Weddings are full of symbolism! From the selection and role of the bridal party and the groomsmen, to the color of dress and cutting of the cake…everything has a symbolic meaning. Consideration is given to the color and style of the wedding dress, as well as to the wearing of “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” During the service, you may have a unity candle, the lighting of the candles, private or corporate communion, the mixture of the sand (a Florida favorite), the seating of the mothers, giving of a rose to the moms at different points of the service, the wearing of the veil (or not), the tossing of the garter and bouquet, not to mention the cutting and sharing of the cake the decorating of the departure vehicle…and the list goes on. Everything has a symbolic meaning.
One of the symbols that is losing prominence in our culture is the conviction of having a “church wedding.” Now I know the church is not the building. I know that where two or three are gathered… I get all of that. At the same time, I also know the significance of choosing the church community whom you worship with to celebrate this most solemn of commitments…the marriage.
Often times the consideration behind the choice of venue is what would make great pictures…or what would be “cool.” The venue may be chosen because the couple are beachgoers and want to look out across the ocean at the potential of their love. Sometimes the choice of venue is about seating capacity or even economics. Should not the message of the primacy of the lordship of Christ and the value of the church community also be a major consideration?
The symbols of a wedding communicate. If a father doesn’t give the bride away…it says something. If the bride chooses a red dress rather than white…it says something. We may or may not DESIRE for these things to communicate a message, but they do. Doesn’t the “place” we choose to solemnize our vows also say something?
I am not certain that Christians have the right to trumpet the TRUTH that marriage is a holy and lifelong covenant between one man and one woman before a holy God…while at the same time failing to elevate the value of the covenant by choosing to have a wedding ceremony at a ballpark or the beach. Now if the couple doesn’t value the church and the Lord…if they are not Christ-followers…I get it! Skip the church! I probably would as well if I were not a Christian! Make great pictures on the beach or on the summit of a mountain or under a gorgeous waterfall in Hawaii. After all…your pictures are your longest lasting residual impact of the day in this case. You’ve no intention of invoking the blessing of God since you have never trusted Him as your Lord. Don’t confuse the symbolic nature of a church wedding!
For believers…if we truly value the institution of marriage as God’s design and we truly value the church community as God’s community…our people in a “foreign land,” why would we not want this most solemn of commitments to be made in the place where we worship our God weekly and among the people we share our life journey with? Remember, everything communicates a message. Make sure this one is the one you wanted to share.