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Wedding Party Extraordinaire

The Florida McElroy’s sure know how to put on a party — even if it is in Italy or Maryland. Sunday’s wedding party was another wonderful affair — and it began at the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Baltimore, Maryland. After hooking myself up with some spaghetti for breakfast (the church had a donation-friendly luncheon that was just winding down as we arrived) and watching a little bit of Baltimore Ravens football, I headed upstairs into the chapel. The wedding service started about 10 minutes later at 2:02pm.

The Russian Orthodox wedding service begins at the rear of the chapel, where the bride and bridegroom are officially betrothed. The couple then proceeds to the center of the chapel, where they are “crowned” — a ritual that involves actual crowns, but also holds deep symbology related to Christian martyrs and doctrines of the Russian Orthodox faith. Finally, the couple walks three times around the lectern where the scriptures are resting, symbolizing the centering of their new life together around the gospel. Then they got to kiss. The whole ceremony was conducted in a chant, rather than normal speaking, accompanied by a small choir refrain at the end of each “verse” of the ceremony. The result was an aurally interesting and pleasing ceremony that belied its hourlong length.

After the ceremony, Father John gave some wise advice about marriage, explained parts of the ceremony, and gave more correct directions to the reception at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. After about an hour (!) of photos and waving American and Finnish flags, we took off for the reception. We enjoyed what was essentially a four-course meal that began with an excellent assortment of fruit ad vegetables banquet-style, moved to the tables for salad followed by some of the best fillet mignon I have ever had — which is not to say that I’m a steak connoisseur, but it is to say that the hunk of meat was excellent. I did like the outside a little better than the inside, but I was being adventurous by going medium when I’m usually more of a medium-well kind of guy. While still delicious, I guess I did learn that I’m still a medium-well kind of guy.

Along with the meat came some very good cheesy potatoes and some sort of spinach dish that I did not try. There were also free drinks all around, though I stuck with water myself. Finally, Kevin and Jennie cut the cake — an extravagant piece of art depicting the continental US colored by the American flag and Finland colored by the Finnish flag — with Kevin’s naval officer sword. In frosting were an alligator (symbol of Kevin’s Florida roots), Reindeer on Finland, and an E2 Hawkeye plane between the two countries. Unfortunately I didn’t get any cake, as I had to book it to get to the airport for my flight home, but the party — all two days of it — was wonderful by any description.

2 Responses to “Wedding Party Extraordinaire”

  1. Stickman Says:

    “… spaghetti for breakfast [at the] … luncheon that was just winding down” -Ryan

    The wedding sounds like it was fun. I’ve been to two weddings so far, but I was the best man at both of them. Maybe some day I’ll attend a wedding where I can come, make a mess, and then go home. It sounds a lot more fun than setting things up, being unconfortable for the duration of the ceremony, then staying late cleaning things up.

  2. Jim Says:

    The “some sort of spinach dish” was very good!

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