Sunday, September 09, 2007

Stephanie & James

Weddings are not my favorite events. There is too much pressure to "keep up with the Joneses," the couple are often in this fog that keeps them from being truly present in the moment, and just about everyone has unrealistic expectations. So usually, I'm not crazy about them. And if it involves planning or conducting the service with someone else, it drops another notch or two or ten on my satisfaction meter.

We're in upstate NY for a friends wedding and it had every possibility of being a mess. It was hot and humid. Nobody involved lived where the service was taking place. It was a joint service with a Roman Catholic priest (the theological and liturgical differences can be insurmountable). Family came from all over the world and had competing expectations. The couple recently moved from Santa Barbara to D.C. for work and had their own mix of tensions.

Because nobody was from the place where the wedding happened (long involved story there), folk were imported for just about every piece. The priest and I both came from Santa Barbara, CA. The gospel singers in the wedding drove down from Albany. The musicians at the reception came from Boston. The florist was local and the caterer was local. Parents came from Florida and London. More & more possibilities for something to go wrong...

At the same time, James and Stephanie are wonderful people, mature enough to know what they're doing, and, even though they are as different as they could possibly be, they fit together like hand in glove. Their relationship had been tested by James being in Afghanistan for a year and had come out stronger and more solid than before.

Well... it was one of those wonderful weddings where everything fell in place and the service, with all of its disparate parts, worked. The bride glowed but it wasn't the glow of ignorance, it was the glow of love tested and found true. James looked into her eyes and was lost in the joy of commitment and discovery of a future filled with wonder, surprise, and grace. The choir was wonderful. The liturgical traditions connected well. It was a wonderful celebration for friends and family as we came together from all over the world and poured out love and support for the couple.

Congratulations James and Stephanie! May your life together be filled with love and may all of the hopes and dreams you hold and we hold for you be filled full.

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