It’s been quite awhile since I attended a non-UU wedding, and even longer since I attended a Catholic wedding, which may help explain why I found today’s experience unsettling, sometimes comical, sometimes irritating.  Luckily, I was seated with other UU friends, many of whom seemed to share my feelings.  The setting was lovely, the vocalist (“cantor”?  I didn’t know Catholic churches had cantors!) sang well, the sanctuary’s excellent acoustics showcased the repertoire of familiar wedding classics to their best advantage.  Everyone in the bridal party looked terrific, and the bridesmaids’ dresses were knee-length, bare-shouldered, actually possible to wear again.  And then the officiating priest began what I can only call his schtick.  Casually informal, with gestures, smiles, brief pauses to allow for audience reaction, he prefaced the ceremony with a monolog, and continued to interrupt various segments of the service with comments and explanations of what was going to happen, what had happened, what was happening, and on and on.  I was reminded of the policemen in “Pirates of Penzance,” reiterating “We go, we go,” while their   leader observed “Yes, but you don’t go!”  After about an hour and a quarter of Christian theology, during which the wedding couple mostly sat facing the guests, who were requestedto do a lot of standing up and sitting down, there came one final burst of oratory — something about a sacristy, whatever that may be — and we were commanded to applaud as the newlyweds were introduced for the first time by their married names.  The priest concluded his remarks with an odd, flippant little wave of his hands, causing me to come perilously close to a disgraceful snort of astonished laughter.  Throughout the ceremony, he gave the impression of someone moonlighting from a comedy club.  Overall, the entire event was about God,and the importance of his role in the newlyweds’ lives, so that my impression was of the bride and groom as bystanders, spectators at the Wedding Show, starring God and Father Gary.  I wondered, driving home, how the  groom’s parents felt as they witnessed their son’s participation in a rite so vastly different from the kinds of nuptial celebrations we’ve become accustomed to as UU’s.  If anyone asks about today, I’ll have to respond, “That WAS a wedding!”   And I wish the couple a long, happy life together.

~ by lisydomu on August 2, 2008.

2 Responses to “Hitched”

  1. I don’t know. As bad as ti sounds, I think it’s better than the horridly pronounced Latin they used for a couple of millennia

  2. In this case, Latin might have been an improvement.

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