Question: "How should a Christian wedding be different from a non-Christian wedding?"
Answer: The primary difference between a Christian wedding and non-Christian wedding is Christ. Christians who marry are making a commitment to Christ, as well as to each other, and that commitment should be obvious to everyone who attends the wedding. In a non-Christian wedding, the couple—particularly the bride—is usually the focal point. In a Christian wedding, Christ is the focal point.
A Christian couple who truly want to glorify Christ through their wedding can start with the early preparations, beginning with biblical premarital counseling with their pastor. Premarital counseling based upon sound biblical principles outlines the roles of the husband and wife as they relate to each other and to their prospective children (Ephesians 5:22–6:4; Colossians 3:18-21). The wedding affirms before God and friends and family that the couple’s desire is to live according to God’s plan for the family.
The wedding ceremony should also be a reflection of the couple’s dedication to the glory of Jesus Christ. Every part of the service, from the music to the vows to the message delivered by the officiator, should reflect that commitment. Music should be reverent and Christ-honoring, not worldly or flippant. Vows should be taken with the couple’s full understanding that the words they speak to one another constitute a lifetime commitment and with the knowledge that what they promise to one another, they are promising to God. The message delivered by the pastor should reflect these truths and commitment.
A Christian couple should choose their attendants carefully and with their commitment to Christ in mind. Bridesmaids and groomsmen aren’t simply there to dress up the ceremony. Their presence testifies to their agreement with, and their promise to support, the commitment of the couple to honor Christ in their marriage. Along that line, the bridal gown and bridesmaids' dresses should be modest and appropriate for standing before God. There is no room for low-cut, revealing clothing in a Christ-honoring ceremony.
If there is a reception, it should be equally Christ-honoring. Alcohol should not be the focus of a Christian wedding reception, and drunkenness should absolutely not be a part of the reception. A Christian couple considering whether to have alcohol at their reception should take into account the potential issues of how it would appear to unbelievers and/or whether it could cause anyone to stumble. Ultimately, serving alcohol at a Christian reception is the decision of the bride and groom.
A couple whose wedding is Christ-honoring will remember the beauty and seriousness of the wedding for a lifetime and will find it a wonderful way to begin their life together.
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