Photo by Cindy Brown 09T, couples are planning their wedding, there’s usually a conversation about how many bridesmaids and groomsmen will be involved. For Kate Floyd 07T and Kyle Tau 10T, the issue was how many officiants would participate in the ceremony. 

The final number? Nine – all Candler alumni, like the bride and groom.

It’s only natural that Candler alums,  who have been surrounded by people preparing for ministry for several years, can call upon an abundance of friends to perform wedding ceremonies. Still, one or two folks can get the job done, so why did this particular wedding, held May 21, 2011 in Cannon Chapel, require nine? The answer lies in the couple’s approach to community and worship.

During her time at Candler, Floyd found community in a group of seven women; since graduation, they have made it a point to gather annually for a time of Sabbath and retreat.

“I view these women as my pastors,” said Floyd. “As a pastor myself, I don’t have one that I see on a regular basis. These are the people who have seen me through the most intimate moments of life. They have cried with me, laughed with me. These are the people I wanted leading the service, reading words of scripture, presiding behind the table, and serving communion.”

In other words – no bridesmaid dress required. Floyd says that details like dresses and flowers were much less important to her than finding the perfect readings and hymns. While bridal magazines offer hopes of a “dream wedding,” Floyd says she was after a “dream worship service.”

“Candler prepared me to plan worship services for a living and to understand a pastor’s role in the Christian worship service of marriage,” she said. “Performing a wedding is one of the greatest privileges in ministry. You get to be the witness for a very intimate moment between two people.”

For that most intimate moment – the vows – Floyd and Tau turned to her grandfather, Rev. Bill Floyd 54C 57T. The bride and the groom divided other parts of the ceremony carefully, considering their friends’ unique gifts. In addition to Bill Floyd, the officiants included alums Beth Bostrom 07T, Saul Burleson 09T, Nicole Christopher 07T, Candace Hirsch 08T, Sara Pugh 08T, Joshua Ralston 08T 16G Lane Cotton Winn 07T, and Anjie Peek Woodworth 08T. Additionally, Brandon Wason 09T 17G served as an usher, and Cindy Brown 09T photographed the event, capturing the day’s many magical moments. 

With their wedding day behind them, Tau and Floyd reside in Atlanta. Tau is a doctoral student in Emory’s Graduate Department of Religion, while Floyd is the pastor of Grace United Methodist Church. When she officiates weddings herself, Floyd tries to help couples integrate their own communities in meaningful ways throughout the service. Her favorite part of any wedding, she says, is communion, and she encourages couples to make serving the holy meal their first act as a married couple. Not only is it a special symbol of the covenant that the newlyweds have made with God, but it draws those family members and friends – that community that will help sustain the freshly blessed union – closer to that special, intimate moment. No alb required.