Wedding blessings are or can be a lovely service...providing everyone present wants to be there. For many it is the second shot at marriage, the first one having failed. They have gone off to a register office and want the churches blessing on the second one. In theory.
I have now done many of these and they vary according to what the couple want. They can be almost the same as the wedding service, missing out some crucial bits. Or they can be two people with maybe just two others standing in church to be blessed.
I did one on Christmas day some time ago after the communion service. The congregation were invited to stay and most did. It was lovely, the couple and their five children all walking up the aisle to the encouragement of the organ and a very full church.
The one that sticks in my mind though was the one where the groom definitely did not want to be there. He was an hour late and the bride was getting very ratty indeed and who could blame her?
She was wearing the full crinoline and he was wearing a very crumpled lounge suit with a two day stubble. The smell of scotch surrounded him.
She dragged him out of the bushes, straightened his tie and we proceeded.
At the beginning of the service I have to ask them if it is their understanding that they remain faithful to each other for as long as they both shall live.
She said yes, there was no answer from him. Instead he peered nervously at the back of the church.
I asked again, nodding at him encouragingly. She kicked him and there was a response. it sounded something like
OK its not every ones cup of tea but most couples do take it seriously and today's two people are no exception. The blessing of the Church and of God is important to them both.
They were married yesterday in a register office and we have had no rehearsal.
I told them not to worry. In a past life I used to direct people on stage and no one anywhere could see the joins.
It'll all be alright. We have an organist, a bell ringer and four bridesmaids.
Their sweet child is going to be a page boy and all will be well.! Let the bells ring out with gladness!