Yesterday, I was happy to perform a wedding ceremony for some new friends. It was a perfect day. Everyone smiled from ear to ear. I said the couple’s last name correctly after practicing it hundreds of times. Independently, all of the “staff” hired for the wedding said the same thing to me, “I love working with couples like them, their #1 goal is that they want to be married.” It was a complete pleasure to be a part of the day, everything went off without a hitch.
Well, one slightly embarrassing moment for me that no one really noticed. The audio guy for the golf course handed me this cheap little wireless microphone and told me to stick it on my tie. When I took it to the bathroom to properly hide the wiring I could tell it was going to be a problem. (Really, why does a place that invests $500,000 in their wedding business buy a $300 microphone?) Then, when I did a quick sound check with him he told me that the trick was that I needed to turn the mic’s power on right when the bride comes down the aisle since it pops and has feedback on mute mode. Cute. I’m worried about pronouncing their last name correctly and now I have this to worry about? So, while everyone turns to look at the bride in her big moment, the fat pastor starts fishing for the power button and in the process the mic pops out of its cheap clip and dangles down to my groin. I quickly fish it back up and stick it back into the clip right as she gets to the front. No one notices, all eyes on the bride. Awesome. Well, 30 seconds into the ceremony I make a gesture to the groom to go retrieve his bride from his father-in law and the mic comes out of the clip again and plops on my open Bible. Thud. Thankfully, I’ve done enough stuff to just adjust my voice and project a tad and move on. It was one of those little things that happens that isn’t a big deal but you can make a little scene about if you keep fiddling with it. We moved past it, no one ever noticed, and I got to share a laugh with the audio guy… it’s all good. (If that’s the worst thing that happened it was an awesome wedding!)
Back to more serious stuff.
Here’s my new revelation about marriage that I weaved into the fabric of the ceremony. It’s not a private act between a man and a woman, it’s a public act of community recognition of a private decision. The couple has rights and responsibilities, in taking a public vow they affirm certain things about what will happen in the privacy of their home. And the witnesses who participate in the ceremony have rights and responsibilities to the couple as they act on behalf of the community at-large. If you buy into the idea that God institutes who lives where and that the Gospel breathes life to spiritually dead places, this makes sense as we all join together in community under common laws, practices, mores, and other social rules… then this makes total sense.
To affirm this relationship between the witnesses and the couple I added this paragraph into the closing of the ceremony:
It’s our responsibility, as witnesses to this marriage, to do two things. First, I ask that you join me in loving and supporting this couple as they join together as husband and wife. Second, you have a responsibility to celebrate with this couple today! Please join us for the party and join them in making today a wonderful celebration of their new life together.
What do you think? Is this better off stated or implied as part of a wedding? Is it implied by witnessing, participating in the celebration, and giving gifts to the couple that you are publicly affirming their private decision and contract? Or am I just making too much of this?