My woeful wedding began shortly after I reached the altar with my father. As Dad shuffled off to go to his seat, our pastor began to recite the words to the ceremony. All of a sudden and with no warning, he fainted. There was a collective gasp from the wedding guests, as well as a couple of screams. A quick-thinking usher quickly called the paramedics as we knelt down to see if our pastor was able to breathe normally.
Father Dave seemed to be breathing normally but he was out like a light. Someone passed a cool rag down to us as we knelt on the floor, and I placed it on his forehead. I looked at my fiancé, John, and he looked back at me worriedly. We could hear the guests behind us, murmuring in low tones. I knew they were all wondering about the exact same thing: what would happen now? No pastor, no wedding.
The paramedics soon arrived and swiftly rolled the stretcher down the aisle towards the altar. We stood up and moved over to the side so they could perform their life-saving work. They checked Father Dave’s vital signs and tried to elicit a response. They were unable to wake him so they deftly loaded him onto the stretcher and strapped him in. We followed them to the door and watched as they loaded Pastor Dave onto the ambulance. Then they hopped in, flipped the siren on and drove away to the hospital.
I looked at John and asked him what we were going to do. We didn’t have a back-up plan for this scenario. We never expected such a thing to happen. Who would? So there we were with a church full of guests and a lot of food waiting at the reception. We couldn’t possibly cancel everything now. I started to wonder to myself if this wasn’t some sort of omen. Maybe we weren’t meant to get married after all.
Dave said he had an idea. There was a gentleman inside the church, one of our guests, who was an authority figure and could perform the ceremony. The only problem was that it wouldn’t be official. We decided to ask him if he would be willing to perform the ceremony. We wouldn’t be officially married but we could still celebrate. Later we could have a civil ceremony to make everything legal.
This turned out to be the right decision. We got “married,” that very day, with all of the bells and whistles. A few weeks later we made it official at the county courthouse. Everything worked out great and we had many happy years together.
John and I are now divorced. When we started having problems I began to wonder if my “woeful wedding” really was an omen. Then again, I would have never had the experiences I had with John and his family. I decided I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to relive those moments. Now I am happily divorced. I have no regrets.