This is what Harold Macmillan might have called "an uncovenanted mercy" - the pleasure of being able to conduct a wedding. I thought I might have forgotten how it went, but, like riding a bike, once done you don't forget. The bride had been baptized in infancy by the recently retired parish priest of St Francis, and was probably more than a little disappointed that he was not still around to officiate at her wedding. It was a great happiness for me, though; and a good dress-rehearsal for another marriage of a god-daughter which I shall conduct later this summer.
I just love those little hobble skirts of the bridesmaids; very 1920's! Lianne and Douglas have been (as they say) together for six years; so I acknowledged that, and said that this day was sealing their commitment to one another - and a time for family to stand back. They took it very seriously, and although the congregation had been a little high-spirited before we started, once we we underway everyone, even the tiny flower-girl and almost equally tiny groomsmen, were immaculately behaved. It reminded me how much I missed parish ministry when I first moved to St Stephen's House.
The day was a first for the Churchwarden and others who assisted her; they carried it off very well, even to ensuring that there was Registrar's Ink for the pen. FOUR witnesses (at the bride's request) rather than the required two meant a long signing. The string quartet did bravely, and we even managed to get all twenty-eight signatures (bride, groom, witnesses and me on each of four documents) in the right places. My, but it was exhausting. Tomorrow will be a very light day; just an 8am BCP-ish celebration (called in this parish "the early communion") with a sermonette. Then packing cases and checking passport ready for a very early start on Monday for Heathrow and Fatima; still supposing the volcano and BA Aircrew allow us to get to Lisbon and back. Pray, brethren!
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