"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here..."
The familiarity and formality of these words has inspired reverent joy and gleeful expectation among the masses for many, many years. Getting married in an Anglican ceremony, cool enough for folk like Courtney Cox Arquette and Bono (and perhaps U, 2…), - these weddings are a staple at this time of year, and the beauty and richness of their ritual is another reason many people are rather fond of the Episcopal Church.
Sure, courthouse weddings quickly get us to the point-
Vegas weddings quickly get us to the party-
Yet Episcopal weddings seem to do both... and neither.
Sure, there is an economy of words and a legal pronouncement, yet there is also a sense of lingering presence and joyful proclamation. Episcopal weddings offer a dignified cadence and an unabashed divine invocation that is rarely rushed. They inspire gowns, ribbons and flowers to betray the couple’s favorite colors and smells. And they often throw in an organ rumble, a trumpet blast or a belfry ringing that can only be announcing one thing.
Christian marriage, no matter how it's done, is rich with the symbolism of Christ's love for the Church and the foretaste of that heavenly banquet. In it we remember Jesus' first miracle and celebrate one of God's greatest gifts.
Episcopalians work hard to build upon these themes - melding this sense of Christ's presence with the seriousness of solemn vows amidst the joy the blending of two lives inspires. Out of our little place in Christendom we bring gifts of formality, ceremony and quiet reserve to Mother Church that we happily share (after all, how many times do you hear the words of the Prayer Book in movies, TV shows and even 'non-denominational' marriage ceremonies?).
What do you like about Episcopal weddings?
People ask where the information from these posts originates- and they come from one of two books I've written for inquirers and newcomers to the Episcopal Church- you can check them out at:
Also, if you're a liturgy fan, consider joining this group: