With the impending nuptials of my son Justin to his betrothed, Riley, this weekend, it goes without saying that we have WEDDING on our minds. So I thought I would blog Ten Fun Thoughts about weddings—still another long and winding detour in my Adventures in Faith and Art.
10 Over the past few decades, I’ve probably performed at about a hundred weddings. I’ve played piano at most all of them, sung at the majority of those, and officiated a handful too.
9 I’ve played in auditoriums and halls, in historical buildings, in homes and backyards, at country clubs, in innumerable churches, and even on a golf course.
8 The longest wedding prelude I ever played was over two hours. Typically, I begin playing the piano about twenty minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin, so that guests can be seated. But when the time came, the bride didn’t make her entrance. So over the next two hours—and regularly in fifteen minute intervals—someone would sneak behind me and whisper in my ear, “keep playing,” while they waited for the bride to show up. I never did find out what all the drama was about.
7 The most requested wedding song I’ve performed is “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman. The most performed processional is, not surprisingly, Pachabel’s “Canon in D.” And the most fun song was the nineties hit, “Baby Baby” by Amy Grant, which was the bride’s entrance song.
6 The most touching wedding I’d ever participated in might be a couple who were renewing their wedding vows after fifty years of marriage. A sweet old interracial couple who were married in the very early sixties, they suffered through a great deal of prejudice and bigotry for the sake of their love. It was an amazing moment to see them renew their vows along with scores of children, grandchildren, and other relatives and loved ones.
5 When Debbie and I got married, I wrote and performed a song for her during the ceremony. I think it was the only moment of my entire wedding day when I wasn’t nervous. In addition, I wrote a song for her when we were dating, and songs for our twentieth (“Twenty”) and twenty-fifth (“You Still Take My Breath Away”) anniversaries. Hit the links if you’re interested in hearing them.
4 The weirdest request I ever got was “White Wedding” by Billy Idol, which one of the guests insisted that I play. No, I did not.
3 I don’t play wedding receptions. And this is Why.
2 I find it interesting that the Bible describes Jesus as the groom and the church as the bride (John 3:29, Mark 2:19, Ephesians 5:25, etc.). The Apostle Paul describes this relationship as a mystery, though we know it to be a very special relationship ordained by God Himself. I always remind myself that, in the wedding ceremony, we are privileged witnesses to a holy mystery, the joining (i.e., “cleaving”) of a man and a woman under the Lordship of Jesus.
1 Whenever I am at a wedding and they get to the actual wedding vows, I always recite the vows silently in my head to myself, in a sense, renewing my vows to my wife Debbie. It’s my way of reminding myself of the blessing of my own marriage, and renewing my commitment to my wife before God. Like I said, I’ve done this about a hundred times.
A few years ago, Justin asked me one of those profound Father/Son questions that can define a man. His question was this: “Dad, why did you marry Mom?” Now I knew this was an important question he was asking me. I could sense there was a question behind the question. So I looked at him square away, father to son, and in my most sincere Dad voice replied, “Why did I marry Mom? Because she said, ‘Yes.’”
I wanted him to know that when you find that special someone—that woman of character and intelligence and grace and loving kindness—you don’t let them go. I am so glad that he took my advice, and is marrying this very special young lady on Saturday.