formats
Published on July 7, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

You know when I write these tales of the absolutely funny weddings I try not to embellish because fiction is not nearly as funny as reality. Even as I sit here and write about this red neck wedding, some of you will not be able to take in all that really happened. Even though I was there and witnessed it all, I cannot believe it all happened down the aisle.
The day started with a trip out to the local community center. I had met the bride and groom at a Dunkin Donuts just few weeks before, so it was no surprise that they were very young. As I pulled into the gravel parking lot, the lot was filled with pick-up trucks and cars that were missing various parts, like mirrors, headlights, and fenders.
I made my way into the community center to see if any of the wedding party was there yet and met the mother of the bride. She was a lovely sight to behold. About five foot six, in her mid forties, and needing to have had someone help her pick out her dress. There are just some dresses that you shouldn’t wear without some kind of “slimming device” and she of course, had probably never heard of such a thing. Standing there smoking a cigarette, she had so much tooth decay that I dare say she could have held the cigarette between her teeth without using her lips.
As I took a look over the venue the room was lined with picnic tables in leu of chairs for the guests to sit in and in the back of the room was a poster size photograph of an elderly gentleman. I was later told that the photo was of the recently deceased grandfather of the bride. It just felt that all through the ceremony the eyes of “gramps” were looking over my right shoulder.
The groom and his groomsmen arrived in a jacked up Bronco and piled out onto the parking lot. Dressed in tight black jeans, high top sneakers, and tuxedo t-shirts they were a sight to behold. The groom wore an actual tuxedo jacket over his t-shirt, so he would be a little more dressy than the others.
As the scheduled time for the ceremony came and went, we waited on the arrival of the bride. In the first pick-up truck to pull into the parking lot, our hopes of it being the bride were dashed when we realized that they were there to bring the roasted wild pig; that the groomsmen had killed the night before.
Just a moment later the bride’s transportation did turn into the parking lot. A jacked up green, Ford pick-up truck was her vehicle of choice. As she got down out of her chariot I noticed that she of course was wearing boots under her wedding gown.
The men scrambled into the community center to take their places, the parents lined up on the parking lot outside the glass doors , and the bride stayed neatly hidden on the other side of the pick-up truck. Everything when so smoothly, parents entered and were seated at a picnic table, and the bridesmaids came sauntering down the aisle carrying cowboy hats with silk roses around the brim (the mother of the bride told me what a great deal she got on these at the dollar general.)
There we all stood, the bride, the groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, myself and “gramps” looking over my shoulder. As I pronounced the couple husband and wife they kissed and then turned to walk down the aisle and out the door. The bride drug the heal of her cowboy boots and tore the cheap paper runner, which gathered under her dress as she walked. When the happy couple reached the glass doors the bride had to lift her dress to let the gathered paper fall out from under her dress, like a wad of toilet paper.
And it all happened down the aisles.

p.s. I was meeting with another couple at the same Dunkin Donuts about 4 months later, when the bride from this wedding came up to me and said “Guess what.” I replied, “let me guess…..you’re pregnant. And she said “How’d you know?”
I wonder.

 

 
formats
Published on July 7, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

 

Weddings are usually a well planning out and choreographed work of art.  It takes months to pick out all the colors, coordinate everything from bridesmaids dresses to types of pins that will hold on the grooms boutonniere,  and such a fragile balance of art and hard work can be brought to a complete stop by one thing—the BEST MAN.

In the third Indiana Jones movie, Indy faces three trials in his search for the Holy Grail; only to be confronted by a very old knight uttering the words “choose wisely.”  Heed that advice as you pick the one who will walk down the aisle, stand by your side, hold your rings during the ceremony, and make a toast at your reception.  Practical jokers need not apply!

The task of the best man hales from the days of Scottish clans.  So why would such a noble position be relegated to someone who is going to search their pockets and pretend they cannot find your wedding rings.  Over the years I have seen almost everything happen when I ask for the rings.  They have come down the aisle on a pillow carried by a major domo or ring bearer, they have been handed to me tied into sea shells, I’ve seen best men search their pockets, the pockets of the groom, and the pockets of other groomsmen.  I’ve had best men retrieve rings from whiskey bottles, around cigars, off dog collars, and out of gum ball machines.  I’ve been handed toy rings, rings tied to string, candy rings, and even onion rings.

