The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

Month: January, 2016

Novus Locus!

As some of the cleverer among you may have discovered, the Site has Moved! Welcome to the new Unified Reticulated Locus for the Steampunk Vicar, http://www.steampunkvicar.com! This Site is now available for all your Neo-Victorian Clerical Needs.

More Updates are forthcoming, but for the Nonce, enjoy the fewer Key Strokes required to reach me!

You may also now contact me at the new Electronic Post Address, vicar@steampunkvicar.com. It is in all functional Ways indistinguishable from my previous Address, save that it is more in Theme!

Thank you, dear and supportive Friends! And to the Rest of you, may Science fail you!

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Why would you say that? That’s horrible!

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De Diebus (or When You Might Not Want to Schedule Your Wedding)

When Shall We Two Join in Train?

calendar72Of Course, dear Readers, I should never dare to dictate to you the Details of your Wedding. As many of the Internetizens whose Weblogues and Fora I have read suggest, the Wedding is the Affair of those Persons being married – a large Party for your Guests, your Family, and your Friends, but, centrally, for the two of You. As such, the ultimate Arbiters of all Matters are, indeed, You. Your various Vendors (Florist, Caterers, Photographers, Videographers, Dirigible Captains, and, of Course, your Servant) will inform you of what they can or cannot achieve, and you will balance your Employment based on their Requirements and Abilities.

However, if you wish to obtain for yourself the greatest Flexibility in your Vendors, and, most especially, your officiants, you will pay Heed to the proceeding Advice.

During Business Hours

I am by no means immune to the Arguments in Favor of the Friday Vespers Wedding, say five Hours after the Meridian. Venues, Vendors, and many other divers Expenses shall decrease. Time for Jollity and Merrymaking are maximised, and any Honeyed Moons commence at earlier Dates and Times. Surely, there are excellent Reasons to schedule at just such an Hour.

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I regret to inform you that I shall be too busy reading and knitting to attend.

As a personal Matter, however, I must admit that such Weddings are an automatic “Swipe Sinister” for me. I am not (currently) employed by the Church, and so my Labour is more fixed than once it was. Not only would I have some Difficulty attending such a Wedding broadly, but it would be nigh impossible for me to take off the Time required by such an Event.

As strongly as I word the Editorial above, I intensify it thusly – Weddings at Teatime on a Tuesday are incredibly discourteous to Guests, Family, and any Vendor unfortunate enough to not be able to serve at Weddings full time. How precisely a Couple might be available at such an Hour (understanding that Many in the present Œconomy are working at peculiar Shifts), I am not sure. Never the less, I am unavailable, and so, too, are many of my Colleagues.

I am not the only Officiant in the Sea, (see you what I did there?) but you will lose some Options with a Wedding during Business Hours.

Times of Spiritual Weight

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No, I shall not celebrate your Union with part of the Cross. Please depart immediately, or I shall summon the Beadle.

I speak here uniquely for the Christian Crowd, and for those whose “non-denominational” Solemnizers identify in that way. Any Priest, Pastor, Minister, or Elder worth their Incense will be unavailable for the Whole of Holy Week, and very likely the Week to follow. This is the greatest Celebration of the Faith, no matter the Altitude of your Church, and it shall not be missed. Thus, I should block out the three Weekends – Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and the First Sunday after Easter, and make it a Point to arrange your Nuptials on some other day.

By the same Token, I caution against Marriages during the Christian Seasons of Lent and Advent. These Seasons of Preparation and Prayer are best observed with a Cleric’s full Attention, and long Tradition in much of the West in Fact forbids such Celebrations at those Times. When Their Graces of Cambridge (“Will” and “Kate” I find obscenely on the Aethernet) were first engaged, many thought that the Wedding would take place in March. The cognoscenti, however, knew that the Bishops of the Church of England would by no Means permit such a Ceremony in Lententide. Indeed, that Royal Wedding waited for the more appropriate Easter Season, as well it should have done.

The same goes, I suppose, for those of the Jewish Faith and the High Holy Days in the Autumn (I find here extensive Lists of Days Recommended, not Recommended, and Forbidden), and, I find, there is Reason for Muslims to be thoughtful about Marriage during Ramadan. I find no obvious Guidance on Weddings in Hinduism or Buddhism, and would advise any such Adherents to consult their own spiritual Leaders on the Matter.

When It Is Wrong For You

Perhaps an over-broad Categorization, and yet…many in my Industry and the Digital Photographs of my Generation will be all too happy to tell you the precise Details of the Perfect Wedding. Glorious Sunsets, unbelievable Vistas, gorgeous Vestments, delectable Dishes ~ all are the Stock in Trade of my fellow Vendors. The Perfect Wedding, however, is the One in which you are marrying the Person whom you Love. If, for any Reason, you have Cause to doubt the Wisdom of such a Union, I urge you to postpone, to delay, or to cancel if you must. No Sum of Treasure, no Flights or Plans, no Dreams or familial Expectations can be worth the Devastation of being married to the Wrong Person (or the Right Person…at the Wrong Time).

Victoria And Edward

No one seems to think that this is a Good Idea

As well – this Wedding, as we have said again and again, is Yours! Make it thus! Have you always wished for a snow-bound Ceremony? Make it so! Does the Change of Leaves turn your Romantic Heart? Let your Life then be turned! Do not be Steam Locomotived into a summer Wedding because it is “The Thing That Is Done.” Do not be wed when it is wrong for you.

