This being “You May Kiss the Bride” season, we asked those in the wedding business to tell us about their most unusual/unforgettable matrimony memory.
THE REV. LEKEVIE JOHNSON, pastor, Champaign’s Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church
“Think about a church setting and the music that is customary in the church.
“Then think about the look on the crowd’s face when the bride walks down the center aisle to rap artist Nelly’s 2002 hit ‘Hot In Herre.’
“The whispers, loud laughter and facial expressions spoke volumes. In the words of one of the seniors of the congregation, ‘She played the reception song at the wedding.’”
MSGR. STANLEY DEPTULA, pastor, Champaign’s St. Matthew Catholic Church
“No matter how much we encourage or expect our brides to select modest wedding dresses for church, they often push the envelope as far as they can.
“Since the bride and groom kneel through much of the ceremony and the priest is often up on a step of the sanctuary, well, you can perhaps understand one of the reasons for modesty.
“Once, when distributing Holy Communion, the Sacred Host slipped off the bride’s tongue and went right down her dress. I don’t even remember what happened next, but I am sure somehow, the Eucharist was reverently retrieved.”
SARAH COMPRATT, florist, owner of Champaign’s Fleurish
“Late ’90s. Big Sur. Clothing optional.
“Naked bride, naked groom, naked guests, lots of strategically placed flowers.”
JIM GREENFIELD, president, Champaign’s Spritz Fine Jewelry
“Years ago, the best man threw a party for his brother at a local bar. During the wild evening, the best man reached in his pocket and pulled out by mistake the rings that were to be presented at the wedding the very next day.
“The rings fell on the floor and went under a pool table.
“Late that night, the best man realized he had lost the rings. He called the bar owner and convinced him to open up. They looked all over and in despair decided to go through the vacuum cleaner bag. There, they found a bag of dirt and some assorted diamonds.
“Early Saturday morning, my doorbell at home rang and the best man presented me with a pile of loose diamonds and a twisted, broken piece of gold that resembled a ring. With hours to go before the ceremony, I gave the best man a ring sample that he could use to get through the ceremony.
“When the cherished moment for the groom to put the beloved rings on the bride’s finger arrived, she looked down and blurted out: That’s not my ring.
“Needless to say, the marriage did not last.”
THE REV. NICK CARLSON, pastor, Gibson City’s New Beginnings Christian Fellowship
“Several years ago, I officiated my niece’s wedding. They wanted a medieval-type wedding, which was somewhat difficult to find written material on but I eventually found it. Thank you, Google.
“The wedding was beautiful and held in the woods in an old church that had no electrical power, just candles and oil lamps. In the marital service, which was done partially in Old English, it is common to give a charge to the bride and groom, telling them of their responsibilities and duties to each other in this new venture.
“So, I gave the charge to the new couple on what their responsibilities were to one another. To my niece, part of that included — and I quote — ‘You must be buxom in bed.’
“I am not a shy guy, nor do I embarrass easily, but it’s a good thing it was dark in that room because I was definitely turning red.”
THE REV. MATT FILICSKY, pastor of three United Methodist churches in Vermilion County
“I officiated at a wedding some years ago as an emergency fill-in for the original pastor due their unexpected hospitalization.
“This was an outdoor wedding held in the back yard of the bride’s family’s home that was located next to a cattle farm.
“The weather was perfect; the tent was nicely decorated, and the assembled crowd arrived on time and in their places. The wedding went well. The bride and groom said their vows perfectly. The stars all seemed to be aligned for this wedding to go off without a hitch.
“Unbeknownst to me, the entire herd of Black Angus cattle from the adjacent farm were lined up at the fence behind me.
“Just as I finished introducing the bride and groom as Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, the cattle began to moo in unison, as if on cue.”
RICK ORR, Champaign florist
“Several years ago, I did flowers for a local lady who was marrying a man from the San Fransisco area. The wedding was a beauty and they enjoyed the flowers.
“A short time after the wedding, the groom called me and asked if he could give me as a Christmas gift to his wife. He was going to arrange for me to fly to San Francisco for a long weekend to show his wife how to arrange flowers, which I agreed to do.
“It was Forth of July weekend. His wife picked me up each morning and we went to the flower market, where I showed her how to pick out flowers, and we then went to her house, where I showed her how to make arrangements from the flowers we had chosen.
“And as an unexpected treat, her husband owned cruise ships that departed from Fisherman’s Wharf. On the Fourth of July, it was arranged for me to take the evening ship out into the bay, where dinner was served and I watched the fireworks from the ship that evening. It was magical.
“The next day, I was picked up and flew back to Champaign.”
THE REV. BETH MAYNARD, rector, Champaign’s Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church
“I once worked with a mother of the bride who demanded I shoehorn a unity candle-lighting ceremony somewhere into the Episcopal nuptial mass for her daughter’s wedding day.
“Against my better judgment, I finally caved in. When the day came, the mother walked up to light her candle sporting highly colored, long artificial nails.
“As she reached in a bit too close to the candles, her nails burst into flames. That was my first and last unity candle ceremony.”
KARI SMITH, owner, Champaign Jewelers
“My favorite request from a couple getting married is what they choose to have engraved on the inside of their wedding rings.
“Every one is different, and I really enjoy when they request a unique engraving. Sometimes, it is nicknames or inside jokes.
“My favorites include ‘Two turtles, one shell,’ and the classic: ‘Put me back on!’”
THE REV. GARY GROGAN, retired lead pastor, Urbana’s Stone Creek Church
“At one wedding, when the father gave the bride away and stepped behind her as she stepped forward to meet her groom, he stepped on her veil and yanked her head way back.
“It was really dramatic, she gave out a shriek, and several people gasped out loud.
“I have never had a bridesmaid pass out but I have had several men pass out during wedding ceremonies.
“One of the most dramatic was a 12-year-old boy who fell over like a ton of bricks and made a huge thud sound. The other groomsmen came to his rescue but he was out cold and they had to drag him down the steps — thump, thump, thump — and and lay him on the front pew.”
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