Don’t Be a George…

There are always a few problems with weddings, be it from vendors that don’t deliver to weather that won’t cooperate with your dreams. One of the hardest problems to deal with is relatives who may feel that things don’t meet their expectations in some way. It’s always best to deal with these things as diplomatically as possible and if diplomacy doesn’t work, then you may have to set a firm boundary.

A few years ago I was performing a wedding for a young couple who were going to have more than their fair share of challenges. The Groom was in the military and would be shipping out shortly after the wedding. The Bride would be following to join him at his base not long after. I had great confidence in these kids; they knew what they wanted and were prepared as well as they could be for their new life together.

The wedding was being held in the outdoor garden of a large banquet facility. The bride had told me that the one thing her fiancé wanted was an outdoor wedding, but on the big day we had a line of popcorn thunderstorms working their way through the area.  With the help of the staff at the reception hall and the groomsmen, we were all trying to wipe down chairs from the last brief rain that had gone through, when I heard raised voices.

When I looked up I saw an older gentleman arguing with the Father of the Bride. He was saying some downright rude things about the groom and expressing a deep disappointment that the wedding wasn’t being held at his church. He also seemed upset that he had not been consulted in any way as to the event taking place.

To his great credit, the father was trying to keep his temper and be diplomatic, but ‘Uncle George’ was only working himself into a full-blown fit. His wife was standing with him, obviously embarrassed and trying to calm him as well.

Keep in mind that while the groom was active military, so were each and every one of the groomsmen: we had three in the Army, two National Guardsmen and one in the Air Force. There were a lot of men in full dress uniforms running around the area in full sight.

I spoke to the two ushers, who were National Guard and good buddies of the Groom. They agreed to come if I needed help; they weren’t any happier than I was about the escalating argument. With a vague plan for backup in place, I went to see if I could calm things down.

When I approached, ‘Uncle George’ was angrily announcing that he would give ‘the fake minister’ a piece of his mind as soon as ‘he’ arrived. He was very surprised when I introduced myself, to say the least. Since I am female and a fully legal minister, I apparently didn’t meet with his standards along with the rest of the wedding taking place.

As he continued his rant, I must confess I became very angry, but tried hard to control myself. I told George that if he didn’t stop making a scene, I would have to have him removed until he could do so.

Then George did something I never, ever would have expected. He glared at me demanded to know ‘you and what army are going to throw me out?”

I guess he hadn’t actually looked around, lately.

I raised one hand and snapped my fingers. My two National Guardsmen appeared by my sides as if by magic, snapping to attention in a beautifully intimidating display of discipline. “YES, MA’AM!” they growled loudly. Those boys were very good friends of the Groom.

“You will escort this gentleman to a seat and place him in it,” I said. “If he makes any noise during the service, you will remove him immediately, is that clear?”

George was speechless. His wife was tugging warily on his sleeve, pleading with him not to make any more fuss.

“Yes, Ma’am!” Said the Guardsmen, and they politely but firmly escorted Uncle George to a seat, and I never heard a peep from him for the rest of the evening.

The wedding went off as planned, and our couple was very pleased since the next line of storms held off long enough to even get pictures. As for George, I later learned that he had been some sort of a big shot in a local corporation and expected that the rest of the family should therefore be compliant to his wishes in every possible way. The bride’s father was very happy that George had been routed. Since it was done by the minister, he couldn’t come back on the family.

The moral of the story is that you may be rich, you may be famous, you may be influential and wealthy and important, but if you are not the bride or groom, you don’t get to make a scene on someone’s wedding day. It’s unbelievably rude and crass, and will be remembered for all time, I can assure you. It’s not your wedding and you will do well to smile and bring a present and be nice.

Don’t be a George!

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