Embarrassing Wedding Glitches

As a judge, I volunteered to perform weddings. Since I was a criminal law judge, weddings were a welcome change of pace. Conduct wedding ceremonies was about the only thing I did where most people were happy.

I performed several hundred over thirty years. I conducted these ceremonies in my courtroom, in chambers, at wedding chapels, on boats, at resorts, in parks, at hotels, at homes, and on the beach. 

Rarely, are weddings flawless. There are usually glitches.  Murphy’s Law, that if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, applies to wedding ceremonies.  Thankfully, most glitches are minor, like the wedding rings not fitting because the bride or groom’s fingers are swollen.  Some glitches are complete disasters.   

The Uncooperative Doves

I performed a wedding at a spacious park in Irvine, California on a very windy day.  The couple had planned to release a pair of white doves from a cage at the end of the ceremony. 

When the couple opened the dove cage, nothing happened. The doves wanted to stay in the safe cage instead of being released into the wind. 

The groom shook the cage.  Nothing!  He shook the cage again.  Nothing!  The angry groom finally slammed his hand against the back of the cage and the poor doves were so scared that they flew out of the cage and disappeared into the storm. 

The Butterfly Disaster

I officiated at a large wedding at a lush enclosed garden on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in posh Corona Del Mar, California.  The couple’s families gave each guest a tiny triangular cardboard box.  Inside each box was a beautiful live butterfly.  These had been flown in from Northern California for the ceremony. I was scheduled to ask the audience to open the boxes at the end of the ceremony and release the hundreds of butterflies into the air. 

The ceremony went smoothly, and the weather was still and clear, perfect for the butterfly release.  At the end of the ceremony, I invited the audience to open their boxes and release the butterflies.

 Instead of flying, all of the butterflies dropped to the ground.  They were all dead.  The adults groaned, and the small children started screaming and crying.  What a nightmare!

The Invisible Wedding Ring

 I performed a wedding on the lush tall grass of a restaurant overlooking scenic Dana Point Harbor, in Orange County.  The child ring bearer dropped the ring in the tall grass.  We could not find it.  I reached down, pretended to pick of the ring,  and “pantomimed” the ring exchange using my invisible ring.

The Frustrated Child Ring Bearer

During one wedding the four-year old ring bearer dropped the ring and the audience chuckled.  After picking up the ring, the ring bearer turned to the audience, put his hands on his hips and yelled, “You people stop laughing at me.”  That caused even more laughter, which frustrated the little ring bearer even more.

The Best Man Forgot the Ring

 During another wedding I reached for the best man to give me the bride’s wedding ring.  The expression on his face revealed that he had forgotten the ring.  Without skipping a beat, he discretely removed his own wedding band and handed it to me.  I used the best man’s wedding band as the bride’s ring during the exchange.

The Cracker Jacks Ring

I performed a wedding ceremony where there were six grooms’ men.  When I reached for the best man to hand me the bride’s ring, he overtly searched through all his pockets.  Coming up short, he turned to the first groom’s man.  He searched through all of his pockets, and finding no ring, turned to the second groom’s man.  Each groom’s man turned to the next, who in turn searched for the ring. 

While this was going on, the unhappy bride kept whispering to her groom, “I’m going to kill you for this.”  The groom kept replying, “I didn’t know anything about this.” 

Finally, the last groom’s man removed a box of Cracker Jacks from his coat.  He passed it up the line.  The best man opened the box, poured out the peanuts and caramel corn on the ground, and grabbed the white paper prize.  He tore open the prize, took out the wedding ring, and handed it to me, for the exchange.  The audience love it, but the bride was not at all happy.

My Sweating at the Wedding for a Serial Killer’s Nephew

I performed a wedding in an immense back yard for a large family whose last name I will not mention.   Before the ceremony, the groom commented that he was saddened that favorite uncle R. couldn’t be there because he was in prison. 

My heart skipped a beat.  R. was one of the worst serial killers in Orange County history.  He was on death row.  While in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, I successfully prosecuted several motions on R.’s case.  I was the backup attorney for the lead prosecutor, and I helped to put him on death row. I suddenly felt a like Daniel in the lion’s den.  

I prayed that the family would not remember me.  My prayers were answered, and lived to tell the story.

The Almost Flawless Wedding

I officiated at a very large wedding at a big stone replica medieval chapel. When I met with the couple months before the wedding, I cautioned them that no wedding is flawless, and they would need to “go with the flow” during the ceremony when glitches happened.  The intense bride was adamant that her wedding would be perfect and there would be no flaws. 

Their ceremony was very complex, with processions, live music, vocal solos, poetry readings, extra exchange of vows, and a ring ceremony.  There were hundreds of people in the chapel, and there were dozens of ways the wedding could snag.   As the bride insisted, the wedding was perfect.  Everything went flawlessly. 

But then I announced the couple and the recession started.  The ring bearer tripped and landed on the back of the wedding dress, tearing off the train.  Everyone in the wedding party filed out, stepping over the train.  Finally, I was the last person to walk down the aisle.  I reached down, picked up the train, and carried it out of the chapel while everyone laughed.  

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