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Wedding Weekend

2009 May 28
by Gordon Reid

An unusual (for St Clement’s) weekend lies ahead. I have a wedding rehearsal this evening; the wedding tomorrow afternoon. Then another rehearsal on Saturday afternoon and the wedding on Sunday afternoon. Four lovely young people whom I’ve been meeting with over the last few months. I have always refused to have weeding preparation classes, not really on principle, but more out of prejudice (like so many of my weightier decisions!). When I was ordained, no one had heard of wedding preparation: you just got the names and addresses, fixed a date for a rehearsal and a date for the wedding, and that was that. Over the years, I have noticed that the practice of marriage preparation has grown and grown, as have the divorce statistics. Now I know that post hoc does not mean propter hoc (otherwise we might make absurd claims, such as that the Episcopal Church has lost over a million members since the day the first women were ordained priests, and that these two things are somehow connected,and that would never do!)  Of course, in Church of England parishes, you might have three or four weddings every Saturday in the high season, and then you are ahead of the game if you succeed in marrying the right guy to the right lady. A tip to my fellow clergy: however well you know the couple, never fail to have a slip of paper in the Prayer Book with their names on it: “tears before bedtime” takes on a new meaning if one gets the bride’s name wrong.

All I ask of couples whose marriage I am to bless is that they will come and worship as often as they can in the months before their wedding, and when they do, I ask them to a meal or to drinks. We have long conversations about life and death and love and marriage over gin and tonics or fish and chips – and if you like to call that marriage preparation, I don’t mind at all. All I know is that they and I enjoy it better than classes! 

So God bless Marshall and Stephanie and Dan and  Holly as they take their vows this weekend. I’m sure he will, since he likes Covenants, and this is one of the most beautiful that two people can make with each other.

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