BEFORE YOU READ THIS AND JUDGE THIS
PLEASE RECALL THAT IN A FORMER LIFE
I WAS A WEDDING DIRECTOR FOR 12 YEARS
& THOUGH I HAD SOME PRETTY WILD WEDDINGS
THIS ONE WOULD HAVE MADE ME SCREAM OUT LOUD
So several months ago I was with the NSO (you'll have to go far back to learn about him) and he said M found a girl and he's getting married 30 June. I said oh, is this one legal? His last GF was a college student from France who wanted a ring, an education and a green card and a pilot's license. Nope, this one is divorced and has 3 adult sons. Ok, sounds promising, and she's got 2 corgis and tattoos. Can't be all bad?
Time passed. Date got closer. "Do you want to sing in a volunteer choir? He wants to have all this music sung and for free." Hmmm. Well let's see the music. Gets to the week before the wedding, still no music, and the word is that he's written several pieces that he wants, no make that, demands to be performed and the people who have seen them say they are unsingable.
I finally get to see the invitation, two sheets of computer printouts with instructions. I can see saving money. But they could have sprung for invitation paper, just a little step up on the class ladder.
So the day arrives and we drive to the wedding location. A huge imposing Gothic structure on Wilshire Blvd near downtown LA, with a lovely old organ. Score that a good mark. Various sundry folks wandering around. Vocalizing being heard. I bowed out, I love to sing but my sight reading is not up to par on hard music. The NSO wanders up and gets to work, I just wander. I went to the front of the church and picked up a bulletin, but didn't see the extra song sheet. Ah another trip to the front of the church and there they were, along with little bottles of bubbles to blow.
[This is one thing I heartily approve of, rice was nasty to clean up, bird seed meant bird crap but bubbles are just plain fun.]
Back to the sanctuary, things are getting close. There are guys in morning coats wandering around (4 PM wedding), wearing Converse All Stars and chewing gum. 4 o'clock came and went. There were Gregorian chants being played prior to the start and that was comforting which proved to be the only thing that was.
It was 10 pages long. Mostly readings and some responses for the congregation. 1 congregational song that was not singable. Music was to be sung in a loft that was not amplified, and one song that the choir had to troop back down to the piano to sing that was not legible to anyone unless you were in the front row.
Omitted from the program were:
The names of the Maid of Honor
2 Flower Girls
Parents of the Bride.
Groomsmen ( the sons of the bride)
The Reader and the name of the Officiant.
Organist and Choir Director
I found that disrespectful to all involved.
- The Wedding Ceremony
- So on we go:
- 1 Call to Marriage (from loft)
- Grand Procession
- 1 Call the Worship (from loft)
- Celebrant speaks of service
- Hymn written by groom who has never had a class in theory
- Beginning of service
- Kyrie from Rheinberger Mass, downstairs at the piano
- More back and forth from Officiant
- *** Basically this was an Episcopal service written out***
- 3 pages of readings.
- Page 4 was the exchange of vows and rings.
- Though there was a mic nothing was heard.
- 1 short reading from the Song of Solomon.
- Pages 5-8 was the
- Great Thanksgiving Liturgy (all read)
- Communion was offered, 15 people went. There was some awkwardness when the officiant said the congregation is invited to commune after the wedding party and the choir. However the choir is singing during communion:
- Bogoroditse Devo from Vespers by Rachmaninov
- Lords Prayer recited by congregation.
- Lords Prayer sung by choir.
- Post communion prayers.
- Blessing of marriage.
- Announcement of Couple
- Sevenfold Amen
- (as this was being sung the wedding party left
- someone got their signals crossed on that one.)
- Recessional was the Toccata from Symphony V by Widor.
Whew......started at 415 and ended at 545. And through the entire ceremony the groomsmen, maid of honor and groom chewed gum.
We followed the noise to the reception, canned music way too loud to offer any semblance of a chance of conversation with the people you were seated with. The hors d'oeuvres were basic finger food, salsa chips, empanadas, flautas and water. The main dish hadn't even arrived and the servers had no idea what it was going to be. We made an executive decision, because it was close to 6 and the photos were still being taken. We made an exit.
Ok you say, it was a wedding and it wasn't perfect. I guess I'm stodgy and a bit old fashioned about how a ceremony should proceed. If there aren't mikes upstairs get them some. You plan this wedding around these lovely pieces of music and then no one can hear them. Pick music that your volunteer choir of friends can sing....not some obscure slavic piece, recognize they are doing this out of friendship and love for you. Give them some recognition. You pick and choose together and don't throw every thing you've ever read in to make an 1 1/2 hour service in an un air-conditioned cathedral church. Give the bride some say in how she wants this wedding, even though it's your first and her second.
I doubt if I will spend any time with the happy couple unless it's an absolute necessity. I wish them health, happiness and a wonderful life together.
The bunny who's glad she's out of the wedding business.