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— As a pastor, I have officiated at many weddings.

Most were church weddings, some were home weddings and a few were in outside settings. Whatever the setting, unexpected and funny things sometimes happen at weddings.

Weddings normally are joyous occasions, but with a solemn and serious tone.

Occasionally, something unexpected happens to change all that. In 1974 we attended a wedding in our church in which the bride’s grandfather was the officiating minister. It was a beautiful wedding, with dimmed lights and many candles. During most of the service the people were at hushed attention. All went smoothly, the music wasbeautiful, and the couple exchanged vows and rings without a hitch. Then, after being pronounced husband and wife, they kissed. It was a lingering kiss, and I happened to notice that the ring bearer, the bride’s little brother, was watching thekiss intently. In the hush of the moment, he piped up, “I’ve watched you do that before!” For a second there was silence, then the whole church erupted in laughter. You never know about pesky, spying little brothers!

One of my most unusual weddings took place while I was pastor in Berryville, Ark., in the late 1980s. The couple came to me asking if we could have the wedding in an unusual outside place? The groom owned a farm north of Berryville, not far from Shell Knob, Mo., and one of its unique features was a round-top mountain which gave a panoramic view of the whole countryside. He had grown up there, and to both of them it was a special place. So they wantedto exchange their wedding vows on the mountain top.

We agreed to the idea, and made plans for a mountain-top wedding. When the day arrived, my wife and I rode out to the farm with the couple. Then we drove the winding trail up the hill, soon coming to the end of the trail. There was a steep climb on foot to reach the top of the mountain. I had noticed several goats on the hillside as we left the car, and after we had climbed a short distance I happened to look back. There behind us, following in single file, was the herd of about 20 goats.

I thought, what a unique wedding procession this is turning out to be! Then I became concerned aboutthe distractions of having a herd of goats milling about during the wedding. But I had no need to worry;

the goats formed a circle around us and stood all quiet and respectful as we witnessed the holy vows of matrimony shared by ourfriends on the round-top mountain. It was a scene I’ll never forget.

Probably my funniest wedding of all was a church wedding in Jonesboro, Ark., about 1992. It was example of how best laid plans may go wrong, and how trying too hard to make everything perfect may even cause things to go awry.

The early plans for this wedding went flawlessly.

There were no problems in the rehearsal. The bride’s two young nieces were involved in the wedding, with the older girl, who was about 12, lighting the candles, and the younger niece, who was about 5, serving as flower girl.

I noticed at the beginning of the wedding that the 12-year-old candlelighter was not wearing her eyeglasses.

Someone may have suggested she would be prettier without them. But without her glasses she couldn’t tell when her flame touched the candle. She had to have help. Then came the bridalprocession, with the flower girl scattering flower petals as she entered. I learned later that her mother, in giving her last-minute pointers, was concerned that the flower petals, if crushed, might stain the carpet. So she advised the little girl not to step on the petals as she dropped them. She was a lovely sight as she began her walk down the isle. She made two or three steps, then stopped, dropped a handful of flower petals, and, to our surprise, bent her knees and broadjumped over them. Then she dropped more flowers, hopped over them too, and so on, again and again all the way up the long isle of the church. Interestingly, no one burst out laughing;

we just all shook within ourselves. The poor girl, she was just trying to do as her mother had said. It was a sweet scene, and so funny!

Contact Jerry Nichols by e-mail at joe369@centurytel.net, or call 621-1621.

Community, Pages 5 on 11/18/2009

Print Headline: Now & Then You never know what to expect at a wedding

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