Friday, March 20, 2009

Isn't That Special?

Well! Those of you who were adamantly against a receiving line of any sort at the ceremony have got your wish. We met with the Church Lady last night.

She isn’t a bad lady – just . . . rigid. The Mister and I firmly believe that the ceremony is the single most important part of the wedding. Not the cake. Not the flowers. The vows. So we spent a lot of time tailoring the ceremony to reflect the realities of our families (my family mostly) and the depth of our relationship with each other and with God. Our meeting last night seems to indicate we’re the first people ever to do this at our church.

As a brief aside, this wedding isn’t the first time my family has switched things up a bit in the church to reflect the realities of a situation. I’ve mentioned before that my twin brother died eight years ago. Apparently, his funeral was the first in the church to openly acknowledge that the death was by suicide. Until then, people had just used the euphemism, “He died suddenly.” While it was certainly difficult to be that open, my family felt that it was the best way to help shine a light on the dark world of suicide by encouraging open discussion. It was the right decision for us.

So, back to the meeting with the Church Lady (“CL”). First, we spent some time explaining that we had a mixed bridal party. A woman (Super Tall Girl) and a man (my Mantron of Honor) will stand up on my side, and a man (the Mister’s brother) and a woman (the lady who introduced us) will stand up on the Mister’s side. CL kept calling my side, “The Girls.” My Mantron of Honor is very secure in his masculinity, so I’m not worried. But it cracks me up that he WORKS AT THE CHURCH, and she still wouldn’t recognize his role.

Next step: The Parents. I’ve got all kinds of ‘em. And I decided early on to treat everybody as equals. This has caused no end of friction. In fact, I haven’t blogged about it, because it’s too delicate an issue. But trust me. This is important. CL wanted my stepmother to be seated before the ceremony began, rather than with the family. And she paled visibly when I said that both my father and stepdad were going to walk me down the aisle. Um, I know that traditionally there was no role for the stepparents. But that’s when it was traditional to have only one set of parents. My parents divorced when I was six. My stepparents have contributed immeasurably to raising me. They WILL NOT be treated as second class citizens. Not now. Not on the wedding day. Not ever. ‘Nuff said.

The Mister lost his temper when CL told him that, “There is no photography during the wedding ceremony.” He called the rule rude (I think he was going to say bulls**t), and got all red in the face. CL then softened this unequivocal statement by adding that the photographer can take photos from the choir loft without a flash. I pointed out the futility of the rule, since tons of guests bring cameras and take photos (with flash) throughout the ceremony. But I got over it. And the Mister fumed. On to the last issue.

When we asked about leaving the church after the ceremony, CL informed us that the church “doesn’t permit receiving lines” of any kind. Including releasing the rows. Whaaa? We go to the fanciest-schmantziest church in the city, where everything is too, too proper, and receiving lines are verboten? Seriously? Miss Manners would have a conniption.

Fortunately, the Mister, our minister, and I had been discussing a receiving line alternative over the past week or so, whereby we would release the rows of guests as they go to communion. This would allow us to see every guest even more quickly than a receiving line, because it would be during the ceremony. And the guests would be asked to respect the sanctity of communion by remaining silent. This is perhaps the newest idea we’ve had so far. Plenty of people have had mixed bridal parties and stepparents participating in the ceremony. Maybe not in our church, but they’re not uncommon these days. But releasing the rows for communion – now that’s different.

CL didn’t attempt to hide her disdain. “Leaving the front of the sanctuary during the service? Well . . . that’s just . . . wrong!” And so, our minister came to the rescue. She suggested that the Mister and I stand near where people came forward to take communion, so we could smile at each person. It’s the perfect compromise (and the quickest receiving line option in the universe).

So all you anti-receiving line folks out there, you got your wish. And all I’ve got to say about it is, “Well, isn’t that special?”


skatej said...

Gracious...I've heard of churches refusing to play anything other than sacred music during a ceremony and my dad and I have shot a few weddings where we could only take pictures without flash from the choir loft...and that was when we brought out the big lenses! Usually we ended up having to re-enact the ceremony for posterity. When I go to weddings as a guest, I don't like to use flash anymore because I feel rude.

Sorry for the lurker post. I've been following your posts a little for awhile.

My word verification is "layerses," which is what I imagine Golumn telling us is the perfect fashion choice for this weather.

Anonymous said...

I have to say - I am beyond thrilled at the way you are treating your stepparents and handling that entire situation.

As a stepmother I am often apprehensive about school functions, graduations, etc. in regards to the child who I consider my son. I have been an active part of his life since he was 2 years old - if he chooses to marry I hope that I am treated with as much respect and love as you are treating your "step" parents.

Good for you, and good for all four of your parents for raising you to be such a good person!