Father Anthony Wilcox - beware!
Planning your wedding day in Henley? Looking for a catholic church? Bear the following in mind..
My then-fiancee and I were planning our wedding and we decided we'd like to get married at a Catholic church in Henley. The Sacred Heart church seemed exactly what we were looking for. So we got in touch and arranged to see Father Anthony Wilcox. Unfortunately, on the day we'd scheduled to meet him, there was an insane amount of snow but we set off to go and meet him. It soon became evident that we would not get there in time as the roads were awful. I called him to let him know that we'd probably need to reschedule and Fr Anthony Wilcox's manner when I spoke to him was very annoyed but we chose an alternate date. This irritability should, in hindsight, have raised alarm bells.
When we did first drive to the Sacred Heart church to meet Fr Anthony Wilcox, he seemed lovely. We went in, he made us coffee and we had a nice chat. So far, so good. We were to meet with him on a few occasions before our wedding day and at this point everything was great and Father Anthony was very friendly.
Closer to the big day, he slowly got less friendly and more matter-of-fact about things. When we got talking about how things would go on the day, my fiancee asked him about the whole you-may-now-kiss-the-bride thing. "Oh, I don't do that" he said bluntly. We asked if there was any way we cou- "No", he interrupted, "It's far too 'Hollywood'". His main objection seemed to be that if you allow a kiss after becoming married then the assembled guests would cheer and clap. This, apparently, is not something that should happen in a church. It seems God, obviously, would absolutely hate it if people were to be happy, joyous or celebratory inside a church!
So that was it on the matter. He simply refused to discuss it. After we left, my wife was very upset. It simply hadn't occured to either of us that such a simple thing wouldn't be allowed. I exchanged a few emails with Father Anthony, politely trying to see if there was any way he could be persuaded to change his mind but it was futile.
Father Anthony Wilcox's manners continued to decline. On the evening before the wedding, when we attended the church for the rehearsal, he was quite annoyed. Firstly, he expected everyone from both families to be there but this simply wasn't possible as some people had long distances to travel and coming down a night early was, for some people, simply not an option. "Oh well" he said, "if it all goes wrong, it's your fault.".
He was also annoyed because the photographer hadn't attended the rehearsal. This was even weirder.. We're hiring a photographer for the day, who on earth is going to expect to have to get them out for the previous evening, too? Utterly insane. "Well, you're not going to get the best pictures".. another unhelpful nugget from Father Anthony.
After running through the ceremony (which went without mishap) my wife and I were stood at the altar, going through the steps of our exit when I gave my fiance a kiss. "If you do that on the day I shall be VERY unhappy" Father Anthony said. So we then walked down the aisle whilst my fiance cried. They were not tears of happiness.
So I then went home and my fiance went with her parents to their house where she would stay the night and get ready the following morning. I later found out she spent much of that night very upset and terrified the day would be a disaster because of the utter monster who would preside over our special day.
Now, the day itself. Firstly, our photographer almost walked out because Father Anthony was so rude to him. The photographer was told to sit on a chair behind the altar, off to one side. He was not allowed to move from that spot. Father Anthony, in his infinite wisdom, declared that if he was moving about with his noisy camera, it would be a distraction. (The camera was whisper-quiet, as all good models are, emitting nothing but the faintest click). I presume that, because the photographer had not attended the rehearsal, this was his punishment.
Before the ceremony started Father Anthony addressed the congregation and mentioned to them that they should please not throw confetti outside the church. Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, adding "Go and throw it on someone else's property" is just being obnoxious.
The ceremony itself? Actually wasn't bad.. All went well and Father Anthony said lovely things. Then the signing of the register - during this the congregation started talking amongst themselves and Father Anthony told them, rather bluntly, to make less noise. He then critised my mother-in-laws signature for being "messy".
Once the signing was done, Father Anthony turned to the congregation and said "Please welcome the bride and groom" as we walked back to the altar. There was clapping and a few cheers. Father Anthony's faced turned to thunder and he scowled at everybody. By this point, this actually made me happy.
So, put simply, Father Anthony Wilcox has issues. Serious issues. I'm putting this page online in the hope that another young couple who are planning their wedding day may find it and not have to suffer the nightmare that we went through.
Father Anthony? You're a man of God and should be thoroughly fucking ashamed.