Going to the Chapel, and it’s time to get married!

(Originally posted February 16, 2012)

Well, I am just giddy with excitement!  In just a couple of weeks, the 2012 Wedding Season at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas will be off and running!  Might I also add, IT’S ABOUT TIME, FOLKS!!

Apparently, those pondering a forever of togetherness, have been taking the route of shackin’ up and “living in sin” more here in recent days.  The “I Do’s” have been few and far between over the past year, and I’m pretty sure the Lord is ready for some of those young whipper-snappers to get their well-heeled duffs out of ‘Shackin’ up’ mode and into ‘To Have and to Hold’ mode! I’m just sayin’…

Finally, the long awaited monogrammed shrimp forks have made it onto the gift registry, and the seamstress for the bridesmaids dresses will finally get the last word on color choice: Blush or Bashful.  I for one am READY to hear some of those regal organ standards that make my eyes all misty, and furl a lovely bride’s gown and veil ‘just so’ as she heads down the aisle for her big moment!
This begins my sixth year serving as Wedding Coordinator at Oak Lawn UMC, and the tales that are being chronicled for my “book” have spanned the range from “You HAVE to be kidding me?!” to “I can’t even BEGIN to make this stuff up!”
Over the years, as the notches on my Wedding Coordinator Cummerbund have grown in number, I have gathered a few nuggets of wisdom and pearls of matrimonial caution that I would like to share with you, should YOU be the one left to ponder the consequences of forgetting to pick up the Mother of the Bride from the hotel, and no one realizing it until time to escort her down the aisle. True story. One of many. Crazy. Bizarre. I can’t make them up…
#1. Double check that the Mother of the Bride is actually at the church before signaling to the organist to begin the music to seat the parents. It makes for some long organ loops otherwise…
#2.  Do not show up to the Wedding Rehearsal drunk.  When the flower girl and the Wedding Coordinator are the only ones not reeking of Jack Daniel’s, it does not bode well for a productive evening.
#3. Florists who send extra corsages and boutonnieres are given bonus points and preferential treatment. Inevitably too few are delivered, and semi-inebriated groomsmen tend to encounter boutonniere breakage. Shocker!  In a pinch, I have crafted stunning corsages out of band-aides, duct tape, and freshly plucked boutonnieres from lapels of ushers for Mothers, step-mothers, jilted biological father’s girlfriends, and unexpected step-grandmothers just back from the defibrillator. I’ve even grabbed a handful of petals from the flower girls basket and transformed it into a lapel flower for a Father of the Bride in the time it took the flower girl to make it down the aisle.  All in a days work.
#4. It helps to know how to tap-dance…just in case.  Should by chance, your Pastor happens to be caught in “traffic” somewhere between home and the church, and you find this out 7 minutes before the wedding is scheduled to begin, it isn’t always in the Wedding Coordinator’s best interest to suggest the Pastor had left home in a more timely manner to avoid this catastrophe in timing. The risk that this thoughtful suggestion will not be taken in the helpful way it was intended, COULD cause the Pastor to HANG UP THE PHONE on the Wedding Coordinator 6 minutes before scheduled ceremony time.  At this point, the over wrought Wedding Coordinator is left to wonder if the Pastor is two blocks or two miles from the church?   Not a pretty situation to be in…not a pretty situation at all!!  Tap dancing to ensue…
#5.  Strangers will occasionally wander into your perfect storybook wedding.   Take for example one Homeless gent that came into the foyer of the church just as I was about to send one Bride down the aisle…here’s the winner of the “I can’t make this stuff up!”  Read on…
It is a standard occurrence for guests to arrive and wander into the church even when the couple is exiting the sanctuary, freshly married!  One wedding, just as the music was about to change for the Bride’s entry, that familiar “CREAK!!” of the old foyer doors opening had me beginning to mumble under my breath at the late arrivers. Instead, I turn around and am caught in midst chastise to find a homeless man with a most surprised look on his face, seeing a Bride and her father ready to head down the aisle.  In horror, I leap over the Bride’s train and inform the gentleman, pleasant smile on my face, that we are having a wedding and I am just about to send a beautiful bride down the aisle! If he wouldn’t mind, please wait RIGHT HERE and I will be back to assist him in just a few moments.
Fervent prayers are silently being HURLED (by me!) heavenward that this gentleman is not out of his ever loving gourd, or crazy as a bessie-bug..or both!  Lord, let him stay put and not wander in the sanctuary on the other side where it was unattended! Lord, let me stay calm!  Lord?  Did that man’s tee-shirt SAY WHAT I THINK IT SAID?!?  Yes, it did.  The man that was standing two feet behind this bride about to walk down the aisle, was wearing a tee-shirt that said the following, and I quote:  ‘ANATOMY OF A PERVERT.’
There was an illustration on the tee-shirt that wish I had been able to study that I assume was the answer to the age old question of exactly what ‘ANATOMY OF A PERVERT’ looks like.  After getting the bride ushered down the aisle, I rushed back to the foyer to find my unexpected wedding guest had disappeared.  After watching with a smile on his face as our bride entered the sanctuary to be married, with the thundering organ music as a backdrop, he apparently wandered on his way.  I always thought this could have been an “Angel unaware” and I was thankful to have been cordial and not pop a gasket as I was inclined at that particular moment. I wondered if that could have been Jesus peeking in the foyer door.  I thought Jesus might have chosen a different tee-shirt for the evening…  Just as the Bride was going down the aisle, she asked me who the man at the door was, I replied, “Oh, him?  He drops by for all our weddings!”

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