THIS EPISODE OF THE REV. KNOW IT ALL IS EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE. IT IS NOT
ABOUT YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW. PLEASE READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE. THE REV. KNOW
IT ALL IS NOT OPPOSED TO ALL WEDDING CELEBRATIONS. HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT
YOUR WEDDING WHICH WAS A TRIUMPH OF PERSONAL SANCTITY AND GOOD TASTE. HE
IS PROBABLY JUST HAVING A BAD DAY.
Dear Rev. Know-It-All,
I visited your church once and am thinking
about having my wedding there. How long is your main aisle?
I am often asked that question, and never
quite understand it. Are brides curious about the length of the aisle because
they think a longer aisle may give them a few more minutes to back out
of the whole thing? Or, as I suspect, does a long aisle prolong the glorious
promenade of which a young girl dreams as she thumbs through bridal magazine
as she contemplates her special day, when all eyes focus on her as she
approaches her enchanted prince and all the world thinks she’s gorgeous
and knows that she has bagged her man just as surely as a Wisconsin bricklayer
bags a deer and ties it onto the roof of his pick up truck? I have certainly
seen a few grooms who look like a frightened deer caught in the headlights
of an oncoming truck.
Why is it that weddings cause people to
spend so much time, energy and money? And more money. The average American
wedding costs almost $29,000, according to “The Wedding Report”, a
market research publication. $29,000!” Oh, by the by, the usual
donation to the church is about $200.00. That $200 goes to the church,
not to the priest. The usual gift to the priest is a hearty handclasp.
The usual cost of the photographer is $2,000.00. All this tells me that
the photographs are ten times more important than the grace of the sacrament,
in most peoples’ estimation. The usual fee for the DJ is $1,500.00. I
am consoled by this. It means that painful, occasionally obscene music
loud enough to cause brain damage is only seven-and-one-half times more
important than the grace of the sacrament.
You must be thinking why is this guy so
down on weddings? I am down on some weddings because I am very “up”
on the sacrament of matrimony and really in favor of marriage. That’s
why the modern method of marrying and the wedding industry make me crazy.
They militate against marriage. Here is the heart of my complaint. IT
IS STUPID TO SPEND MORE TIME AND MONEY PREPARING FOR THE WEDDING THAN YOU
DO PREPARING FOR THE MARRIAGE!!! I have known people who are
still paying the credit card bills generated by the wedding years after
the marriage is over.
The Modern Method of Marriage, a Reprise.
The following is taken from my own experiences and things people have told
me (outside of confession, you’ll be glad to know.) Here goes:
A young man and a young woman meet and
have a few dates. They go for a weekend at a bed and breakfast where they
bed one another, and then have breakfast. If he isn’t too much of a jerk
and she isn’t too picky, they are then an item. She goes to the doctor
gets a prescription and goes on to a more permanent form of birth control.
At some time during this stage, the uncomfortable meeting with the parents
happens. Everyone is polite and “supportive.” Secretly the father of
the young woman who knows exactly what’s going on, contemplates buying
a gun and the mother of the young man begins gossiping with whomever will
listen about how her little boy could do better. After a while, if things
hold up, they begin to have the conversation about taking their relationship
to the “next level” by which they mean shacking up, as we used to call
it. Now, I think it’s called moving in together.
Mom and Dad buy housewarming gifts in an
attempt to, once again, be supportive. They don’t want their little dears
to hate them and besides, it’s what everyone is doing these days, so
it can’t be wrong. They have vague thoughts about getting married at
that point and mom explains to grandma and to friends at church that they
are just doing it to save money for the wedding. At this stage an engagement
ring may appear. At some point, when they think about getting the house
and the kids, because that’s what you do, they decide to have the wedding.
They rent the hall and then go see the priest. He tells them there are
four other weddings that day and they respond, “but we’ve rented the
hall already.” Someone suggests a garden wedding if the church is occupied.
The priest says we can’t do garden weddings. (More on this later.) The
young couple begins to complain about how narrow-minded the Church is with
all these rules and regulations. They eventually pick a date. Then the
bottom drops out. It seems the groom is not Catholic. He was baptized in
the First Reformed Church of the Druids, though he never practiced. This
means there must be a dispensation for the marriage, another irritating
Catholic invention, and the wedding date cannot be confirmed until the
dispensation is received. The bride goes back to her doctor, this time
for a prescription for valium. Her mother joins her on this visit. Finally
the dispensation is granted, The groom’s druid will do one of the readings
at the wedding, the loans are taken out, the banns are published. Then
there is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The best man comes to the
rehearsal drunk out of his mind, the groom only slightly tipsy. The bride
is furious at everyone for some reason known to her alone. Probably
because the groom is far more interested in drinking and watching the football
game on his hand held computer thing than he is in gazing lovingly into
her eyes in anticipation of the great day. In fact they haven’t been,
well... friendly in weeks. It is, after all, football season.
