This Weekend's Wedding

I thought that it might be a good idea, for the record, to notify the readers of my journal that, yes, I will be officiating at a wedding on Saturday, May 19. However, for the record, I won’t be at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. In fact, for the record, I didn’t receive an invitation to that wedding. The officiant of the royal wedding will be the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. That comes as no surprise, because Archbishop Welby is the head of the Church of England’s 13,000 parishes and he is “regarded as the nation’s senior Christian and spiritual voice.” When interviewed by the Telegraph about the wedding, Archbishop Welby quoted Stormzy’’s song, “Blinded by Your Grace,” to explain how he feels about the wedding. “I stay prayed up and get the job done.” He went on to say, “I’m always nervous at weddings because it is such an important day for th ecouple - whoever they are.” He also added that he’s been worried about flubbing his lines or dropping the ring.

Hmmm. . . I worry about the same things. I always do weddings from a manuscript because it is such an important day. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the couple and for those in attendance. I don’t want to mess up my lines. And, I’ve only dropped a ring once in 40 years of performing weddings and, in my own defense, that was due at least in part to the fact that the ring bearer in that particular ceremony was a dog who wouldn’t hold still for me to remove the rings from his collar.

But Archbishop Welby shouldn’t be all that worried. After all, he doesn’t have to do the service all by himself. Although he will officiate over the exchange of vows and will be considered the officiant of the wedding, the service will be presided over by the Dean of Windsor, David John Connor. And the sermon at the wedding ceremony will be delivered by The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the presiding bishop of the American Episcopal Church. Three big-nome clergy for one ceremony. After all it is a royal wedding.

I’ll be working solo on Saturday. That’s right presiding, officiating and preaching! Whew! It probably isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time that I’m working harder than church bigwigs. But, of course, I’m biased. I’m not now, have never been and will never be a church bigwig, even though there are some who think that a wig might improve my appearance. And, in our church, no one, not even the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, gets to wear a mitre - the fancy hat that the bishops get to wear in the Episcopalian and Anglican communion.

Still, in my mind, the bride in the wedding that I’ll be attending this weekend is a princess. Not that I’m an expert in royalty. And she really did choose a prince of a groom. And they really are a great couple together. I’m going into the confidence that they’ve got what it takes to make a successful marriage. And they deserve a royal wedding - at least one where the words are carefully chosen and the ceremony is competently led and the vows are exchanged with all due ceremony.

I have noticed a few other differences, however, for the record.

At the royal wedding, it is expected that all women, including every guest, will be wearing a hat. And those Brits have some pretty showy hats. All eyes will be on the queen and her choice of hat for the occasion, but every other woman in attendance will be expected to have a hat worth remembering.

I don’t think there will be any women wearing hats at the wedding at our church on Saturday. There may be a few Stetsons in the parking lot afterward, but everyone is expected to be bare headed for the ceremony itself.

In the United Kingdom, it is traditional for the Best Man’s speech to be a little bit risqué with a few references to prior events and memories. It is a bit like a roast. Here in the United States, the Best Man makes a toast and is expected to keep it short and simple, and, perhaps, just a little bit sentimental and sweet.

Thee has been quite a bit of attention to the fact that Meghan has ordered a Lemon and Elderflower sponge cake for the wedding. But there will also be a traditional cake which is tiers of fruitcake with marzipan icing. The top tier is kept to be eaten on the occasion of the christening of the couple’s first child.

I’m pretty sure that there won’t be any fruitcake at the reception of the wedding I’ll be attending this weekend. And I had to look up marzipan. It’s a paste of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites that is colored and used as icing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a whole lot of cupcakes at this wedding. I don’t know for sure, but that has been very common at recent weddings that I have attended. A fruit filling is pretty common for US wedding cakes.

The guests for the Royal Wedding are expected to arrive around 9:30 a.m. for a ceremony that is expected to begin at 1 p.m. I’m thinking that we will have a few people who show up a half hour early, but most guests will arrive at about 15 minutes before the appointed hour. The main factor determining the exact start time of the ceremony will be whether or not there are guests waiting to sign the guest book who have not yet been seated. When they all get into the sanctuary, we’ll begin.

If you want to watch the royal wedding it will be at about 5 a.m. here due to the differences in time zones. That will give you plenty of time to make the ceremony at our church that afternoon.

And, for what it is worth, I’m thinking that with three ministers at their wedding and only one at ours, our ceremony should be finished in about 1/3 the time that theirs will take.

Congratulations and many happy years to all of the couples getting married this weekend.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!