Conversation and information about music and liturgy from a confessional Lutheran perspective.

Friday, November 12, 2010


One of my wife's friends sent her this video that is sure to strike a nerve with all musicians and pastors who perform weddings.

Being in a strongly confessional church, I don't have many "bridezillas" in my office. But I've had a few in my days.

In addition to some medicinal laughter for pastors & musicians & their families, I also recommend the following for those who don't understand why most of us vastly prefer playing for funerals over weddings.

(Warning: one four-letter word. Don't worry, it's not a commandment-breaker. Just a heads up not to watch this with unconfirmed minors.)


Pastor Bowman said...

That was good. Thankfully, I haven't had any that were that bad! I pray I never do. It also makes me thankful we do not do weddings for non-members.

Phillip said...

Thanks for the comment. I was beginning to wonder if that was over-the-top or something!

Yes, we don't do non-member weddings, either. One reason why I don't have many stresses with weddings at Bethany. Thanks be to God.

There was one parish I served, though, that SOUGHT non-member weddings. (!) Some leaders thought it was "evangelism". The chair of the worship committee even wanted me to do a promo for weddings at the city's annual Bridal Fair. (which I declined to do)

I'll always remember one bride calling a special second meeting to argue for music from Phantom of the Opera. They were non-members. I refused, but they tried to do an end-around. Fortunately we did have some written policies that I could stand on. Nevertheless, one of the pastors let me know afterwards that he had received a complaint letter from the bride's mother.

This same couple sent up a drunken uncle to ring the church bell. At the last minute. They wanted to "involve him" in the service, but evidently didnt' have anything else for him to do. When asked how many times we ring the bell, I told him, and also added that the exact number was not a big deal and that I would be fine with whatever he thought best or whatever the couple, the bride's mom, or the wedding coordinator (yes, they had one of those) decided.

Imagine my surprise when, during the last piece of my preservice music, he came staggering out of the balcony in a panic and, liquor on his breath, harangued me while I was trying to play with the insistent request: "How many times am I supposed to ring this? HOW MANY??!!!"

Between phrases I told him what was our usher's custom: 12. I said "12 would be fine."

He went to the bell tower, rang it a couple of times, softly (guess it was too much for him), and then went down the stairs. After a pause I went ahead with the Processional.

Of course, the bride's mother blamed me for messing up the "ringing of the bell" along with her other silly compaints.

There. I feel better know. (!)

Pastor Peters said...

I had a peripheral family who made a huge fuss about music and, well, everything at the wedding. They had planned the music (Phantom included) and when we said "no" she thought she could end run by bringing a boom box and a cd to use in stead of the organist (whom she told was no longer needed -- he came to me and I insisted that it would go on as we had planned).

On the way out the door after all was complete, the mother of the bride said that it was the most beautiful she had ever seen and thanked me profusely for making sure things went right. Hours later I opened the envelope she had shoved into my pocket only to find her refusal to provide the requested honorarium for the organist and custodian as well as making a point that I was also receiving nothing and I would know the reason why...

So I pulled out $100 from my wallet for the organist, $30 for the custodian, and gave it to them (Lord knows they had a great to put up with as well), got in my car and went home. This is the first time I told this incident to anyone... thought you might like to know how it goes here as well...

Pastor Bowman said...

I hope it wasn't "Music of the Night". That would make me wonder about the nature of their relationship (I'm guessing they picked "Think of Me").

The one place I served that did outside weddings, we stated up front the Pastors had final say on all aspects of the service and that our music director had a list of acceptable songs.

We also made non-members pay up front.

Phillip said...

Thanks for sharing, Pastor Peters - and thank you for paying the organist. Hope relating that story was theraphic for you. ;)

I bet all our readers could share a few horror stories on this subject!

For the record, the song from Phantom was "All I Ask of You". So, Pastor Bowman, at least they weren't thinking "Music of the Night"!

IggyAntiochus said...

"I have spoken to Father Pushover about this and he said it would be alright to have 'My Heart Will Go On' sung during communion."

The first wedding I played, the bride wanted to sing "You Light Up My Life" to her husband during the ceremony. I sent her back to the pastor for that one.

The last wedding I played the mother of the bride came in and said, "Someone is going to sing Ave Maria, right?"

"No, we don't do that one here."

"Why not?"

"Because we are LUTHERANS and we DON'T PRAY TO THE SAINTS!"

I think that was 1999 or so. I can't remember. I stopped playing weddings after that!