November 15, 2007

New Wedding Wineskins

I like to look ahead, to think "outside the box" as they tell us. Here's an example, my new plan for the church celebration of marriage.

My idea is to model the celebration of marriage on the celebration of funerals. This is because funerals run like a well-oiled machine, while wedding planning and execution is full of pitfalls and potential tears and disaster.

Here's how it goes: When a couple decides to get married, they are immediately taken to the "wedding home," modeled on the classic funeral home. There they are sat down in the front of a parlor where everyone can come and congratulate them. Their family and close friends also sit close by where they can be greeted and congratulated. This part is modeled on the wake, of course.

At some point the priest shows up and offers them a special blessing. He then asks them if there are any particular readings or music they would like for their wedding, to which they respond, "Oh Father, we just decided to get married this morning, we can't think about that right now...we're sure you will pick out something appropriate." This step alone will reduce the annual professional wear and tear on clergy and organists by approximately three hundred percent, and will free up enough time, in the words of Charles Merrill Smith, "to learn several Biblical languages and write a two-volume commentary on the book of Habbakuk."*

"Ok," says the priest, "I'll see you guys in the morning."

The next day--this all happens fast, so as to avoid any time to think up any problems--the happy bride and groom are strapped into a kind of float that can be driven to church and rolled up the aisle to the altar. This device, which I haven't exactly been able to envision yet, is analogous to the casket, of course. Being strapped in ensures that the bride will show up on time, for one thing, and also reduces the ability to make outrageous last minute demands. It also obviates the need for a rehearsal.

Then the nuptial service or Mass can proceed according to the current ritual. At then end, the newly married couple is wheeled out of church, where they can be released for pictures, cocktail hour, and dinner.

*This silly post is actually an imitation of this hilarious book by Smith.

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