Tale of Two Weddings

Admittedly, I debate posting about things close to home, but there may be a lesson or two in this parable. Very recently, I was confronted by two very different approaches to weddings at the parish.

In wedding number one, I got an email from the bride-to-be less than three weeks before the date. It went something like this: OMG, we need to have a wedding Mass. Please help!

Happy to do this. I’m not a bride, and I never was. So the idea of putting together a liturgy for a wedding on a few weeks’ notice is not a big deal for me. I’ve done it on less than 48 hours. If the pastor called me right now this second (1:54PM local time) and said there’s a wedding at 3PM, I could rouse my wife from her nap, get dressed, grab a hymnal and a few pieces of music out of my office and start playing preludes at 2:30 while guests arrive. The last-minute couple would get above-average liturgical music capably rendered.

So I was able to calm down the bride at our meeting, chat up the groom about harmoniums and learning to play the violin and we were soon on track for a nice liturgy.

In contrast, we also fielded a recent wedding that was, alas, handed from priest to priest and ended up in a deacon’s hands. (It is July when clergy transfers in our diocese are all the rage–plus two of our guys decided to book vacation at the same key time.) Despite my colleague’s urging of the couple, I wasn’t consulted about this wedding in advance. I learned that one family is very musical, and a choir of twelve and five instruments were being utilized. Cool, I thought.

The problem was that this fine ensemble of musicians really needed someone’s assistance to arrange themselves in a fairly open space. We got it figured out–during the rehearsal of bride, groom, deacon, and attendants. I was amazed to learn one of the group was a parish liturgist somewhere. I wouldn’t dream of taking an ensemble on the road for a wedding in someone else’s house without checking things out thoroughly ahead of time.

Couple number 1 got our very best. I’m sad to see them relocate out of state–but you’ve got to follow the job.

I hope couple number 2 was satisfied. They sure didn’t get my best, but I have few regrets–they didn’t ask for it, and it seems, they weren’t expecting it anyway.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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