Earlier tonight, I officiated at my third wedding. This was a very special event for me, as it was at a place I had heard about but never visited (Hunt-Phelan Home on Beale Street) and it was held 22 years and 2 days after our own wedding.
The 2nd wedding at which I officiated was held 2 years and 2 days ago, on our actual 20th anniversary — at Sun Studio, another famous Memphis establishment.
The mother of the bride contacted me about a month ago with the request for today’s event. They already had a minister coming to do the ceremony, but he was not based in Tennessee, and they somehow got the idea that he could not do a legally-binding wedding here, so they wanted a local minister to do a short second ceremony and handle the paperwork. I was pleased to honor their request.
The families were quite nice. The out-of-town minister did a great job despite the heat and humidity on the outside patio. The personally-written “vows” of the couple were more funny stories about how they met and things that happened during the 3 years that they have known each other than actual vows. Oh, they did sprinkle in some promises along the way, but their enthusiasm for the union and their joy at the events of the day were positively infectious.
After the big public ceremony, the wedding party (bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a cute-as-a-button flower girl) and the mother of the bride adjourned to an upstairs room, where I did the “official, legally-binding” ceremony I had pulled together earlier today. Then we handled the paperwork.
You can see my mini-sermon that was the opening and the actual ceremony on the Memphis Service Ministries blog (http://memphisservice.org). Photos of me with the couple have been posted on Facebook and will be shared on that blog at some point.
The bride asked me if she should sign the Wedding Certificate that I prepared with her maiden name or her married name. I told her to use whichever she preferred. She signed with her married name — for the first time anywhere ! On the document that I prepared ! This blew my mind when I realized it later.
As a notary, what I do every day affects the lives of the people who use my services. Even so, officiating at a wedding is a Big Deal because of the immediate impact it has upon the couple. It pleases me greatly when I get the chance to do this — and I hope to get many more such chances soon.