The special day comes, the best man is
still drunk, the groom is hung over, no one knew about that interesting
tattoo that the maid of honor had way low on her back, now revealed by
the plunging back of her dress that is held up only by wishful thinking.
Grandma, upon reading the logo of the maid of honor’s tattoo, has fainted.
Somewhere in all this the vows are exchanged, and quite a few of the wedding
party receive their first Holy Communion that day, however one of the ushers
puts the host in his suit pocket not having a clue what it is. (This actually
has happened to me twice.) The pictures have been taken. The noise level
in the church reaches that of an English soccer match after the riot has
broken out. The children are jumping off the altar and the priest is scowling
at everyone. Now on to the pictures in the forest preserve, a “must”
at every wedding. There the wedding party is attacked by mosquitoes, one
of the children falls into the lagoon and the bride is having a hard time
smiling for the photos. The best man passes out. On to the reception.
The bride loses it because the shade of
fuchsia in the floral center pieces clashes with the shade of fuchsia in
the wedding party’s outfit. The groom adjourns to the bar where the game
is on the television. The wedding dinner is served as music is played at
a mind numbing volume. Grandma is better now. She has turned off her hearing
aid. The priest is seated with the pious relatives in plaid suit coats
and leaves shortly after the grace before meals. The best man makes the
toast which drones on about how he loves the groom and one begins to wonder.
The college roommate/maid of honor does the same for the bride, going on
for fifteen minutes about how she knew the bride would find eternal marital
bliss the moment she met her in the third grade and they have been like
sisters ever since. Then at some point, there is a video presentation of
embarrassing photos not unlike the ones that are now shown at wakes. The
bar opens up again. The music reaches levels that cause blood to drip from
some peoples’ nose and ears. The joyous event ends with the bride and
groom being the last to leave the hall. They are slow to go up to the room
they have rented in the hotel because nothing new or beautiful awaits them
there. The groom promptly falls asleep, being heavily sedated already,
and, as he snores away, with his shoes still on, our blushing bride, having
shed her dress of virginal white, thinks back on this day, her special
day, the most important day in her life, the day she has dreamt of since
she was a little girl. They will stay an extra day at the hotel, but cannot
afford the time or money to go on a honeymoon because on Monday they will
both be back at work in order to pay off the colossal bill that their special
day has incurred. For some reason, the bride is depressed. Perhaps she
is realizing that the high point of her life is now past and the rest of
it will be spent with the lump that is now snoring beside her with whom
she has never really had a serious conversation, except about the proper
shade of fuchsia for the floral centerpieces. So it is that we celebrate
the marriage of Christ and His Church in these enlightened and tolerant
Remember, none of these things happened
at your wedding, thank God and don’t think from reading this that I am
down on marriage or even weddings. I love a wedding celebration when there
is something to celebrate. Also, it is never too late to begin again by
taking Christ and His gospel seriously.
PLEASE SPEND MORE
TIME AND MONEY PREPARING FOR THE MARRIAGE THAN YOU DO PREPARING FOR THE
Garden weddings: They look good in all the bridal magazines
but they are just opportunities to feed biting insects and suffer from
sunburn. It is however amusing to watch the bridesmaids sinking in the
mud as they try, after a few margaritas to maneuver the newly laid sod
in spiked heals. The bride is generally exhausted from not having slept
for three weeks as she worries about the weather reports which are promising
a 50 percent chance of typhoons and earthquakes that day. And destination
weddings. Don’t get me started on Destination Weddings! You want to be
married with just your closest friends on a beach in Maui. That means that
Grandma can’t go because she hasn’t flown since the Hindenburg Disaster,
and is thinking of cutting you out of the will, and all the friends and
relatives who aren’t with you on the beach in Maui realize they aren’t
very close to you after all. And I haven’t a clue how long the aisle
is here at St. Dymphna’s.
Don't you just
The Modern Method of Marriage, a Reprise