Planning a Wedding

I’m going to spend a couple of hours this afternoon planning a wedding. Not mine. I’m happily married, and fully done with the details of our wedding, thank you very much.

No, this is a wedding I will be performing. And this afternoon I will be having the final meeting with the bride and groom.† We will iron out the details (which are basically all in place) and make any last minute changes. In part, the real purpose of this final meeting with the couple is very† often simply to reassure them that all the pieces are in place and that everything will be fine, and all they really have to do now is show up and they will be married.

I love performing weddings. As a rabbi, I’m invited into a couple’s relationship in an intimate way: I’m given a chance to talk with them about how they feel about each other, and how they wish to express those feelings in front of family and friends. Under the chuppah (the Jewish wedding canopy) there are three people: the bride, the groom and the rabbi. It’s a privilege to be trusted to help a couple begin a marriage, and a joy to be a part of their excitement.

Which means, even when I’m a bit tired (as I am this afternoon), even if I have a few other issues worrying me (which I do this afternoon), I know that the energy and excitement of the impending wedding will buoy me up, and I’ll be swept along as we make the final plans.

The last thing I do at a final wedding meeting is to take a few moments, and ask the couple to remember why we’re doing this: that is to say, to focus on their love and the reason for the marriage. It’s an opportunity to let any odd family dynamics fade into the background (and there are always some odd family dynamics around weddings–it’s the nature of either families or weddings, I haven’t, yet, figured out which). This is the opportunity for the bride and the groom to take a deep breath and acknowledge that regardless of whatever details of planning remain, the important thing is that in less than a week, they will be married. Everything else is just window dressing.

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