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Scandalous No More

If you had a “destination” wedding fifty years ago something was wrong with you.

Well, not actually “wrong,” but it was certainly thought, and probably whispered, “Howard and Madge aren’t getting married in church!”

And the conclusion was drawn, either she was pregnant, or he was a crook, or the family was “not from around here,” or the church knew something she wished she didn’t.

But today, at least as far as my South Carolina context will prove, “we’ve come a long way baby.”

Destination weddings are the fastest growing segment of the wedding industry, and the church should take notice that her venue monopoly is slipping. As a vocational minister, a true “inside guy,” some might think I see this as a missed opportunity by the church, or a sign that the dreaded apocalypse is upon us.

Nope. Neither sanctuary nor cathedral nor synagogue nor ashram is “holier than” because of human consecration. Indeed, I have pronounced marriage beneath a Live Oak and astride a coastal marsh and ensconced in an historic venue that could rival Mt. Vernon for significance and beauty, and to be sure, there is no one venue that is more sacred than another just because someone says so.

And, here is where some “religious” math that need be applied. If the rate of healthy marriage versus unhealthy has ever had anything to do with venue, that being, “church” weddings producing healthier marriages than “destination” weddings, I’ll eat my hat.

So here’s to you, our beloved South Carolina Sanctuary, where San Souci Plantation in Sumter, and Congaree Land Trust, and Edisto Beach, and Fripp Island provide a altar to the world. Here’s to you Robert Mills and Siebel’s House, and Rutledge Chapel, and Senate’s End, and the State Museum, and that den with the big fireplace adjacent to your kitchen where we signed the marriage license next to the coffee maker. Here’s to you, Earth, and anywhere two people join to commit themselves to journeying with each other toward devotion.

And if devotion is your destination, where you start really doesn't matter that much, does it?

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