 

De Sacredote in Nuptiis (or, Five Reasons Why You Want Your Officiant at Your Wedding Rehearsal)

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In my original Time Line, Her Majesty Queen Victoria at this point had her Mechanical Wings

As I continue on the Journey of officiating at an increasing Number of Weddings for Persons with whom I am unacquainted, I find that often, in the Catalogue of Requests, my Presence is not required at the Rehearsal for the Wedding. Many of you Brides and Grooms seem to feel that the Officiant will not add Value to this Event…I suppose? I find some of your Reasoning rather obscure.

 

If, as seems to be the Practice among many of our modern Iconoclasts, the “Rehearsal” is simply an intimate Dinner for the Bridal Party and associated Families, I am wholly in support of these couples’ Forbearance. There is little more awkward than a Cleric at a Party at which she knows no one, and such Clergy have an unfortunate inhibiting Effect on the Jollity that should proceed from such Festivities.

If, however, the “Rehearsal” is in truth a Rehearsal, and will feature a review of what is to come with Groom(s), Bride(s), Maid/Matron/Man of Honor, Best Man/Woman, other Groomsmen, Bridesmaids, Bridesmen, Groomsmaids, Parents of the Couple, Ring-bearers, Flower Children, Ring-bearing Dogs, Musicians, Interpretive Dancers, Bagpipers, and the like, then my Presence, as your Officiant, is most certainly required ~ for the following Reasons, as I shall now demonstrate.

I. I Shall Corral the Circus

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One of my favorite Weddings

Having been involved in Weddings which involved all of the Elements listed above (save the Dancers, at least thus far), I have a Wealth of Experience in bringing Order from the Chaos of these sundry Personalities and Priorities. I can help to guide Photographers and Bridal Parties in the choicest Places to stand, and can, through Jokes and Japes, maintain the whole of the Cavalcade in good Humour as we await the inevitable Delays. Children, Dogs, and all other such Actors do not faze me, and nor shall they faze you, as we practice what is to come.

 

II. We Will Do Better with One Run-Through

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Gilbert is much funnier in my Time Line, but Sullivan’s Music is superior here

Arguably, your Wedding is one of the most important Ceremonies of your Life ~ perhaps the most important, depending on your Career, etc. No one anywhere in the Spheres thinks it wise to perform a Ceremony with no Practice. Even if there is but one Run-through of the whole Process, there shall be then no Confusion amongst the Participants about what will happen, or in what Order. A Rehearsal solidifies Lines, the proper Blocking, to wit, where the Participants will Stand, the Order of the Service, and in general, the Expectations of the Couple and the Officiant. Re-inforcing the tasks of your less able Participants (cf. Dogs, Children, Grandparents, or inattentive Friends) can only help them to make your special Occasion even more special.

 

III. We Will Catch Things

“Oh,” your fainting Groom will say to you as I pose a Query that had occurred to no one. “I hadn’t thought of that.” No, you had not. It is conceivable, though unlikely, that you have participated in as many Weddings as I have, in the Office of Bridal Party or otherwise. Believe me when I tell you, though, that, there are always Details that evade even the most assiduous Planner, Groom, or Bride. Taking time enough to assure that all concerned are on the same Page minimizes those tiny (or enormous) Surprises with which all Life, and especially Marriage, are seasoned. Is the Music prepared? Are the instruments in tune? Will both Brides be able to safely ascend the Stairs? Will the Height of both Grooms need to be accentuated? Is there some sort of Sand that we intend to use, and can we practice with it beforetimes? Better far to encounter these Challenges the Day before than the Moment of.

IV. I Will Feel Better

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I sit at Home with this Expression on my Visage

I realise that this is largely immaterial to you, dear Betrotheds, but I am taking a certain Measure of Responsibility for the smooth Operation of your Nuptials, even when you ask me not to attend a Rehearsal. This can be, for me, rather an anxious Process, as I put many Hours into the Crafting of your Service, and I should like very much to do the Thing Up Right. I was much mortified when a couple whose Marriage I was solemnizing began uncontrollably to giggle during the second Prayer. I would have gladly cut the Prayer, had they asked ~ they did not know to ask, as we had not a Chance to rehearse! My Shame was a Shock, and did the Couple no Favours. I stress far more over those Weddings for which I feel unpreparerd, lying sleepless the preceding night. Please ~ for the sake of my poor, weary Brain ~ let us have a Rehearsal.

 

V. You Will Feel Better

Much more relevant to your Interests, you as a Couple will feel better having rehearsed your Wedding. My Sister once noted that, at the Altar, “One’s febrile brain has traveled to Tahiti.” Your full Cognition will not be available to you at this Time. Believe me ~ I speak from Experience. In order to maximise your Memory of the Blesséd Event, you may wish to have heard the Words previously, to have encountered the Rhythms and some Inkling of what may be to come. I aver that you will sleep better, plan better, and feel, in general, better, if you have, at least once, walked through the Liturgy, the Locations, and the Timing.

At a previous Wedding, the Maid of Honor and the Photographer got into an Altercation on where the Couple should stand. I was the loud and shameless Voice who asked what the preferences of Groom and Bride would be, for which the Groom subsequently thanked me profusely. My paramount Aim is to make your Wedding as memorable and special as I can arrange, and I will do so with much greater Effect if you are in a calm and joyous Frame of Mind ~ most easily attained when you know precisely what is coming. I can make no Promises for the Future of your Marriage; I pledge myself to the excellent Effect of your Wedding. Let us give it one go beforehand.

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What do you think? Have you Stories of hideous Horrors averted or suffered due to a Rehearsal, or the Lack thereof? Have you a Reason I did not explore that a Wedding should go unrehearsed?