Wedding Crashers

Why Priests Prefer Funerals

They paraded into the church for the wedding rehearsal like a Kardashian posse—all twenty of them, eight groomsmen, nine bridesmaids, and three toddlers. When I welcomed them, one smiled faintly, two others kept texting important messages, and the young lady with the wrist-to-shoulder tattoos sat down in a pew, made herself at home, and started touching up the polish on her nails. The rest simply ignored me. It was clear none had been inside a church since confirmation and hadn’t the slightest clue how to behave in a place of worship. We could just as well have been knocking back some tequila in Eddie’s Pool Hall and chatting about the Bruins.

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me. After all, I was warned about it many years ago, by an old and seasoned pastor who told me that he would much rather preside at a funeral—even the most tragic funeral—than at a wedding, any day of the week. At the time, I didn’t understand. But now I know exactly what he means.

I learned the lesson over the years, not all at once but gradually, on an installment plan. I learned when a couple asked me, in all seriousness, if their American Alsatian named Clyde (housebroken, they told me, and an all-around good pup) could carry their rings—on his collar!—down the aisle in the procession. I learned when I read the wedding program that listed every saloon and tavern between the church and the reception hall, inviting guests to bar-hop their way to...

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About the Author

Fr. Nonomen (a pseudonym) is the pastor of a suburban parish. He has been a priest for more than twenty years.