Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Runner's Job Is Never Done

Original post date: October 3, 2014

Miss Janet has often referred to the Hall of Records as the Marriage Factory - hence, the title of this blog.  That's mostly a joke about the way you enter as two people and exit joined as one couple. Sometimes, though, the analogy is closer than might seem appropriate. A couple weeks ago, I got to the Hall shortly before 9AM on Friday and there was a couple waiting to be married.  From that time until I left at 12:30, the desk was never free of licenses.

The clerks and I asked each other: why today? There didn't seem to be a numerological reason, no 8/8/08 or 11/12/13.  It was busy because it was busy.  By 10:30, it was time to engage a runner.

When an officiant finishes a wedding, it can take 10-15 minutes to get the next wedding ready: leave the wedding room, wait for an elevator, run to the desk, grab and examine the next license, call and assemble the entire wedding party, wait for another elevator, and get the party into the wedding room.

A runner is a staff member who gathers the paperwork and the wedding party and brings them upstairs to the wedding room.  A good runner can do all that while another wedding is happening, saving enough time to squeeze in an extra ceremony per hour.

From 10:30 to 12:30, my runner was bringing up a new couple + guests every 7-10 minutes.  I'd finish a ceremony and meet the couple in the waiting room.  They reviewed the license while the previous couple waited for their certificate and took pictures.  Once the new couple were ready, on we went with the wedding.  Repeat as necessary.  When the dust settled, we'd done 20 ceremonies in 3 1/2 hours.

Noted among them:
Not 1, not 2, but 3 male same-sex couples who dressed alike (or at least very similarly) to get married.  In 2 of the cases, the only way to tell the outfits apart was by the tie. That kind of synchronization is very unusual in other weddings.  Sure, there's color co-ordination - the groom's pocket square matches the bride's slip color - but the twinsies look seems exclusive to the male-male couples.

After a particularly joyous opposite-sex wedding, the guests formed a prayer circle.  Though I am not permitted to join any form of worship, the worship itself is certainly allowed. This one was serious, with praising and "Amen"s bouncing off the walls.  There was also talk of the wife's duty to surrender to her husband, as adherents surrender to the church. Not how I feel, but the couple seemed fine with it.  I hope their faith and joy last throughout their marriage, although I wouldn't press too hard on the "obey" part if I were him.

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