Some of the time you just shake your head when you remember an event that could have been so beautiful, but was such a fiasco. Earlier this Spring I had front row seats for what could only be described as a train wreck. I had met the couple several months before and explained the process of putting together their ceremony. I sent emails and called, but it wasn’t until the night before that I received the ceremony. As I looked over it there were only a few minor changes that needed to be taken care of; so we were set
As customary I arrived at the venue about 40 minutes before the start time of the ceremony. Situated on a mirror-like lake it was going to be a beautiful ceremony. I had checked the Weather Channel earlier in the day and even though we were supposed to get rain, it wasn’t anticipated until well after the wedding.
Looking around the venue I wanted to touch base with the bride and the groom. Their contract stated that the start time would be 6pm. At 5:30pm there was no bride, no groom, and no guests. I called the bride and she told me she was just around the corner. She didn’t tell me that she was not dressed and had not done her hair or make up.
As I was finishing up my conversation with her, the groom and his groomsmen arrived in a car that I can only describe as something I’ve seen as I’ve driven past salvage yards. The mixture of three colors of paint and “Bondo” primer was only accentuated by the four green pine tree air fresheners that hung around the inside of the car.
After guests and the bride had arrived I waited until the anticipated start time of the ceremony to check in again with the bride. Elizabeth (bride’s name changed) was a large girl and in charge of everything. I mentioned that there was a thunderstorm coming and that we needed to get started. She let me know that it was alright for her guests to sit there and wait for her in the Florida heat, no it wasn’t going to rain, and that she would be ready in a few minutes (dress still not on)
Forty minutes late in starting, the bride was beautiful to behold coming down the aisle. She proceeded to take her place hand in hand with her groom. Though the ceremony progressed in order I kept looking at the sky. Just about the time I mentioned that we were going to have a blessing of the hands, the skies opened up and decided to shower down their own blessing on us. The guests, bridal party, and I took shelter under the large covered awning and we continued on with the ceremony even though dripping wet.
Tom (the groom, name changed) had a daughter from a previous relationship and so we came to a point in the ceremony where Elizabeth was going to recognize his daughter by taking a necklace from around her neck and placing it around the neck of the child. Tiny clasps are hard enough to undo, but when you have extra long fake finger nails it is almost impossible. Once the clasp was opened the necklace slipped from Elizabeth’s neck and slid down the front of her dress and came to rest in her bosom. Without a thought of her guests watching her or the fact that I was standing less than two feet away, Elizabeth reached down the front of her dress and dug around with her fake finger nails to find the missing necklace. Awkward!
Okay, disaster number two over. The ceremony went fine for another 30 seconds or so until we got to the point in the ceremony where couples exchange rings. As is tradition, I asked “May I have the rings?” and the best man leaned toward me and whispered (wait for it) …”I left them in the car.” A ceremony that was not supposed to be very religious became VERY religious as I asked everyone to pray. As we prayed I quickly pulled my wedding band off my left ring finger and my seminary class ring off my right ring finger. At the conclusion of the prayer, the bride and groom exchanged my rings as their wedding rings and no one (except the bridal party) had any idea.
The ceremony was complete, the bride and groom were now husband and wife,
and it all happened down the aisles