Weddings are on my brain, probably because I’m attending my second one in a week’s time. I was a matron of honor at a wedding last weekend, and now I’m the sister-in-law of the bride (not an impressive title, but it comes with zero expenses). Since I’ve been married I’ve had the privilege to witness 4 weddings, not including my own. I’ve seen a wide spectrum of weddings. I’ve attended an outdoor one and multiple church weddings. I’ve been to buffet style receptions and cake and punch receptions. The more I see of weddings the more I’ve come to realize they are selfish events.
I’ve seen many more weddings than the four I’ve mentioned, and I have to say the majority of weddings I’ve seen weren’t God honoring. The majority of weddings I’ve been to, the focus is on the bride and groom (more often the bride). Yes, I understand weddings are the bride and groom’s special day. The problem is most brides and grooms focus too much on themselves and not enough on God. Marriage is a covenant between a man and woman, a covenant made before God. But instead of focusing on this, brides and grooms sneak God into a few minutes of their ceremony and focus more on themselves.
A wedding is a great way to evangelize unsaved friends and relatives. I’m not saying the whole wedding should revolve around the gospel message, but it should be present.The gospel changed our lives, it plays a huge part in our lives, and it should play a part in our weddings! And to have a good marriage the gospel is going to have to play a part in that, so why not start the marriage off right?
And what about the parents? My dad actually changed the tables around in the reception hall on the day of my wedding because he didn’t like how I had done it. Parents ,you’ve had your day; now it’s time to let your kids have theirs. I know your day might not have been what you dreamed of (mine wasn’t), but it was your day. You can redo your vows if you want to. Just realize that if you insist on having your own way you’re going to ruin your kids big day, hurt your relationship with them, and fail to honor Christ. My advice to parents is make a budget for your children, help them when they ask for help, and sit back and let them plan their wedding. Don’t get upset when they don’t do something the way you want them to do. Because if you do get upset you’re being selfish! This day isn’t your day and it’s not about you. It’s about your kids and the vow they are making before God.
About that budget, brides and grooms! Work with it. Don’t throw a fit because your parents didn’t give you more. And don’t throw a fit because you can’t afford a $10,000 bridal gown! You’re only going to use it one day and then it’s over with. Spend some money on the dress, but don’t set your expectations too high. Or what about the reception? So what if you can’t afford a huge meal? No one remembers the meal afterwards. Remember, your parents have retirement to think about. And this day isn’t all about you. Your wedding day is about making a covenant between you and your spouse and God. Ephesians 5:31b-32 says “the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Marriage is a picture of Christ giving himself for the church, and of the church honoring and submitting to the will of Christ. Pretty serious stuff! This isn’t something to be taken lightly. And it shouldn’t be taken lightly at the wedding.
As for the bride. Don’t freak out about looking perfect! And don’t focus on yourself to the detriment of the groom. Today’s society believes that weddings are all about the bride. Wrong! Without the groom there wouldn’t be a wedding. If he doesn’t want to be involved in the decisions, great. Make them yourself. But if he has something he wants, or he just wants to be involved, then get him involved. It’s his day, too. Let’s not be selfish brides.
And, brides and grooms, be kind to your family and friends. Your family and friends are paying a lot of money to come to your wedding. Bridesmaid dresses cost about $100 now, and those are the cheap ones. Factor in a round-trip plane ticket and the bridesmaids are shelling out close to $500 dollars for the wedding. That doesn’t include a present, card, shoes, etc. . . Groomsmen are looking at about the same costs. I think tuxes run around $80, and that includes shoes. And what about the parents? They’re paying for the wedding! And his parents have the cost of the rehearsal dinner. Don’t be demanding of your wedding party and family. They’re here because they love you. The whole bridezilla thing on tv isn’t cute in reality. Bottom line: if you want to keep your friends and family, treat them nicely!
The problem is Christian weddings are shifting away from God-centered, to bride-centered, groom-centered, family-centered, parents-centered, selfish events. Everyone comes in with expectations and wishes, and when their expectations aren’t met they get mad. When we fail to focus on our Creator, that’s when our sinful lusts come out. If we went into weddings with the desire to glorify God, then we wouldn’t have to worry about selfishness flaring it’s ugly head.
Now don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying that it’s wrong to play secular music at the wedding, or to spend time getting the decorations ready, or beautifying ourselves. What I am saying is that it’s wrong to spend more time preparing for the wedding than preparing for the marriage. How many books have you read on marriage? How much time have you spent praying about your marriage? And how much time have you spent in the Word? Yeah, it’s okay to plan a special day, but the focus should ultimately be on glorifying God and not ourselves. It’s easy to be tempted to be selfish with our weddings, but weddings also present us with a wonderful opportunity to glorify God. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31). Therefore, our weddings should be God honoring, not self glorifying.