It is now June and our thoughts have turned to weddings….
On the whole, weddings are unpleasant. Weddings make normally calm and generally nice people turn into rude, inconsiderate, unkind, self-absorbed, crazy versions of themselves. With a few exceptions, we cannot stand weddings. They are to be survived, not enjoyed. A bright resourceful pastor will keep several maps stapled to clear directions to the nearest courthouse in his desk to hand out to prospective brides and grooms at the first hint of trouble. Weddings don’t have to take place in a church, so if the couple is just looking for a space in which to hold a wedding, the prepared pastor can point out that the state has kindly provided just what they need.
If a couple cannot be dissuaded from holding the ceremony in the church, there should be some guidelines. Keeping in mind that a wedding is not only a hassle for the pastor, but also for the musician(s), janitor, secretary, and altar guild, we propose something like the following be given to the happy couple at an early premarital counseling session (preferably the first one, which may fortuitously turn out to also be the last one):
As potential bride and groom, you must both agree to ALL conditions listed for each affected member of the staff and volunteers of St. Spener Lutheran Church:
1) There is a $150 fee for performing the ceremony and putting up with you and your obnoxious relatives and friends.
2) The fee will be paid at the beginning of rehearsal by cash or cashier’s check, or Pastor will not show up for the ceremony.
3) Unless you know Pastor well, don’t invite him to the reception.
4) Really, it’s ok; he has better things to do and won’t be offended.
5) Pastor and musician(s) will approve all music selections.
6) The rite will be the one in the hymnal.
7) Congregational songs will be from the hymnal.
1) There is a $150 fee for time, skill, and mental anguish caused by dealing with your terrible taste in music and your lack of knowledge about what is appropriate in a Lutheran church.
2) All music must be approved by musician(s) and Pastor.
3) To save you some time: no country, no show tunes, no CCM
4) All music will be chosen at least twenty-one days prior to the wedding with no changes allowed once selections have been agreed upon by all parties.
5) Musician(s) will be paid at the beginning of rehearsal by cash or cashier’s check, or he/she/they will not show up for the ceremony.
6) He/She/They definitely have better things to do than go to your reception, like practice for Sunday’s Divine Service.
7) He/She/They will NOT purchase music just for your wedding. You will provide legally obtained sheet music if the musician(s) do(es) not already own a piece you would like to use (provided it passes review by the Pastor and musician(s)).
8) He/She/They reserve the right to carry and make use of a hip flask of the alcohol of his/her/their choice from the moment the rehearsal begins until the last note of the recessional is played at the ceremony.
1) Don’t call the church office with stupid questions.
2) The secretary will make wedding bulletins for you at a price of $5/bulletin.
3) If that’s too steep, do it yourself.
1) There is a fee of $50 for cleaning the church after the ceremony, provided cleaning takes less than one hour.
2) This fee will be paid at the beginning of rehearsal by cash or cashier’s check, or you will be cleaning up after yourselves and your guests.
3) Extra mess = extra time = extra cash and a future bill, so be clean.
4) Don’t leave children or groomsmen unattended, especially in the restrooms.
5) If you leave it behind, and the janitor finds it, he/she keeps it.
6) No throwing things: rice, confetti, beer bottles, etc.
1) There is a $50 fee for each altar guild member present for setting up and removing wedding kneeler.
2) This fee also covers the inconvenience of having to come later on Saturday to set up for Sunday’s Divine Service.
3) The fee will be paid by cash or cashier’s check at the beginning of rehearsal, or we will let the whole town know what a pair of ingrates you are.