When people learn that I officiate weddings, inevitably they ask me, “what was your oddest wedding experience?” I’ve had many an odd experience and inevitably people say, “you should write a book!” I probably should. For now, though, I’ve written this post in which I highlight ten of the most odd wedding moments I’ve encountered. . .
- There are different ways for rings to be presented to the couple. Ring bearers are cute but it takes a brave couple willing to let a 4-year old carry rings that have cost thousands of dollars. It’s often customary for the Best Man / Person to hold both rings, though it’s becoming more common for the Best and the Maid/Person of Honor to present the rings. BUT – the oddest was when the bride’s cousin, a professional Belly Dancer, presented the rings while doing a belly dance with a sword balanced on her head!
- It was a scorching hot summer day. The ceremony was outdoors at a venue that had a panoramic view of Los Angeles. What it didn’t have was – shade. The bride’s sister was invited to read a poem. How lovely. BUT – the sister instead opted to write a meditation on “what is marriage?” The reflection was three pages, single spaced. It quickly became apparent to all that the reflection had been written in a state of disillusionment about marriage as her “words of wisdom” were dreary and cautionary. The bride’s mascara started to run, the guests grew restless and my black suit jacket became soaked in sweat. Afterwards, I learned that the sister had just gone through a bitter divorce from her cheating husband!
- The couple decided to host their wedding at the house they had recently bought and were having renovated. Bride and groom had each been married before. The groom had a young adult daughter and the bride had a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. I arrived to the tarp-covered setting to find the bride’s daughter huddled in the corner sobbing. Turns out, her mother only told her about the wedding that morning! The daughter didn’t like her soon-to-be step-dad.
- The groom told me that he was a musician and that he wanted to surprise his bride by singing his personal vows. He had forgotten to tune his guitar prior to the ceremony and he was so nervous that his voice cracked and he blanked on a portion of the “vow lyrics.” Achy-breaky heart, indeed!
- I will never understand a wedding from a bride’s p.o.v. – especially that of the bride who hired two “bridesmaids” so as to have symmetry with the groomsmen. She believed symmetry was important for a good Instagram look. This was also the bride who asked me to make the ceremony as long as possible because she had spent a significant amount of money on the ceremony arch and wanted to get her money’s worth of time in front of it!
- Writing vows is always challenging, if not stressful. How do you put into words what is so deep in your heart? One of my bride’s solved the issue by asking her Maid of Honor to write her vows for her. Only problem, the Maid of Honor had never met the groom and wrote the wrong name in the vows.
- Not to be outdone, there was the groom who had not written out his personal vows. He reassured me that it was all “in his head.” I refused to believe there was anything inside his head and begged him to jot down his thoughts. He reluctantly agreed. Later, as he nervously awaited his bride to process down the aisle, he wiped his forehead with his pocket-square handkerchief. When it came time for the vows, he again whipped out his pocket-square – on which he had written his vows. Only problem – because he had earlier wiped his forehead, his vows were smudged beyond recognition.
- The groom told me he was a hunter and that he reluctantly agreed to have his wedding on opening day of hunting season. I was nervous at the of the ceremony when the couple released doves as I hoped they’d make it home safely!
- The couple was insistent there be no mention of God in the ceremony. No problem. They emailed me a reminder – no God. No problem. Really! String Quartet starts playing the processional. I was gobsmacked when the bride walked down the aisle to the strains of – “Ave Maria” – one of the most religious pieces of music ever composed as it honors Mary, who is revered as the Virgin Mother of – God!
- Towards the end of the ceremony, the bride’s mother suddenly stood-up and began walking towards me. I left the couple and met her. In a voice only I could hear, she said, “Do not pronounce them husband and wife, I have reservations.” Although stunned, I smiled and said, “The only reservations you better have are for dinner.” I hurried back to the couple and quickly finished the ceremony. Afterwards, I found the bride, gave her a hug and asked if she was okay. She smiled and said, “I guess I forgot to tell you about my mother.”
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