So for all you future BEST MEN out there, take note:  This is not your wedding;   you are only an honored guest.  Do not attempt to steal the spotlight from the groom and bride.  You walk a treacherously fine line when you play the fool in front of family and friends.  You may prove yourself not such a “best man” after all.

 

 

 
formats
Published on July 6, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

 

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

 
formats
Published on July 5, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

You know I try very hard to have the most beautiful ceremonies possible. So when a young groom told me that for their wedding he had written a song to sing to his bride I thought it would be an excellent addition to the already beautifully romantic ceremony.

The day of the ceremony arrived and as I drove to the location along the rocky and pristine coast I couldn’t help imagining the love song this lover had written for his betrothed.

The setting was the ocean to our backs, guests seated under the fragrant mimosa trees, and us standing under the canopy of a oriental gazebo, decorated with hundreds of origami swans.  The bride had taken her grandmother’s vintage wedding dress and had it altered to fit her.  The groom emerged from his room dressed in what I would describe as silk Kung Fu pajamas and pointed toed house slippers.

The traditional ceremony was beautiful.  The bride and groom both wrote personal vows to each other, telling the other why they loved them.

After a few readings came the cue for the groom to take his place and sing to his bride.  To the amazement of the guests(and myself) the groom unbuttoned his shirt, removed it, to reveal a tattoo spelling the name of his bride across his chest in three inch high letters.  He then grabbed his guitar, plugged it in, and began to sing a song that I can only compare to sounds I’ve heard at the dog pound on a moonlit night…Ahooooooooo!

The guests sat in stunned silence and I tried to hide the shock from my face as he finished his serenade, put back on his shirt, and rejoined his bride in front of me.

I pronounced them husband and wife and during the photos the groom turned and asked me how I liked his song.  After carefully thinking of what I was going to say I replied, ” I am sure everyone who heard it can now attest to your love for your wife and of your staggering musical talent.”

And it all happened down the aisle.

 
formats
Published on July 5, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

 

Fall in the United States brings out the football fan in even the most unathletic. We all pick a team to root for or at least check the score of on weekends. One such weekend I was scheduled to perform a wedding at a local hotel.
I arrived at the venue very early, having anticipated heavy traffic and there being none. As I walked into the lobby and realized what time it was I headed to the bar to watch some college football before the ceremony began. Dressed in a white shirt, suit pants, and a tie, with my ministerial robe folded neatly over my arm, I crowded into the bar to see the score of our beloved Gators. While I stood there the groom and his groomsmen also came down to the bar to see the game and throw back a few drinks.
Now, only the groom knew my identity when the Gators intercepted the ball and ran half the length of the field to score against their long time rival. At which point the best man shouted at the top of his lungs, “f#*$&ing A man, f#*$&ing A.”
As quick as I’ve ever seen, the groom took advantage of the situation, patted his best man on the shoulder, and proceeded to point at me while he said, “Hey Tom, have you met Rev.Ferguson?” Like mercury in a thermometer, redness flooded the young man’s face and there was nothing he could do to conceal his embarrassment over having shouted a profanity in front of the minister who was about to marry his best friend. More than twenty minutes passed and in that time the best man must have told me a dozen times how sorry he was to have uttered those words. Even as I tried to let him know I was not offended, the redness in his face persisted. Finally, standing in the hall, just moments before we were to enter the ceremony; I told him that maybe he needed to go and splash some cool water on his face to calm down. I pointed down the hallway and told him there was a restroom located down the hall to his left. At which time another groomsman said “Man if I had just dropped the F Bomb in front of my pastor I would go drown myself in the urinal.”

And it all happened down the aisles.

 
formats
Published on July 5, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

You know I thought I would never have the opportunity to conduct another real redneck wedding, but God has given me a sense of humor and lightening struck twice. The couple booked my services over the phone and I did not have the opportunity to meet them in advance of their ceremony. When they spoke they told me that it was to be a simple wedding in their neighborhood; filled with family, friends, and neighbors. The couple gave me the address and put it into my GPS to make sure I got there in plenty of time.

