So, after the Bridesmaid and before the flower girl, in perfect rhythm to Train’s song “Marry Me,” I processed down the aisle, looking lovingly at the groom and the Bridesmaids.

As I looked at them, I could look deeply into their souls and tell they were thinking:


5 Responses to Dead Butterflies, Runaway Brides, and Arriving Late for a Wedding

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