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A Bottle’s Highest Calling
Some ideas deserve to become tradition
Wine Guy Paul Johnson encountered a great new use for wine at a recent wedding ... here is his report.
This past weekend I attended the wedding of a former employee from my Daddy Jack’s days (she actually still pulls an occasional hostess shift). The ceremony was held at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis, a grand setting for any special event. It was pretty much the standard Protestant we-are-gathered-here-etc. ritual straight from the book until the minister injected an intriguing new twist.
After the exchange of vows and the lighting of the Unity candle, the program listed a “Ceremony of the Wooden Box.” The officiant called the attention of the guests to a wooden box, perhaps a foot or so square and six inches deep, displayed in front of the altar. He explained that he had asked the bride and groom to place in the box a bottle of wine and two glasses.
Then he asked the couple if they had followed his instructions and written their letters, also to be placed in the box. They said that they had and he explained that he had asked each of them to write a letter to the other expressing their thoughts and feelings and all the things they loved about the person they were going to marry. He asked them even to think back to the moment when each of them first realized that they had fallen in love.
They were then to place their letters in the box without letting their spouse-to-be see them. He went on to acknowledge that all unions encounter difficulties over the years and called upon the couple to do the following: If you come to a point where you feel you're in danger of not being able to save your marriage, you are to stop, bring out the box, open it together, drink the bottle of wine, and then go off separately to read the letter written to you by your partner on the eve of your wedding.
In short, drink a bottle together before you pack your bags or call your lawyer.
There was a palpable energy that passed through the audience as we realized the subtle genius of this idea. A young woman behind me whose wedding is to take place in October said gleefully, “Oh, I am SO stealing this!”
It was only after the couple had agreed to this instruction that he pronounced them husband and wife, and invited them to drink the bottle — if they were lucky enough to still have it — on their tenth anniversary.
Sometimes one encounters ideas that deserve to become traditions….
July 30, 2008