Several events have conspired of late to turn my mind to the topic at hand. The engagement of one of my best friends, along with my own one year anniversary, the beginning of “wedding season”, and the one upcoming anniversaries of several of my friends (along with the finishing off of the last of our wedding wine tonight at dinner) have all reminded me of what it is like to plan a wedding. Planning a wedding is tough, and there is no shortage of people out there wanting to tell you exactly how each minute detail should be arranged.
With all that in mind, I am writing for my good buddy recently engaged and anyone else who may be involved in weddings in any way in the near future. I am not writing to tell anyone how to do it, but rather, I am simply giving some humble offerings gleaned from experience and observation. Some of the things mentioned we did in our wedding; some things mentioned I wish we had done. Some of the things we did, we did well; others we should/could have done better. Nevertheless, here for starters, I think, is how to make a wedding glorifying to God:
Underlying principles to have in mind as you plan the service:
1. Remember that it is first and foremost a worship service. You are not celebrating something that has happened in your life, but the way that God has graciously and lovingly done something in your life. That perspective makes all the difference in the world. You are not the focus. How God is working and has worked in your lives is the focus.
2. Remember that the true wedding to be celebrated is not your own. Your wedding is an image and representation of the true eternal relationship between Christ and his Bride (the Church). The celebration of your marriage, then, should function as the rest of the marriage should: By acting as a big mirror, pointing others to the goodness of Christ and all that he has done.
3. The gospel must be preached to the unchurched. There are many people present at any wedding who have never and will never set foot in a church outside of this and other weddings and perhaps funerals. Use this opportunity. Make the gospel message free from “Christianese” and easily comprehensible to all.
With those principles in mind (in no particular order):
- Don’t allow any distractions during the ceremony–it is sacred. Plan ahead and make it clear to the guests what should be done with children.
- Memorize your vows to the best of your ability and proclaim them loudly and clearly, while making eye contact; Say it like you mean it!
- Absolutely soak the whole day in Christian music o When you sing, sing like you mean it! Redeem the time for the gospel; whenever music is being played (ie. solos/special music, dinner music, etc.) have it gospel-oriented.
- Preach Christ and him crucified. Keep it biblical and simple.
- Reflect a high view of Christian marriage in the declaration of intent, statement of purpose, giving away of the bride, vows, preaching, etc. Everyone in the world these days has a low view of marriage. Don’t let them think for a second you feel the same as they do.
- Keep the joy to a sober bliss (ie. don’t be goofy). There are times and places (namely, the stag or the night before) for goofiness. Keep a reverance for the day.
- Do not refuse to cry–experience the emotions God has given you for all they are worth.
- Make sure the speeches are all planned and appropriate.
- Entrust the day to the Lord and then relax! o This requires much hard work and even more prayer beforehand.
- Have a godly MC!! Absolutely crucial. We were very blessed by and through ours. In a very real sense, he is the one who sets the mood and the atmosphere for the whole evening. He is (in a way) the “face” of your wedding to a lot of people.
- Suck all the joy you possibly can out of every moment! Take mental pictures and constantly be reminding yourself of what God is giving / has given you this day.
- ENJOY IT TO THE GLORY OF GOD!
- And for goodness’ sake, have a little wine! (Obviously this calls for wisdom, but when possible, receive and enjoy with thanksgiving!!)
I am very interested in comments and additions. What else can we offer our brother to help him plan this wonderful day?