Some important thoughts for a Couple to place on their "To Do" List
And with any luck the time will come when we can sit across a table, sipping coffee and savoring a bit of cheesecake. And we will exchange that most precious commodity: intimate conversation filled with high expectations, new friends discussing plans for their wedding.
Talk of hopes and dreams and the excitement of the journey can turn an hour into two. Many couples simply need to get that sense of comfort with a minister. It's important to hear of concerns, especially to know if their selection of a minister is someone who can bring their ceremony to family and friends in a manner which reflects their wishes. It's important to learn of sensitivities within and between families. It's important to learn of rituals preferred, especially when it is an interfaith wedding. A personal meeting is that opportunity to become comfortable with the person who is performing the most important ceremony in the life of a couple.
Captain Kirk reminded us of an important gift
We were watching a documentary this past evening entitled "Captains." William Shatner, the actor of note from many roles, but especially Star Trek, allowed us to listen to an entertaining couple of hours sharing conversations with all of the Star Trek Captains over the years, and some of the notable cast members so many of us remember. Then at the very end, as the credits were scrolling by, the final thank you came up and stopped. Shatner wrote several comments, and then offered: "These friends allowed me such a marvelous gift ... their time."
That is exactly what we hope to enjoy with each couple: their time ... as time is allowed.
So many couples ask, "Can we meet?"
Of course we can meet, and that should be a part of your planning. However, I live near Charlottesville, Virginia and a meeting generally entails a full day, at least for those who live in Virginia, Maryland and the DC area. Many couples who plan ahead will take a weekend day and drive to Charlottesville, often staying for one night, enjoying the delights of this historic town, and meeting with us for a discussion. If a couple needs directions or ideas for a hotel accessible for visiting Monticello, Carter Mountain, University of Virginia, etc, please ask.
Not all couples can make that trip to Charlottesville
Keep in mind that only about half of all couples actually are close enough for meeting with ease. Many couples have waited too late for planning a meeting. Many live in other states, and will fly into their ceremony location just before the ceremony. As much as we would like to have that face to face talk months in advance, and become familiar before a ceremony, sometimes it is just not possible. Then, a bit more time is spent with e-mail exchanges, and the importance of my questionnaire to learn of hopes and dreams and other matters of the heart become so very prominent in order to write for text and tone. Sometimes in the course of exchanges, a phone call might allow for a more open dialogue to settle a matter quickly.
What happens when family members wish to attend that first meeting?
There have been many meetings over the years when a mother of the bride, or both mothers have arrived with the couple. There have been occasions when a couple brought their separate children with them. The list of combinations can be interesting. The question is usually asked: Is it OK for them to come with us? And the answer is: Certainly!
However, at some point after general introductions, I will ask the couple to join me for a private conversation at a separate table, and Rev. T. Wade will occupy the rest of the family with the most interesting conversation one can imagine. He can speak football fluently. There must be private time with the couple.
I have noticed on occasion when mothers are in attendance, there is a tendency on their part to want to know exactly how I will be handling the ceremony. It is at that point, but usually before it is asked, that I offer something like, "Please understand that I do not write a wedding until I have received completed questionnaires from a couple. I then draft the ceremony for their review and their review only. The wedding is therefore always approved by a couple in advance based on their request. I do insist that no one, except the couple, is to hear the script before it is delivered in a wedding. I do this rather deliberately, since a personal wedding must be that of a couple, and exposing it to friends and family lead to exchanges which may put pressure on a couple to make changes. That must never happen, since the ceremony becomes the wishes of others. And I am here to fulfill the wishes of the couple."
Perhaps this might be considered a gentle reminder that YOUR WEDDING IS YOUR DREAM DAY.