Monday, February 9, 2015

Photo essay: our solemn high nuptial Mass, part IV - miscellaneous photos and other remarks

In the two weeks since I first posted this series, numerous people have left comments on this blog and elsewhere that they were "inspired" by what they saw. I'm glad for it! But really, all I did was make a long series of requests to friends involved in the Church in some way or another. Nothing was invented; everything was drawn together from the treasury of the Roman Church's musical, liturgical, or cultural heritage, assembled in a way that I hoped would be cohesive, rather than theatrical. Most importantly, I hope the world sees these pictures as a display of traditional, Christian marriage exalted in an era that no longer respects or cares for it.

For those interested in the "complete" medieval wedding experience, you might like to know that the Sarum Manual has two post-nuptial blessings. The first is a blessing of food and drink. We had Father Romanoski use this during the reception, but it is properly intended for blessed bread and wine (or beer) set out in the narthex of the church, for the bride and groom to eat immediately after Mass. For most of Christian history, Mass could only be celebrated in the morning hours, and the bride and groom (and any other persons who received Communion) would have been fasting since midnight. These refreshments, then, are the true meaning of "breakfast": breaking the fast. I understand that many eastern churches still offer blessed bread after ordinary Sunday liturgies.
"Bless, O Lord, this bread, this drink, and this vessel, just as Thou blessed the five loaves in the desert, and the six water jugs in Cana of Galilee, so may they be healthy and sober, and all who eat of them spotless, O Saviour of the world, who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, through the ages of ages.  Amen."
The second blessing is only for the most medieval of moderns! On the night of the wedding, the bride and groom are escorted into bed, and the priest blesses them with incense in the presence of the entire party. If our wedding reception had been at home, we would have had this thrown in as well. I include this for any of you readers out there are bold enough to undergo this rite!

For the bedroom:
"Bless, O Lord, this bedroom, and all who dwell in it: that they may abide in thy peace, and remain in Thy will, and live in Thy love, and grow old and multiply into length of days.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."
And the bed itself:
"Bless, O Lord, this bed, Thou who sleepest not, nor may sleep.  Thou who guardest Israel, guard Thy servants who rest in this bed from all false dreams of demons.  Guard them while they watch, that sleeping they may meditate upon Thy precepts, and sense Thee through sleep, that here and anywhere they may be guarded by the help of Thy defence.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen."

Here are some miscellaneous photos that didn't make the cut elsewhere.

The schola rehearsing the nuptial Mass chants in the baptistery.

The altar servers say a prayer of preparation before the liturgy begins.

The priest putting on the first of the vestments, the amice.

The thurible used at our wedding. Some Roman Rite purists really hate the eastern-style bells attached to the chain here, but I love them, anyway.

My three oldest friends and their awkward faces.

I had only three relatives in attendance, but my cousin (far right) drove all the way from Georgia with a friend just to be there!


  1. Just discovered your blog-it's stunningly beautiful! Do you have any way of subscribing to new posts via email?

  2. Thank you for posting these! I've been enjoying viewing. I love your blog. I wonder if you are familiar with other aspects of marriage and the Church's discipline regarding spousal relations in Medieval times? I've come across some questions in reading English and French history during the 12th century.

  3. They catered my wedding last month and they were amazing! Don't overlook these gorgeous wedding venues Chicago!! It's something you have to check out in person. My family and friends could not stop talking about how good the food was and how sweet the staff was!