God Versus Instagram

, , , , , , , | Working | January 30, 2019

(As a Navy chaplain stationed nearby, I have been asked to do a wedding at a church in Coronado, a rather ritzy suburb of San Diego and home of the famous Hotel Del. The couple are quite well to do, their parents VERY well to do, and they want the perfect wedding and reception. To ensure it, they’ve paid for the perfect wedding coordinator. At the rehearsal the day before the wedding, this coordinator makes it clear that she is very much in charge, and starts organizing the wedding party, lining people up for the procession, etc. I am happy enough to let her do her thing, until, as I am walking the wedding party through the service itself, which will include a Nuptial Mass, she starts to challenge me.)

Wedding Coordinator: “No, we can’t have them kneeling at the rail with their backs to the congregation; it won’t look right in the photos.”

Wedding Coordinator: “No, when they exchange the rings, they should face the congregation, so it can be seen.”

Wedding Coordinator: “No… this.” and “No… that.”  

(Each time, I patiently instruct the couple and the bridal party to do it my way. Finally, she screams at me that I am interfering with her job, that she is a professional and knows what will work best, and that she will instruct the wedding party to do it HER way. I finally lose it.)

Me: “Ma’am, we are talking about a Sacrament of the Church, one which isn’t about getting the perfect pictures but about binding a man and woman together in Holy Matrimony. Outside the church, before the service or at the reception, you are in charge. Once they come into the church, then I am. Can you live with that?”

(She can’t, and again starts giving me orders.)

Me: “Ma’am, if you insist on being in charge of what happens during the Nuptial Mass, I wish you luck. I can have no part of it.”

(I start to gather my gear to leave.)

Wedding Coordinator: “What are you doing? You can’t leave! The wedding is tomorrow!”

Me: “True, but I won’t be here for it.”

Wedding Coordinator: “You can’t do that!”

Me: “And how do you mean to stop me?”

(She caved. I walked the party through the rehearsal again, while she glowered in a rear pew. The next day the wedding went off without a hitch, and the bride and her mother were very happy. The wedding coordinator was paid over $5,000, plus expenses. The photographer was paid as much. I was given a $100 honorarium in an envelope by the groom, and got to eat at the reception — at the table with the elderly aunts!)

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