I married someone.
A couple months ago, our nephew in Tulsa contacted us about some upcoming nuptials. You see, Lauren Beers and Madison Tittle are getting married this Memorial Day weekend. Lauren and Madison called to ask Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo if we might consider officiating at their wedding. Consider it?! We were thrilled and honored to be asked. We got busy checking out things online regarding what we might have to do to be able to marry someone. And you know what? It's surprisingly easy. All you have to do is find one of these online "churches" or services and sign up. In fact, the one we signed up on, Universal Life Church, has been used by tons of people, including more than a few celebrities. It cost us nothing to be "ordained." But if you want all the paperwork and stickers and an ID card, etc., it's about forty dollars. We were both more than a little surprised at how easy it was to become a minister in the Universal Life Church.
There's been so much said and written about marriage lately - in social media, newspapers, on television, radio - everywhere. A lot of hoopla about folks trying to decide what should be considered marriage. You would think that it would be a complicated, very involved, something - to get to be the person who officiates at a wedding. But no. It's not that big a deal. I feel a little bit like I've looked behind the wizard's curtain and have seen that he's just a little man turning knobs and pushing buttons and making a lot of ("sanctity of marriage") noise.
The issues regarding marriage these days sort of reminds me about all the arguments that we've been hearing about healthcare. There are people who use the term Affordable Healthcare. Other people use the term Obamacare. See the difference? Similarly, I hear some people saying Gay Marriage. Others use the term Marriage Equality. Think about it. Anyway. I am looking forward to the day when people can marry whomever they love, without worrying about whether the local pizza parlor will cater their reception, or whether some baker's religious beliefs prevent them from being able to spread buttercream frosting on a couple's cake. Hopefully in the very near future the Supremes will decide that we can all stop worrying about such silly stuff. The Supremes will be able to say "Stop! In The Name Of Love!"
But let's get back to me. To us. To Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo being wedding officiants. Once we received our ordination certificates (and clergy parking passes!) we went back online doing research about what might be required for us to legally perform the wedding for those sweet kids in Tulsa. The requirements are pretty loosy-goosy. You perform the ceremony how ever you like. You sign the marriage license as the officiant(s). That's about it. I don't think you have to show your credentials to anybody. There are no residency requirements.
So we got pretty excited about being able to do this. I posted a picture of my credentials on facebook. Soon a friend contacted us and said, "Hey, I saw that you got ordained. Here's the thing: I'm getting married soon, and we need someone to officiate." We met with the couple for dinner later and discussed their wedding plans and decided that we would officiate the wedding. The couple expressed their desire to have a short & sweet ceremony at a backyard barbecue. It turned out to be just that. Just that - if you throw in a good-size crowd of family and friends at beautifully appointed long tables, put on great playlist, have delicious signature cocktails (one for the bride, one for the groom), and enjoy a tasty meal catered by one of San Antonio's best places for barbecue (and banana pudding)! It was a wonderful, beautiful celebration of love - and we were privileged and honored to be there for it.
That wedding happened this past weekend. But before that, I spent a few hours looking at wedding ceremonies online. I spent a few more hours reading pieces of prose and poetry that might be read at the ceremony by someone dear to the couple. I studied weddings and the protocol associated with them. I spent a few hours in the Trinity University library sorting and compiling and editing everything that I had found out about weddings. When it came time for the wedding this past Saturday afternoon, we were ready. Nervous, but ready. Before we started the ceremony, a few people approached me, asking if I had jokes ready. I replied that I did not. In my research I had not come across jokes. I did not know that jokes might be expected. So maybe next time I'll prepare a few - just in case the situation calls for it... Watch out, Lauren and Madison.