Why write about weddings? There are many reasons that people celebrate weddings and perhaps almost as many reasons to write about them. My purposes in writing are several. Many were joyful moments which I can remember as inspirations. One achievement this semester has been the recovered of celebration.
Many weddings are fading from my memory as the images on film and video are also fading, so I write in part to remember. In order to the comments to follow, I have needed help from those who asked me celebrate with them; and the responses have been wonderful. Sometimes I have spent more time in writing about a wedding than I did in performing or getting ready to perform the wedding.
I am a professor of religious studies in his 8th decade of life after 45 years of marriage. Even at this age when I look like a grandfather to most students, and perhaps even a “homeless grandfather” to one artist who just did my portrait, I am asked to perform weddings several times a year. So the comments in the "album project" are a kind of preparation for future weddings as well as to remember the ones I did attend and to remember to reflect up on them.
Performing or attending weddings was not my “daytime” job. I have mostly been a college teacher in two quite different academic settings. In forty years, I have probably taught 4,000 students. The hundred who asked me to celebrate with them were written about simply because they asked me to do so. I may write something hereafter about another group, who knows?
Meanwhile a dozen faculty members in two academic institutions have asked for me to perform their weddings. Even some strangers have appeared at my door or on email to ask about a wedding. Sometimes in recent years friends or their children have asked me to celebrate a wedding.
Having written in about 300 pages about 100 weddings, I am especially interested in how weddings changed in the last half century. The first weddings I appeared in were in minor roles, sometimes in naval costumes looking stiff. The nuptial couples I celebrated with also looked stiff and rather formal. The more recent ceremonies make us all look more relaxed and colorful. One superficial reason is that color photographs took over. A more profound reason is that the people became more colorful in their manner and in their ethnic backgrounds.
The costumes men wore in the l970's in several weddings look like something out of “That ‘70's Show.” The texts of ceremonies have also changed. I started out "doing all the weddings by the book," i.e. the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship. Sometime in the l970's I changed to much freer expressions, as my readers will notice below. My readers will be taken with words, pictures, and imagination to some improbable places on the planet, sometimes centuries back in time to famous peoples' weddings that we travel to “crash” in an imaginary space/time defying vehicle.
A few of the weddings below were the result of folks finding their partners on the internet and plan their weddings by email. Two women asked me to perform a wedding and then they changed the intended partner by the time the ceremony took place. A few approached me about a wedding that would take place a year or even two years in the future, some weddings took place a few hours or days after the request. If I failed to include yours, dear reader, and you asked me to perform, I will try to work it into a second edition. If you want something removed that was untrue or “insulting" then email me as follows:
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