As I pulled off the last paved road in the county I followed what would be less described as roads and more often mentioned as trails. Deep ruts of red clay were bordered on either side by grass as tall as my chest and the road snaked its way through the countryside like an anaconda. One final turn and my GPS informed me that my destination was ahead on the right. Pulling my car to the shoulder in the only mowed area for what seemed like miles, I saw a faded brown trailer under a large oak tree. Reaching to the back seat of my car to grab my tie I was surprised by a knock on the glass of my driver’s side window. Once the dust from the road settled I rolled down the window to meet, the groom. Alex stood there about five foot ten, weighing probably one hundred and fifty (dripping wet). Dressed in jeans, a clean white t-shirt, boots, and a black satin vest – he was prepared for a party.

Alex led me to the back side of the trailer to the ceremony site and there in the back yard, past rusted out cars, a travel trailer with rotten tires and a tarp over the roof, stood a temporary carport. Recently purchased from a big box store the canopy still had the tags hanging off one end. Under the canopy were about two dozen white molded plastic chairs, with silk flowers tied with bread ties to the arms. Alex led me through the yard to the canopy, telling me to watch where I stepped; the pit bull that was chained up now, usually has run of the place (so you get the picture.) Just past the chairs the couple had placed a tall cocktail table and on it held the pictures of every family member who had died since 1955…they didn’t want anyone to be left out.

Just about that time a chubby ten year old boy came running through the yard without a shirt and then proceeded to find out who I was. After being told that I was “the preacher-man”, he then started pulling the stickers off the molded plastic chairs. Yellow and red stickers that said $5 had adorned the back of each chair and the mother of the bride just about came unglued when she saw what he was doing. “Stop that. You put those back!” she barked. “You know we’re takin’ them back to the dollar store this evenin’,” she said. I guess the canopy and silk flowers were going back too, they were still wearing their price tags as well.
Just beyond the canopied ceremony area friends and neighbors had set up two enormous grills. They proceeded to tell me that the “boys” had been out hog hunting earlier in the week and that one big pig was on the grill to my right. When I asked about the grill on the left they said they were still plucking the chickens the next door neighbor gave them for BBQ. They asked if I’d like to stay for dinner, but the thought of spending the holiday weekend with stomach poisoning was too much for me to overcome.
I asked if I might have a word with the bride before the ceremony; just to go over vows. The mother of the groom led me to the faded brown trailer and told me what I could go on in. I’ve learned over the years to not be the first through the door of a place you are uncertain, so I had mom go first. She quickly motioned that the bride was not there, but was in a second travel trailer in the front of the lot. As I stepped inside brown trailer and made my way through to the travel trailer there was a rather large gentleman named “Pops” who was standing in the living room in nothing but his “whitie-tighties.” I made a quick escape to see the bride.
Dressed in a beautiful wedding dress she was beautiful to all her family and gathered guests. It didn’t matter that she still had feathers and chicken “parts” still on her hands, from the earlier plucking party or that she was missing about six teeth from the front of her mouth. (At least every other one was there.)
I lined the bridal party up, got the groomsmen in place with me, and signaled to the guy with the speaker running out of the truck window when it was time to start the bridal march. The march from the side of the brown trailer to the ceremony site was so far that they had to play the same song 3 times. Everyone rose as the bride walked in with her father and once he gave her away her groom proceeded to start kissing her. I quietly whispered “save it for the end,” but it was of no avail. All through the ceremony and especially during the vows Alex would try to sneak a little kiss or grope her a little.
As I pronounced them husband and wife I was actually afraid they might just consummate the marriage there in front of their guests. The kiss proceeded and was lauded by hoots and cheers and except for the canopy overhead there would have been ball caps tossed too.
After they walked down the aisle the bride and groom disappeared into the faded brown trailer for a few moments and came out with their marriage license for me to sign. Alex had removed his t-shirt to reveal the prison tattoos that covered his rib cage. After the license was signed they wanted to take pictures with “the preacher-man” (Alex still didn’t have on his shirt) and they asked me to bless the beer…they were going to have one heck of a party.
And it all happened down the aisles.