I was in Carmel for a wedding Saturday – a very close friend of mine that has struggled with addiction on and off for years was marrying a man she met four or five years ago in one of her stints in rehab. They make a great pair, my friend has been sober for almost four years now, and it was a gorgeous and intimate affair with 45 people in attendance, including the happy couple. My partner and I went along with another close friend (grass-phobia girl) and her boyfriend (who didn’t know she had a grass phobia until I outed her at the wedding).
The setting was a small beach house on the ocean, a perfect blend of warm sun and an ocean breeze, a score of surfers in the background riding big waves, and a little girl, maybe 9 or 10 years old, who wandered away from her family and to jump in hills of seaweed piled up on the shore as though they were large piles of autumn leaves (I have to admit, cute as she was, frolicking in the seaweed, the main thought in my mind was There is no way I would let you in my car after all that.). In all, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the most important thing was that my friend and her new husband looked as happy as any couple I’ve ever seen. That said, there were a few humorous elements during the ceremony that seem worth sharing.
My friend and her husband were married by her husband’s sponsor, who also happens to be a “preacher,” as we were told. They call him Brother Love. I could easily picture him in front of a mesmerized bunch of parishioners, passionately shouting bible verses, pointing out individuals in the pews to repeat what he says to help him punctuate his already forceful statements. There was a bit of awkward shuffling at the beginning of the ceremony as the bride’s father stood with her, waiting for the moment he was to “give her away.” Brother Love was explaining that the thirty-something couple (who already live together) must be willing to leave the homes of their parents and build a new home together.
He ended by asking who was going to give the bride away, although it was evident that her father, standing immediately in front of him, was doing that part – “Um, … I will…,” said the bride’s father, which brought many chuckles from the guests. He began to sit down, but Brother Love wanted the bride’s father to physically place his daughter’s hands into the hands of her husband-to-be. To lookers on, it seemed none of this had been practiced at the rehearsal dinner. While the awkward moment was underway, the groom’s father saw it as an opportunity to jump in and be part of the hand-off, which then turned into a “Go team!” kind of affair, with all the hands that had come together thrown into the air with exuberance.
In one part of the ceremony, Brother Love addressed both the bride, [C], and groom, [P], alternately, giving them what sounded like life or death instructions on how they were to conduct themselves in their marriage.
“[P], in this marriage, you must care for your wife and have eyes only for her, and no other woman!”
“[C], in this marriage, you must trust your husband completely, knowing he will care for you and provide for you forever!”
“[P], you must give yourself up to your wife, put her interests first, and trust that your personal needs will be met by God!”
“[C], you, too, must give yourself up to your husband, put his interests first, and trust that your personal needs will be met by God!”
The bride alternated between curious expressions, glances into the audience, the occasional nod of the head, but mostly it seemed she was trying not to laugh.
“[C], you must keep your home orderly, must not be quarrelsome, nor contentious!”
At this point, the bride looked at Brother Love, with an expression that said, Who are you? Did you really just say that?
“[P], and you must give your wife what she is due!”
Brother Love followed his final instruction with an elbow to the groom’s ribs and a couple of exaggerated winks. To everyone’s relief, they eventually made it through the ceremony and were proclaimed husband and wife.