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Wedding has a ring to it — hopefully

Expect the unexpected — even the wacky — on the couple's big day.

If you’ve seen the movie “Father of the Bride” (with Spencer Tracy or Steve Martin), you know how crazy wedding planning can be.

Fortunately, I’m the father of the groom. So I bought a bow tie, agreed to read a Scripture at the ceremony and set a calendar reminder so I won’t forget to show up.

Seriously, I couldn’t be more excited about my oldest son, Brady, marrying Mary Simpson, whom he met at Oklahoma Christian University.

Brady, 22, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in preaching ministry. He’s pursuing a master of divinity degree at Oklahoma Christian while working with the youth ministry at the Edmond Church of Christ.

Mary, 21, is majoring in family studies/child development with a minor in Bible. She’s a member of Oklahoma Christian’s Summer Singers, a group of seven that performs at camps, youth rallies and other special events.

On their first date, Brady and Mary ate pizza, shared hopes and dreams and — as their wedding planning website describes it — “gazed into each other’s eyes.”

Their first kiss came later.

Beautiful inside and out, Mary is the answer to a lifetime of prayers. Like our son, my wife, Tamie, and I quickly came to love Mary. We thank God for her parents, Max and Diane, who raised a remarkable woman of faith.

Like most brides, I suspect Mary dreams of a perfect wedding — with all the bridesmaids shining like angels, the cake and punch absolutely delectable and the father-in-law’s corny jokes kept to a minimum.

But the unexpected — even the wacky — is likely to happen.

Why? Because it always does.

“I like to tell the bride and groom at the rehearsal that something probably will go wrong in the service,” said Steve Cloer, minister for the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas.

Brady and Mary show off the toasters they received at their shower at the Edmond Church of Christ. (PHOTO BY BOBBY ROSS JR.)“I have experienced bridesmaids fainting, wedding music foul-ups, last-minute changes to the wedding site and trouble with putting on the rings,” Cloer added. “The one that takes the cake was the wedding where the ring bearer came down to the front, and we all expected the groom to get the ring off the ring bearer’s pillow.”

Only one small problem: The ring wasn’t there.

It had bounced off the pillow. Fortunately, the bride’s mother retrieved it on her way up the aisle. She slipped it to the groom.

But whether it’s children acting up in the wedding party or the bride and groom getting the giggles, something will go wrong, agreed Jay Kelley, evangelist for the Austin Street Church of Christ in Levelland, Texas.

“But those are sometimes the most magical memories,” Kelley said.

On the day before our wedding 25 years ago, Tamie and I went to the county clerk’s office to get our marriage license. But when Tamie opened her wallet to fish out her driver’s license, she couldn’t find it.

“There was no time to do anything but leave and go to our rehearsal dinner,” Tamie recalled. “The next day at our wedding, Dr. Elmo Hall wove in some funny material about us not having a license. I just laughed and figured we’d sort it out afterward.”

(We did sort it out … 15 years later. But that’s a whole other story.)

Brady and Mary, center, with her parents, Max and Diane Simpson, left, and his parents, Tamie and Bobby Ross, right. (PHOTO BY KELCY NASH)
Kevin Jensen, minister for the Summit View Church of Christ in Yakima, Wash., offered this advice: Don’t hold an outdoor ceremony near a racetrack on a racing night.

“One wedding I preached was held in a beautiful park with flowering shrubs and trees and perfect weather — and a car race going on about a block away,” Jensen said. “The wedding looked great, but I doubt that anyone beyond the wedding party heard a word I said.”

Good news: Brady and Mary plan to wed indoors.

Brady and Mary embark on “happily ever after.” (PHOTO BY KELCY NASH)Bad news (for Brady and Mary): David Duncan, the close family friend conducting the ceremony, likes to tell funny stories. I’ve offered to pay him extra to embarrass my son. By the way, does anybody have change for a $20 bill?

Speaking of the wedding preacher, my research indicates that (1) you should pay him and (2) you shouldn’t ask him how much.

“People spare no expense when it comes to weddings,” said Jim Hackney, minister for the Heritage Church of Christ in Keller, Texas. “Why should the minister not be compensated for his service and time?

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked in front of others, ‘How much do I owe you?’” Hackney added. “My standard answer for that is, ‘Whatever you think she is worth!’”

Proverbs 31:10 says: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

Welcome to the family, Mary.

May God bless you and Brady with a long, happy marriage in service to him.

Bobby Ross Jr. is Chief Correspondent for The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].


“The minister is not the wedding planner. Too many times, the couple/families look at the minister in this role and ask him to make way too many decisions for them. … As I tell couples, “It is your wedding. You can do it any way you like.” … Have a wedding planner or someone with knowledge to be in charge.”

Danny Dodd | North Little Rock, Ark.

• • •

“I enjoy doing weddings. I typically do four premarital counseling sessions, which I believe are necessary. I give them information to consider for their wedding, ideas concerning all the details, but I also like for them to have choices about messages, rings, vows, etc. The rehearsal shouldn’t take more than an hour if we have all done our homework, and this is not always the case.”

Don Middleton | Stephenville, Texas

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“For me, the wedding is an assembly where God is to be honored. I don’t want to hear “Keep it short” in general. Or specifically, “We want a very short sermon.” If this is not a Christian assembly, then do not ask a Christian minister to officiate. Judges are willing to marry anyone at almost any time and always expeditiously.”

Steve Kenney | Indianapolis

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“I tell the bride this is their wedding — not the sister’s, not the aunt’s, not the mother-in-law’s, not even the wedding planner’s. When someone is saying, “I think we should do this,” and someone else is saying something else, and still someone else is reminding us what is “traditional,” I am going to look at the bride and ask, “What do you want to do?” In that moment, I want her to look inside and choose the option that she likes best and forget everyone else.

Danny Holman | Greenville, Miss.

• • •

“I try to calm the couple at the rehearsal. I tell them that if something goes differently than planned not to panic, that part of my job is to deal with things in the ceremony that might go “wrong.” I warn them about little things, like rings that won’t go on due to nerves. I tell them not to force it on … just hold it there during the ring vows, then he/she can work it on, unnoticed, after they turn around.” 

Dean Kelly | Highland Home, Ala.

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