Sometimes, the weddings that I officiate as a pastor are not the most fun. A lot of the time I get a phone call that goes something like this.
“Hello,” I answer.
“Yes, is this the pastor?” a stranger asks.
“Yep, can I help you?”
“Yes, can you do a wedding for me?”
“Sorry, I already have a wedding (or funeral, or meeting…) this Saturday. Can you pick another day?”
“Do you know anyone who can do it? We already paid the reception hall, the DJ, the caterer and bought all the beer. We have to do it this Saturday.”
“Sorry,” I say.
To be fair, I do officiate a lot of weddings for strangers, but I enjoy weddings for people that I already know. Even if it makes me feel old. I remember the first time I felt old. I met my fifth grade teacher when I was a freshman in college. I was shocked to see how short he was. He was a fire-breathing, scary monster in fifth grade. I am now embarrassed to say that I felt old at that encounter, when I was nineteen years of age. A couple years ago, I was travelling and kept scanning for new radio stations whenever I drove out of reception of a classic rock station. I found a great station that played a bunch of good classic rock songs without a commercial and then they said, “You’ve been listening to GEEZER ROCK, your oldies stations.” Okay, geezer rock may not have been the name, but it was definitely an oldies station. Cripes.
Recently, however, I felt really old. I officiated a wedding for a kid that I confirmed as a church member when she was in sixth grade. It was especially difficult since she, Kylee, was the third kid in that confirmation class that had me perform a wedding ceremony, including her twin sister. I believe that the weddings were the only time I ever successfully differentiated the twins, as a bride’s dress is white and the sister was wearing the same dress as the other bridesmaids. The only other way I can tell them apart is by noticing which guy they are sitting next to in church. I don’t know what I would have done if they married twins!
Kylee gave me the address of the wedding site, which was land owned by the groom’s family. I drove out there a few days before, looking for a building of some sort. When I couldn’t find it, I sent a text to the bride. I find texting works best for all of these kids, and it will get a faster response than a phone call or even an email. I learned that the wedding would be outside, in a field, and that I was welcome to return and hunt the rabbits at the farm. During the rehearsal I learned from Kylee’s soon to be husband, Chase, that it was a 250-acre farm! It gets better. They had two hunting dogs in the wedding, both chocolate labs. The male, Bear, processed and went to the groom side. He wore a neckerchief that said “Ring Bear.” The female lab, Sadie, processed to the bridal side wearing a neckerchief that read, “Sade of Honor.” The seats were hay bales. A huge tent was the sight of the reception, and it was a wonderful time.
I nearly forgot the backstory on the proposal. It seems Chase went to Lion Country Supply and bought a collar. Bear wore the new collar to see Kylee. The name tag was engraved to read Kylee, will you Marry Me?” Of course there was a diamond ring. I have included a screenshot of my text conversation with Kylee, which I think will show how a backwoods country preacher may be different than the ones in the city.