Let’s call this “The Duel for the Bride.”
As a Pastor, I always tried to work with couples who wanted to personalize their weddings. When their wedding would be in a church that I served, I did insist on keeping the service respectful and reverent to the fact that it was taking place in a house of Worship. When the service was taking place outside of a church building, well, I was much more flexible.
One time, I was performing the wedding for a young couple who were actors, and who belonged to a group of performers that frequently acted in the local Renaissance Faire. They wanted to do a Renaissance-themed wedding. The bridal party would all be in costumes from the middle ages, and I would be dressed in the brown woolen habit of a monk. Since the wedding was going to be taking place in a banquet hall instead of my church, I readily agreed and even found a copy of the wedding service from a very early edition of the Book of Common prayer to use.
Everybody looked fantastic as we began the ceremony. The wedding party was outfitted in their finest Elizabethan garb. The groom and his attendants looked especially dashing in costumes, complete with swords and daggers. Many in the audience also came dressed to the hilt in their finest renaissance garb. Even I looked, I felt, quite authentic in my monks’ outfit. I had even brushed up on my Latin so I could recite some prayers in what had been the language of the church in that day and age.
All was going very well, until I uttered these fateful words:
If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.
All at once, a man in the audience drew out his sword, shouting “Aye, I object, for I loveth her, and challenge this knave for the hand of my beloved in marriage.”
I am told by those in attendance that I stood there in shocked amazement (my son who was there told me later that I actually mouthed the phrase WTF) as the groom drew his own sword, and with a loud battle cry rushed into the audience, at which point the groom and the objector began a short but swift, carefully choreographed sword fight, until backed into a corner, the objector yielded to the groom, begging for mercy.
Of course, this had been planned out way in advance by the groom and his friend, but being method actors they thought it would appear much more authentic if they told no one of their plans beforehand.
Coming back to the front of the hall, the groom took the hand of his bride, looked me right in the eye, and said, “I have defended my honor, kind Padre, I beggeth thee continue.” What could I do, especially as he still had his sword, but continue?
I go even with him a year later, when I convinced him to take charge of our church youth group. But again, that is another tale.