Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Reverend Father Uncle Brad

Well, I finally did my first chapel-wedding ceremony yesterday morning. There was no way of taking pictures of the ceremony, but here is me beforehand... It was a pretty strange experience, to be sure. It was in a super fancy downtown hotel on a sort of walled in porch area on the third floor. The weather was nice. We did a quick practice ceremony, during which I read out the instructions (from a script) to the bride and groom in Japanese that I only vaguely understand: "face each other, next face the crowd, now lift the veil, stand and listen while I talk, etc, etc." Then we went back to the "chapel" area, where the pictures are, and did the ceremony. There were about 30 people there, maybe 10 family members sitting in chairs up front, the rest standing. There was a flower girl and a ring boy who were both very cute. The bride trembled and wept and the groom gave her his hanky, there was a microphone right in my face and I really had no idea what I was doing. But I read through the script (all in Japanese I don't understand at all) and it went pretty well. The Japanese staff "helper" at the chapel was pretty darn nervous and didn't look too happy to me the whole time, though. But no one complained afterward, so I guess it was a success.

The ceremony consists of me announcing the grooms entrance, then welcoming the "congregation" and saying this is so-and-so and so-and-so's wedding. Then I announce the bride's entrance, and they play the wedding march on the PA. Then I do a Bible reading, lead a prayer, give a sermon, recite the vows (they say "hai, chikaimasu" instead of "I do"), do the ring exchange, another prayer, pronounce them husband and wife, say kiss the bride (he only kissed her on the forehead, which I thought was a little lame), have them sign a signbook, pronounce a blessing and then say "Shinrou Shinpu Taijo!" which means something like "here comes the bride and groom!" Then I get the heck out of there.