A bit of unexpected rain called for an umbrella as we dashed for the gazebo in our local park! The wedding was for 5:00 pm and I was ready!
My friend from work had arranged the services for her relative’s son and soon to be daughter-in-law and got me involved too! Never having met the bride and groom, I only knew that they had come from a Southern state to California so that his Mother and other relatives and friends could be included in their celebration.
The lovely Bride was dressed in blue jeans, and was wearing her fiancés warm jacket. The groom sported blue jeans, a plaid shirt and a cowboy hat as he laughed and enjoyed some nervous conversation with his buddies. It appeared that perhaps he was also enjoying a little nip or two of something to bolster his confidence!
The groom and I were introduced. By way of explanation for his “condition,” he informed me that he worked very hard at his job, so he also wanted to have fun. I told him,” I like people who love to have fun! “He eyed me, skeptically at first, but determined I was not judging him for being slightly tipsy.
I explained how the service would proceed, and they understood what they were to do. That’s generally the job of the wedding coordinator, right? No I was not the coordinator. I was the minister who would perform the ceremony!
Things progressed without music; this was a simple outdoor event between friends. I asked the bride and groom to hold hands and in one portion of the ceremony, I asked them to repeat the words “I love you” to each other. My wedding ceremony is unique and is full of challenges, promises and vows between each other and to God.
Things were proceeding nicely until it was time for the rings. Big pause…..where were they? Seems they could not be found. Without warning, the groom declared in a booming voice, “Where are the F - - - - - rings? Silence!!
Chuckling to myself, I realized that this could be considered a sort of “Red-Neck-Wedding”. Red-neck or not, expletives uttered during the ceremony were simply out of place. What to do? Honestly, I don’t remember exactly how I handled it, but my comments were accepted with grace and things were okay. We were able to continue without ado, to the end of the service.
As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by the authority invested in me by the State of California, I finally pronounced them man-and-wife! The ceremony over, I provided the bride and groom with a folder containing a printed copy of the entire observance. Included were instructions for them to read it over again on each of their wedding anniversary dates.
The groom insisted on walking me to my car along with my friend from work. He graciously handed me a gratuity, and as he did so he gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me that he loved me! Another friend of the groom who followed along remarked that when he married, he would like me to perform the ceremony. Go figure!
I guess I scored some points that day. Perhaps there will be another ‘red-neck’ wedding in my future! It still makes me smile! I guarantee you one thing that couple will not soon forget the lady preacher who entered their lives for a moment!!
How do we witness and let our light shine? The most direct and simple answer I can give; is to live daily as an example and allow Jesus to shine through you.