The New Chivalry

The New Chivalry
Photo Credit: Alzbeta Volk, Used with permission

He took a towel and tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.  (John 14:4-5)

On Holy Thursday, I watched our bishop wash the feet of twelve individuals, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the night he was betrayed.  Regardless of status or stature, a person washing the feet of another looks humbled.  The shoulders are hunched, the back is bent, and the person doing the washing is on their knees on the bare ground, a position of complete humility.

It is springtime, and weddings are aplenty.  One of the traditions performed at many weddings is the garter toss.  I find it to be utterly revolting tradition which involves removing an undergarment from the bride and tossing it to a pack of lustful bachelors only to end up hanging on a rear-view mirror as a trophy of degradation.

One such event happened at the wedding of a couple I knew in college.  Matt and Julie married last week, and when the time came for the garter to be removed, Matt did something unexpected.  As Julie sat in her chair, Matt approached her with a water basin and a towel.  With perfect tenderness, he humbled himself and made a beautiful gesture of his service to her.

As husbands and the spiritual head of our households, we are called by Christ to imitate the same dedication of service to our wives. Service doesn’t simply mean helping out, but means humbling ourselves, putting our wives before us alwaysAlways = even when we really want to play MW3, and heroically attending to her needs.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Perkins


  1. I love this picture! I agree with you the whole garter toss is degrading. I refused to wear a garter or do any sort of garter toss at my wedding.

  2. I am in love with this photo – how beautiful!!! And your commentary is just as moving. Thank you!

  3. This is absolutely beautiful! I predict a lovely and long marriage for this couple. I love the looks on the faces of the men standing behind – I hope they are paying close attention. The look on the faces of the bride and groom are fantastic! Serenely lovely.

  4. ..if only all men would treat their wives this way.

  5. wow! This is lovely- it should be a new tradition- for couples that want to be married for 50+ years.

    Another tradition that’s awful- smashing cake into each others’ faces- a bit (passive)aggressive, don’t you think?

    • Priest’s Wife, good to see you! You must have come here from CMR. :-) I’ve seen you comment there many times.

      My wife smashed cake into my face. I wasn’t expecting it. Truth be told, I found it humiliating. I had to go clean up and calm down. Never did get to eat a piece of my wedding cake.

      Washing the bride’s feet is a MUCH better tradition.

  6. This is such an amazing idea. My girlfriend and I have been talking about a wedding for months, I just started a new job and I’m trying to save up so I can buy her a ring and make the wedding happen.

    We’re talking about a traditional Latin mass, and most of my family is anything but! Can’t wait to do this! It’s going to be a great surprise!

  7. The only thing worse than the garter toss is the very questionable practice of putting the garter on the girl/woman who catches the bouquet. When I was single, I generally tried very hard to avoid going out to catch the garter at weddings, and if I did end up going out, I would simply make no attempt to catch it.

  8. Great article!! While we’re at it, one more unfortunate wedding tradition that should die a quick death is the bachelor/bachelorette party. Even if there is no immoral “entertainment” (strippers, strip clubs, lingerie/sex toy parties, etc), these parties imply that life with one’s future spouse is going to be so torturous and boring that the bride/groom needs a night of debauchery to get away from the “ball and chain.”

    A much better idea is for the couple to have a party with all of their friends, male and female together, and maybe start the evening off with mass or holy hour. This certainly treats the sacrament of holy matrimony with the honor and respect it deserves.

    • Assuming the parties to be chaste and sober, I’m not sure they have to be seen as anything more than a night with the guys before a change in the state of life. It is true that men generally have less time to hang out with their friends (just the guys) once their married, because marriage is better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mark the passing of that era with a little celebration.

      I’ll never forget, after my rehearsal dinner, my groomsman Travis, who is a FOCUS missionary, came to me and said, “okay, Micah, we’ve got a bottle of wine and Scrabble. Time for your bachelor party!” We didn’t end up doing either, lol. I still had to write the wedding programs!

    • My groomsmen and I went bowling and then to the church to say a rosary for me.

    • I think you are completely missing the point of the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Whatever we may say in public, they don’t exist for the bride and groom. They exist so that the couple’s closest friends have an opportunity to celebrate the wedding of their friends and share in their joy. During the wedding itself, the bride and groom must divide their attention between a large number of guests (and of course are caught up in each other too). A small gathering the week or night before may be the only opportunity for the closest and oldest friends to really spend quality time with the people about to get married.

      As per your idea of a mixed gathering…there might be something to be said for that, but most of the time the friends of the bride and the friends of the groom don’t know each other, and it is hard to really relax around strangers. Which kind of negates the purpose of the whole thing.

  9. Wow, what an absolutely beautiful photo and article. I am really touched by this… it’s almost uncomfortable, as it is so unusual in our self-centered world! Thank you for showing this piece of beauty!

    shalimamma @

  10. I love this picture! What a witness! Praying our culture follows this happy couple’s lead!!

  11. Oh my goodness, I would melt. And probably cry.

  12. That is a beautiful alternative. Very romantic.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s rather harsh view of the garter toss tradition. Two weeks ago I was at the wedding of two close friends of mine, both very strong in faith and committed to living a chaste life. They did a garter toss, and it was purely an occasion for good humor, with no lustful or degrading aspects to it. Granted, the bride put on a “fake” garter right before the toss, so really it was just an elastic band that got thrown.

    I think, as with many things, the intent and mindset of the people involved is what is the determining factor.

    • We did the garter toss too – when I bought the garter it actually came with a spare to toss. So the real one I wore during the wedding is actually in my jewelry box now. I think it’s what you make of it. In my mind, it’s just the male version of the bouquet toss (also usually done with a spare bouquet – not the real one the bride carries). It’s all symbolism. However, I think the feet washing is a beautiful symbol and wish I had thought of it!

  13. I am SO doing this if I get married!


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