We had a wedding in church today. There was a classic example of something our building does brilliantly - and something I've never seen before, which really moved me.
This was a couple who knew what they wanted. No organist - they brought a (fantastic) string quartet in to play everything. They wrote out their orders of service without consulting me and we had to do a bit of re-writing. They even got tiny tots to walk up the aisle unaided (frankly, a task unheard of in human history). The bride wanted bridesmaids to walk in ahead of her, and I don't usually allow this - because of the thing the building does - but she had chosen a piece of music which made sense, and so I had the bridesmaids enter through a different door, and then...
You see, we have a south entrance for weddings. Liturgical west, actually, opposite the altar, but geographical south. Unlike most Anglican churches (which are built on an east-west axis) we are built north-south. And that means, that when we open that South door as the bride arrives, she is bathed in sunlight, the whole entrace frames her in silhouette, and the effect is quite magical. You don't want to waste that on bridesmaids.
So the bride came in through that door after the others had used the usual congregational entrance, and the sun came out on cue and the moment was stunning.
But still more stunning was the moment when, as she walked up the aisle on her father's arm and approached her husband-to-be, this remarkably organised and efficient and everything-in-place young woman mouthed to her still-just-about-fiance, "I love you". The spontaneity of the moment, the depth of her feeling, the truth of their love hit me full force. I loved it, and will not forget it.
Obviously I have no photo of this for you. I'm the kind of vicar who doesn't let cameras in to church, so that memories are memories, not photos taken that replace memories of these moments.
But I do have a photo of a different kind of love for you. This was taken yesterday, and has its own sweetness. Forgive my indulgence, and enjoy!