Our middle daughter, Valerie, is getting married this Friday and it won’t be the kind of wedding we’ve been paying for and planning for the past several months. Social distancing and travel complications mean there will be fewer than two dozen of us  in the Central chapel. It’ll be a very small affair, just our immediate family, hopefully David’s immediate family from Virginia, a couple of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and our church Covenant Group.

Our great friend Dale Cooper was commissioned by Valerie several months ago to construct the wooden hexagon-arch-thing that will frame the stage for her wedding. And, of course, he did a fantastic job. He delivered it to the church building on Friday and it’s just perfect. Valerie even helped Dale screw it together.

This is where I’ll stand when I tie the knot for Valerie and David in four days. And then on July 24 we’re going to reconstruct the hexagon and do it again, this time with a much bigger crowd in a longer ceremony with music, dinner, and a dance; and grandparents, college friends, and people from Marble Falls, Mesquite, and Legacy we haven’t seen in years. This second wedding is the one we’ve been paying for and planning. This is the one we’ve been gearing up for and anticipating. This is the one Whitney’s been counting down every day for a year. But it won’t happen until July 24.

And that makes this week’s wedding kind of strange. It’ll also be weird to do it again in July.  Both of these weddings present their own unique challenges for the principle players and the families. But both of the ceremonies are very important. This week’s wedding is the official one with the solemn vows and the marriage license.  This one sets the foundation for their marriage:  the Word of God, the promises we have in Christ, the vows to love and serve the other in the name and manner of Jesus. The second one, two months from now, will be a repeat in some ways, but it’s just as important. David and Valerie need to celebrate with the people in their lives who have loved them and shaped them into the wonderful man and woman they are. They need to thank those good people and acknowledge the role each of them has played in nurturing them and caring for them through critical times in their lives. And those faithful people need to witness this ceremony and make their own promises to love and support this new couple. David and Valerie need to feel that, the weight of their vows in front of God’s gathered people.

So, it’s two weddings.

I’ve been worried about how I’m going to hold up doing this once, but now I’m doing it twice. I think I’ll charge Valerie double. And no matter how much fun it turns out to be, I’m not doing it again in September.