From Where I Sit – ‘Til Death do Us Part

As the 2006 summer wedding season draws to a close, I can’t help but look back fondly at the weddings I’ve officiated since my appointment as a marriage commissioner. My own thirty-three year old marriage (did I mention I was a child bride?) obviously colours my perspective.

I wonder which of these marriages will take, so to speak, and which will succumb to the fifty percent marriage failure rate. Is the success rate proportionate to the amount of money spent? Is it the time spent planning? Is it the amount of unsolicited advice from family and friends? Is it a mysterious mix of love and lust, forgiveness and understanding, give and take, maturity and sacrifice? Or is it just a plain old crapshoot? Beats me. I just do my best to offer the couple the benefit of my experience; a cool, calm and collected presence; and a commitment to make their vision of the perfect wedding come to life.

What constitutes the perfect wedding? For one couple, second-timers, it meant a family affair with the bridal couple and children arriving in a golf cart at the first hole of a golf course. The bride wore a golf skort, beaded halter-top and golf shoes. The groom wore golf shorts and shirt. Immediately after the marriage, all the guests played golf. The day was uniquely theirs.

Another young couple, with no parental help, chose a western theme. Black jeans and hats, western shirts, and country music set the mood. Another couple went for a horse and buggy ride right after their vows. Another couple decided to re-marry each other. One bride was about six weeks away from giving birth. One older, nervous groom said “awful wedded wife.” He may still be paying for that gaffe!

A word of warning to butt-in-skis, if you push too hard and too far, the couple will marry without you there. With a few hours notice, a couple of twenty-year-olds just decided to do it. They asked their neighbours to be witnesses, cut lilacs off a bush in their front yard for a bouquet, and had no family or friends present.

A couple of gay men gambled on the timing of the law finally catching up with the real world and the date on their wedding invitations. It was not to be. We did a commitment ceremony, one of the most formal and tasteful affairs I’ve ever had the pleasure of being involved with, in front of family and friends. the commitment ceremony was followed ten days later with a private wedding when the legislation became law.

Not long ago, I ended up ironing the groom’s shirt just because it needed doing and things were running late and everyone else was busy. It was one of my favourite ceremonies just because the people were so down-to-earth.

The marriage least likely to last, in my humble opinion, was the one between a bridezilla and a spoiled groom who tried to stiff me on my fee. All show, no substance. That can’t be good karma, from where I sit.

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