Recently I officiated at a wedding for the daughter of a boating friend of ours. The bride was beautiful (as all brides are) and the groom was a little nervous (as all grooms are). It was a large wedding and relatives had flown in from all over the country. The weather could have been better so, under the threat of rain, at the last minute we had to move the venue indoors but it was still wonderful.
The service began well. Dad walked daughter down the aisle and properly repeated his line, “Her mother and I do.” Everyone was seated and I gave the lesson. At last it was time to exchange the rings and “Repeat after me.” Unfortunately, her ring was tight and the poor groom could either put the ring on her finger or repeat after me but he couldn’t do both at the same time.
“… with my heart’s sincere affection…” I said slowly and clearly.
“…with my heart’s infection…” he repeated.
I love weddings but think about it. We don’t remember when everything goes right. What we remember are the things that go wrong.
Many years ago, I was preparing to perform my first wedding ceremony. I was so nervous I sought out the oldest minister I could find, Maurice Meredith, and I asked for his help. “Help me go over the ceremony again Maurice. I don’t want to make any mistakes.”
Maurice carefully walked me through everything as I took copious notes: groom’s family on this side; bride’s on that side; stand, sit, repeat after me. Then Maurice, with that characteristic twinkle in his eye said, “When you come to the part about exchanging the rings – if everything has gone smoothly – drop the rings.”
“What?” I looked up horrified.
“Drop the rings!” he repeated.
“Because otherwise they won’t have anything to remember,” he laughed. And Maurice was right. We remember the groom who fainted, the flower girl who took her shoes off, the bridesmaid who set her dress on fire.
So keep this lesson in mind this week when things go wrong. We’re not making mistakes – we’re making memories!