BELLEVUE, WA—While emphasizing that they appreciated the pontiff’s support, local newlyweds John Greene and Adam Liu admitted today that they were nevertheless a little weirded out by Pope Francis standing in the back of their wedding ceremony on Saturday.
John Greene told reporters that shortly after he and his new husband heeded the ordained minister’s request to join hands and face each other, the pair took one last glance at the audience and noticed the Bishop of Rome standing quietly near a back wall and smiling.
“I guess I’m flattered that he decided to come to our wedding for some reason, but at the same time, I have to say, it was a little off-putting,” Greene said of the ecclesiastical leader’s presence at the non-denominational ceremony, which he attended alone. “Every once in a while he would give a little nod, then go back to just standing there with this smile on his face.”
“It was definitely a nice gesture; it was just kind of weird and distracting, considering we don’t know him and whatnot,” Greene added, noting that the Pope was otherwise polite and gracious during the roughly 20-minute ceremony. “I could see him clapping at the end of our vows. Like, really enthusiastically.”
Greene and Liu reported that as they walked back down the aisle following the ceremony, the Sovereign of Vatican City leaned in and whispered “congratulations” with a tear in his eye—a gesture they said was “sweet and all, but frankly a little startling.”
The newlyweds said they were equally surprised to see the Supreme Pontiff shortly thereafter at the reception party at a nearby harbor club, where he quietly listened with visible emotion as friends and family toasted the longtime couple.
“I mean, it seemed like he really enjoyed all the toasts, because I saw him laughing at the funny story of how John and I first met and he definitely teared up when [Greene’s sister] Kristin was talking about about how John proposed to me at the restaurant where we had our first date,” Liu told reporters. “I just wish we would have known he was coming, because then we could have at least asked for his dinner order and put him with some other people who came alone. It was nice he had a good time, though.”
Numerous wedding guests confirmed that although the Pope appeared somewhat reserved during the first hour of the reception, the Primate of Italy eventually loosened up on the dance floor, moving to the music for three or four songs before reclaiming his seat at the table.
Pope Francis then reportedly concluded his night by dropping off a gift box at the back of the room and slipping inconspicuously out the back door.
“He got us about $300 worth of stuff in total, which was, despite being super weird, really thoughtful of him,” Greene said while unpacking a new single-cup coffee machine and K-cup refills. “It’s just a little, I don’t know—odd, I suppose. This means he found our wedding website and looked pretty closely at our registry.”
At press time, the couple was reportedly considering where and how to send a thank-you note.