To Have and to Hold (and to Serve Six) | Sojourners

To Have and to Hold (and to Serve Six)

When wedding bells ring, don't forget the jello.

JUNE IS A special month, particularly for families celebrating ... uhm ... something. I forget. Fortunately, ever since I read a study suggesting that cholesterol-lowering statins can cause problems with ... with ... word retrieval, I realize now it has nothing to do with getting old, which many people my age are getting these days. It’s because I’m just another victim of an unscrupulous drug industry. (Drug company lawyer: “I understand that you think you took our drug, sir, but how can you be sure?”)

But now I remember why June is special: Our oldest daughter is getting married this month, and I can use our cover story as a reminder that I’m probably supposed to do something to help out. Although darned if I can remember what it is.

My daughter’s won’t be a gay marriage, which is trending this year, but it will be an alternative wedding, one of those nontraditional celebrations that doesn’t require me to dress up and “give away” the bride. (If I was going to give her away, I should have done it well before the wedding bills started coming in.) There’ll be no church to rent and no preacher to pay. The ceremony will be outside, probably in a tent, and we already have one of those. (It sleeps four. Nice size for an intimate gathering, if people don’t mind stooping during the service.)

The problem is that she wants to invite a lot of friends and family, an inclination that has always puzzled me about marriage ceremonies. A wedding is a sacred ritual between two people, an intimate, spiritual moment of connection that shouldn’t be ruined by a bunch of other people sticking their noses in. Why have a ceremony at all? Why not just get married, say, in the back of a van, on the way to the honeymoon?  Or just go to the DMV or whatever government office has the forms that the clerk could ceremoniously—and no doubt with tears in her eyes—slide across the counter to be signed. I could quietly sing a romantic tune in the background to set the tone, and to block out the loudspeaker announcing the next available window. And then they’d be done. Heck, you don’t even have to get a blood test any more, although since they’re marrying in Virginia, they may need to prove they own a handgun. If they can’t, one will be provided for them.

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