Why the Vice President spoke at the wedding ceremony and what the guests heard

Wedding bells are ringing around America. Only in the wilder corners of an otherwise sound news cycle did I find something about Vice President Mike Pence that seemed to make a regular person cringe. It was an important day in Annapolis.

During the ceremony, the Vice President felt like the officiating to which Annapolis and the rest of Maryland were accustomed. Annapolis loves Washington.

Mr. Pence saw Annapolis when he was governor of Indiana. He saw the Naval Academy and the City Dock, the way it reminded him of where he grew up. He asked guests to keep their guests’ meals simple. He asked them to bring their table settings instead of throwing big parties. And most important, he treated the ceremony as Annapolis expected the ceremony: as a small event.

It’s difficult to tell when Mr. Pence, who stood about a foot tall, was dressed as a priest. His clerical collar fit snugly around his neck. His gait was stiff and his demeanor businesslike. But you knew he was there because of the way he cut a solitary figure in the celebrant’s box. He stood up straight, high on one knee, half in front of the bride and half at the altar. There was nary a color, note or flower to be seen.

A little later, Mr. Pence quietly took out the evening’s ceremony invitation and read a document that was equal parts community blessing and pronouncement from the New Testament. He paused at the end, as if pausing at the end of a period of wisdom. With the help of his sleeves rolled up, he showed his hands behind him. Behind them were cufflinks, with a coin visible. He was spending his first night as a wedding minister. He had done this before.

As Mr. Pence walked the bride to the altar, the groom’s hand grasped the vice president’s opposite wrist, brushing up against his cheeks.

If there was a time to see a grown man using his physical presence to encourage a young woman in a moment of indecision, this was it. For Miss Broadwater, as the groom was known, it was also an opening moment — possibly an initial realization that the best man had just done what a lot of guys do: He kissed her on the cheek.

Ms. Broadwater waved her left hand and then her right hand — her right hand was also found at the altar. Her spirit was serene and as quiet as that reverent look in Mr. Pence’s eyes. He smiled as she swung her right hand around the taller member of the couple, pointing it at the altar in her husband’s direction.

Ms. Broadwater’s left hand waved in the same direction, and her left hand clasped Mr. Pence’s left wrist at the altar.

She gently reached out her left hand at the altar, and pulled a look out of her cheek. It was that concerned look.

The groom turned to the aisle, where the air was steamy, and with the utmost dignity spoke a few words. Then, with the clock ticking toward his wedding date, Mr. Pence stepped up to address the couple.

“There will be many blessings to the partnership you have built together, and I know that as a military couple, you will always share the solemn obligation to raise your children to be future warriors,” Mr. Pence said. “You stand here today as the leaders of their own families.”

“These moments tell our children about duty, honor and protection,” he said. “But they also tell them that the force we use to defend our freedom is one our nation has depended on since the patriots in Annapolis set sail 1770. That is the bond that binds our nation to those at home. To the sailors, ground units, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, airmen, and to our commanders in our men and women in uniform from every branch and everything that touches the sea, our leaders today welcome you to a marriage that promises to change the future.”

Watch the wedding ceremony below.

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