This would be the point where an officiant or wedding planner’s stomach flips over because you know the wedding has absolutely no chance of turning out the way the couple has imagined it. You now have the task of easing them into an acceptance of reality, hopefully without too much drama. Looking at my watch I knew instantly light was going to be a problem. Checking into the hotel, changing clothes and getting back to the park simply was not feasible before sunset. I told Eileen I would meet her in the hotel lobby and we could step out onto the beach from the hotel’s pool deck. She balked because of the romantic notion of being married where they’d had their first kiss.
Someone, at some point, thought it a good idea to name stretches of beach with absolutely no thought to correlation with municipal boundaries or managed parks. Thus we have Howard Futch Memorial Beach Park located at Paradise Beach in Indialantic and Hightower Beach Park located at Pelican Beach in Satellite Beach. Despite this confusing nomenclature, I was able to ascertain the wedding could occur at the hotel and the couple would officially be married on the same stretch of beach as the park where we had originally planned to meet. Whew!
I greeted them in the lobby upon arrival and encouraged them rather emphatically to get ready as quickly as humanly possible. While they were changing, I chose a spot on the beach not too far from the steps leading down from the hotel pool deck to set up a table with their sand ceremony. I slipped into my ministerial robes and waited and waited and waited. I met quite a few lovely people from all areas of the country as I stood there at the top of the stairs.
When it became apparent we were destined for a moonlight ceremony rather than a sunset ceremony I dashed to the reception desk and asked for a flashlight. No flashlights on hand, but by sheer coincidence, one of the staff had just found a small light that clips to the end of a finger and gives off an eerie green glow. I cannot begin to imagine what the original use was for this odd little device and I’m not sure I want to know. It pinched and worked in a pinch.
Eileen and Sean finally arrived on the beach with their three guests about twenty minutes after the sun was fully set. We had a spectacular full moon behind us, but even that is hardly enough reading light. When I perform a ceremony I strive to make eye contact with the guests and smile reassuringly at the bride and groom, but that night I felt like I might as well have been speaking to a wall. I also spent the ceremony thinking how odd all of this must look from the hotel’s pool deck. Six shadowy figures huddled around a little bobbing green light.
Eileen and Sean took it in stride and were thrilled with the romance of the moonlight. I, on the other hand, was struck by the color coming from the flashlight on my little finger. Green light for a couple with an Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day—now there’s some luck for you!