Monday, June 16, 2008

Angry Lutheran Weddings

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.

Altar Guild:

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.


David said...

Brilliant satire. Well done!

elephantschild said...

Whew! We passed!

When I married my husband almost 12 years ago, we worked hard to make sure that our wedding was tasteful, respectful and proclaimed Christ in the service.

It was economical, too.

Anonymous said...

Only $50 for the janitor?! Elitist.

Angry Lutherans said...

Note what it says: it's $50 "provided cleaning takes less than one hour". More time = a bigger bill. At an hourly rate, the janitor may make out better than everyone else involved, except maybe the altar guild.


P.S. an after-thought said...

Hardly satire, I'd say. About 15 - 20 years ago, our church did a survey of all the churches in our area and then set fees higher than the other churches. They were tired of "rent a church" weddings that didn't respect the churchy meaning and traditions.

I'm not sure if they stuck by those fees, but I know that they've looked at having a person paid to deal with the details so the pastor doesn't have to do so.

At my daughter's wedding in another city, there was a $100 fee for the person who looked after the details. She happened to be the secretary, but it wouldn't have to be. She had to give up some evening time to meet with the couple as well as be there the day of the wedding. She even steamed the wrinkles out of our pastor's robe, since he had traveled to be there. She was a friend of the groom's family, but that didn't make any difference; she was working.

I think that a church/pastor needs to realize and set boundaries so that they can realize whatever philosophy they decide to set at that church. And one of those is that people who are working are worth paying. A friend of mine who has sung at weddings demands payment before she leaves because she has learned the hard way. She says that sometimes it is off the radar screen of the bride and groom , resulting in the groomsmen digging in their pockets to get some cash!

Sr. Kate said...

There’s at least one loophole you forgot to close: “The wedding party must be composed of human beings.” The best man at one WELS wedding I attended was a German shepherd. (Who knows, though? Perhaps they had to supply the janitor with a pooper scooper.)

Angry Lutherans said...

Sr. Kate,

I sure hope that German shepherd was a WELS member!

Animals are ok as long as they're in fellowship.

Another Kerner said...

Sr. Kate....

As a breeder,trainer, exhibitor of German Shepherd Dogs in the Sport of Purebred dogs, not one of my animals has been to a wedding.
Not even beloved Adolphus (named after the Lion of the North).

I can train my animals to run down and get the newspaper, but I can teach them to read it.
I tried reading the Book of Concord to them, to no avail.

I can't teach my cat to bake a cake either.

However, when folks come to pick out a puppy for their own, I *do* tell them that the pup is Confessional Lutheran.

Sr. Kate said...

Well, at least he was German.

elephantschild said...

Can you train him to be a "heresy sniffer?"

That would be cool. Of course, most churches don't allow dogs in the pews, so he'd have to go undercover as a seeing eye dog.

Anonymous said...

As a church musician, I just started saying that I charged $400 to play for weddings, and if you had a singer, it would cost you another $200. I haven't had to play any weddings in quite some time.

Anonymous said...

I have a topic suggestion. Sorry to post in the wedding thread--but I didn't know how else to get this to you all.

I asked this question to the WELS Q&A and they refused to publish it on their site for vague reasons--but they did answer it. I thought you all might find it interesting:

We have answered your question on WELS Topical Q&A but decided not to post it to the system for others to view it. This may be on account of the topic being too private and sensitive, or perhaps this questioned has already been asked. Your question and our response follows.

You asked:

Who watches over the District President? I know that the District Presidents are to uphold doctrine and practice in their District--but who is holding them in account? They are, after all--sinful men who will sin (as all humans do). Is there a check and balance system? And if there is a check and balance system--is it objective? I think it would be safe to assume that men who have known each other for years may find it hard to be objective about their friends/brothers. I searched the WELS website and could not find a procedure on what to do when a District President sins against someone and refuses to acknowledge the person he injured. Any insight on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

This is our reply:

Ultimately, the members of the district which elected the district president "watch over" the district president through their election of the president every two years. In addition, if the district president is accused of wrong-doing, the district constitution says, "The two district vice presidents with the concurrence of the district circuit pastors may suspend the district president from his office. the president shall have 60 days thereafter to appeal the suspension. If there is no appeal within 60 days, the action shall be final, and the president shall be removed from office. If the president appeals, the appeal will be heard by the District Board of Appeals."

One would pray that when it comes to correct doctrine or practice, Christian friends or brothers can overlook personal relationships and do what is necessary to uphold the truth of God's Word.

Another Kerner said...


That's a great idea. I'm sorry I didn't think of it.

Although Adolphus guards and herds (he has a herding title), I may just incorporate, as part of his training, a daily session of reading the Angry Lutherans blog to him.

The Angry Lutherans are doing a pretty good job of sniffing out possible heresies.

Luther says, as regards the sheep and the wolves:

"The wolf can readily tolerate a good pasture for the sheep. He likes them better for their fatness.
But what he cannot endure is the hostile bark of the dogs."

Like all confessional Lutherans, we should keep on barking.

Less wagging, more barking.

Angry Lutherans said...

Hi Anonymous of the WELS Q & A,

I see Bailing Water has already picked up on your...well, I don't know what to call that. I guess it's an answer, sort of.


Lutheran Lucciola said...

God help me, I will never get more Italians into the faith....;-)