wedding frustrations.

4 Aug
Weddings have me frustrated these days.  Theologically, culturally, socially … I’m confused and not quite sure about a lot of things.  This is in no regard to myself having a wedding [loooong way off, folks] but rather in regards to doing weddings.  Recall with me [least you forget after my million+one blog posts about it] that I was ordained a few weeks ago.  Pastor Lindsay here.  With the office of pastor is the state recognizing that I can perform wedding ceremonies legally.  Perfect, because I have one to perform this coming Saturday.
I’m finding it to be a fine line – a fine line with complicated turns and steep confusion.  I love it that family and friends ask me to be a part of their weddings in this way as an officiant or preacher.  I love being involved in their day, especially when it does not require me purchasing a $200 dress, $60 shoes, and paying for $80 alterations on an outfit I’ll never wear again.  [Been there, done that and it was fun.  But in my current unemployed state, not purchasing a dress is fine by me!]  But sometimes I wonder if I’m asked to do the ceremony because I’m the easy route and likely the cheap route.  That’s one complication but then theology and culture begin to meld together in interesting ways – ways that, frankly, make me uncomfortable as a pastor.  
I’m called to be a pastor and feel strongly that to marry people is done in a service of praise.  We praise God for the love that He first gives to us, and for the love the we are called to share with others.  We praise God and we make promises before God.  Not only the wedding couple, either, is responsible to uphold their promises to each other, but the assembly gathered promises to lift up the couple in support and prayer.  A wedding is a service of praise and thanksgiving; it is a worship service.  
I’m not quite sure what to do when the couples that I marry – those whom are friends and in my family and whom I love dearly – don’t agree with this approach to the wedding ceremony.  I’m not quite sure what to do when they ask for God language to be removed and for prayers to be few or even completely absent.  I don’t know what to suggest when they don’t want the readings to come from Scripture or how to address the urgency to just get the ceremony over because the party is to follow.  And just because I can doesn’t mean I feel it’s right to just go out and marry people – I think that pre-marital counseling and thoughtful planning [other than just the dress and menu] needs to be considered.  I never dreamed I would feel so conflicted when I agreed [happily and readily!] to do these weddings.
I’m just confused.  Like I said, I’m honored that they asked me to be a part of their day and I’m happy to help them in this way.  But I’m torn between pleasing them and their wants in a wedding service to my convictions in faith of what a wedding really is and my call as a pastor.  Is my job to help them plan the ceremony they want?  That’s where I’ve landed right now, and I think I’ve landed there because, well, it’s easiest.  Not being a part of a church quite yet and with the couples being close friends/family, I feel it’s my duty to go along with whatever they desire.  But to me, that kinda feels like cheating.  Cheating God, cheating the office of pastor, or cheating the couple – I’m not sure.  Likely a bit of all of those.
Culture is no help in this regard.  It’s the show of the wedding and then the reception that is the focus.  The wedding industry makes little profit on the religiosity, order of service, or anything else that directly deals with the details of the actual service.  The focus is on the dress, the decor, and the cake.  I’m all for pretty weddings and fancy receptions if you really want to pay for it, but the ceremony and the promises made before God and the loved ones gathered is the reason for it all.  Can’t we put a little more thought, energy, and time into the meaning of the day?  [It’s like the fight over Christmas all over again …]
If anything, this wedding planning and officiating is making me more aware and prepared as I will come up against this year after year when doing weddings.  [But I also feel I will have more authority to address it as a pastor in a church.]  It is also helping me think about my own far-far-off wedding that may perhaps happen someday.  Wedding industry be damned – I vow to not buy into it when it’s my turn.  It’s not for me, and, honestly, the whole of it makes me angry.  It also helps me to understand what I’ve heard muttered from many pastor’s lips and why many would say they’d rather do a funeral than a wedding.  [Not that funerals are good or happy that someone has died … but you know what I mean.  Right?]
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One Response to “wedding frustrations.”

  1. Erin Teresa August 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    YES

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