Marriage , eh!
It always surprises me a little to see couples still getting married, particularly when they have been a couple for years, with children, and a divorce or two in their background. Alas! it seems marriage still hold a lure for some in spite of Life's cynical reality. Too harsh? Well my cynical view of reality anyway.
The last census of Canada saw the number of people just living together ,"without benefit or clergy" or at least a government license, is greater than the number of people married. This new reality is particularly true in Quebec, once of fortress of the French Catholic church. This fact,says volumes of the profound nature of the quiet revolution in that province.
This past weekend, I went and officiated at a wedding in a town near here, as I do occasionally when asked and the couple can find me. I looked around the hall of Le Club Calumet, a francaphone social club and thought how typical this wedding is for me to be asked to be part of.
It is a wedding on the cheap for a couple already in fact married, with children. They feel some deep seated reason to formalize their wedding in a more or less traditional way. This in spite of Canada having the institution of "common law marriage". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common-law_marriage They lack funds and access to a church for while most are nominally Catholics divorce seems to still bar the door of the church to them. So I get tagged!
There are a few local halls around that can be used for a wedding. Besides Le Club Calumet, there is the Legion, the Knights of Columbus and an old school used as a community center. They are all the same: dreary with a bar at one side and pool tables or meal tables that need to be pushed aside and hidden in some way.
The hall is then decorated with chincey materials including the , oh so necessary, arch before which, or under which, the ceremony is to take place. I find these halls depressing, dark and smelling like stale beer. The are particularly dreary when early arrivals order themselves a beer from the bar which never seems to be closed. It is all very low brow. The whole affair and setting lack any real style.
When meeting with the couple ahead of time, I give my "best wedder planner" advice, ( not asked for but give) for I know what is coming and what works and does not work. My advice is ignored! I try to assure them that the wedding does not have to be grand to be done with style, meaning and some elegance. They assure me that is what they want but invariably cobble together ideas and elements suggested by friends and family that make it a faux affair, a poor imitation of a church wedding: recorded music, processional, recessional, little boy with rings on pillow, little girl with flowers and small version of bridesmaids dress. etc. The wedding I just did had all these. What struck me as novel was the child's "walker play table" set by the arch to put the flower girl, still in diapers, in. There was also the mother-in-law to watch over the child and see that she finally parades to the front. Of course, all these very young children involved does't work and never works!
I try really hard to do my part with dignity and grace with well chosen words specifically for the couple. I think I have gotten rather good at it over the years.
This time for the first time, I had to stop part way into the ceremony and tell them they had to turn up the lights as I was having trouble seeing my text. The icicle Christmas lights standing in for candle light, was not good enough for me to see. In the begining, I thought I could get by in the dim light, as I know much of the service by memory and newer elements were typed darker. Unfortuanatly it was too difficult. (Time to get my glasses renewed I guess.) I certainly will know better next time. My little glitch was minor compared to the three little children shuffling about. I was so thankful the service was short.
But you know, people liked it, the couple were happy, the kids were cute and the bride was "hot"! I guess the minister is not supposed to think that let alone say it.! People at wedding are very forgiving of little glitches and there are alway some.
It may not sound like it but I like doing weddings (perhaps i am not as cycnical as I let on) and getting to be part of a couple's happy moments.
Gee! was my own wedding, done on the cheap in a hall, as bad as some I have done. . . . . . .
Probably! Besides, it was to the love of my life and "shacking up" was not an option for us, back then.
For the lyrics and translation of the soulfull tune "Ne Me Quitte Pas", the tune playing , drop by here Sting - Ne Me Quitte Pas (English) Lyrics