Calling 811 – Emergency Wedding, please respond! This is not what you would usually associate with a wedding. A wedding ceremony is supposed to be all planned out well in advance with all the details covered. Months of planning where every aspect has been questioned, options sought and decisions made. Contingencies have been derived for all eventualities. So wouldn’t it be an absolute disaster if the wedding officiant didn’t show up.
I used to own a 100 acre farm near the city limits with my four horses, one llama and a 1957 tractor that I loved and my sweetheart hated. A sunny and warm summer afternoon looked promising to finish some chores and I was out in the field in my coveralls on the tractor. I look up to see my sweetheart at the house frantically waving her arms to get my attention. I drove up to the house to find out what the matter was.
The office had called and they asked if I could make it to one of the wedding venues close by our place to perform and Emergency Wedding. Apparently, the couple’s wedding officiant had not shown up. The venue had tried to contact them with no success and called in our organization for help in desperation. I confirmed that I would be there in twenty minutes. I scrambled out of my sweaty overalls, jumped into the shower, changed and screeched my minivan tires out the laneway.
Upon arrival, the scene was very tense. The venue manager, who knew me from other weddings I performed there, was so grateful that I appeared. He informed me that he had opened up the bar to appease everyone. Nonetheless, there was definitely absence of smiles and good humor that I typically see at weddings. I proceeded to meet the couple. I asked for the marriage license so that I could fill out the paperwork. The bride’s parents all seem friendly enough and relieved at my presence. But hmmmmm, I noticed the groom’s side was all in dark suits, wearing sunglasses and had refused to take their jackets off on this sunny warm day.
The ceremony went off with no problems – albeit one hour late. Everyone expressed how grateful that I had come. I figured the office would deal with the payment issue later. The venue manager told me later that the groom’s guests never did take their jackets off during the evening. I never found out who the absent officiant was. My thoughts went out to them wondering whether they would still have kneecaps in the morning. The venue was so grateful that I still can get a free Pepsi when I show up there for a wedding.