It is interesting to ponder which bits of weddings are legal and which are cultural. Chatting to the photographer yesterday I discovered that one of my colleagues (who I like very much) is a stickler for rules about cameras and videos. He specifies when photos can be taken and where from and is generally disliked by the wedding photographers' community. They are local rules not official ones. Photographing during a service is not illegal.
I was taught weddings by a minister who had quite a lot of rules but then I worked at a church where we had weddings every hour on a Saturday and the only important rule was to be finished in time for the next one. Not much space for innovation there.
These days I ask people not to throw confetti so it will blow into the church, and to turn their mobile phones off. I don't ask for money in a collection and I say nothing about cameras. Yesterday people were snapping away throughout the service, making their own videos of the bride's arrival and it was fine. In fact it was fun. It is the way the world works these days. Whilst I don't do it personally, preferring to paint a word picture, I observe that people seem more engaged in making a recording of their experience than experiencing it.
At REM on Monday night two girls were hoisted onto boyfriend's shoulders to get a better view. Instead of photographing the band they snapped themselves.
So the bride and groom become famous by being paparazzied (another perfectly good noun press-ganged into service as a verb, as the late Brian Redhead would say) by their friends. They loved it. Why on earth should they not?
People respected the formal bits (although I heard a brief giggle when I said 'sexual union') and the contrast between vows and entrance made the vows all the more powerful.
I think, fellow clergy, that we need to allow people to have more fun at their own weddings.
Recently someone paid me the enormous compliment of telling me I was normal. I fear that those aspiring to be ministers of God need take that to heart. To stand out from the crowd as a church minister you only have to be normal. The bar's pretty low.
Comments from clergy especially welcome on these latest two posts.