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As a pastor, I have done my fair share of performing wedding ceremonies for couples. I have also attended many weddings just as a guest. In many ways, weddings are pretty similar and standard. Lighting of candles by mothers, the processional, cute kids, the bride, songs, prayer, message, vows, rings, prayer, unity candle (as the special praise is playing), giving roses to parents, pronouncement, benediction, announcement, and the recessional.
Of course the order might be slightly different from one wedding to the next, but in general most of these elements are there.
So the question is: What gives one wedding a different “feel” compared to another?
In light of several weddings that I performed more recently, I began to think about this a little bit more. Let me start off by giving some HUGE disclaimers. The things that I am about to write about do not discredit any of the weddings that some of the readers of my blog might have had in the past. Also, I am not putting down any weddings in the past, whether performed by me or someone else. Hmm… let’s see… are there any other disclaimers?
Bottom line is that I am just making my personal observations from the perspective of a pastor who has performed weddings.
I think, from a pastor’s perspective who is performing the wedding, there is a different feel when these things are evident:
2) When the relationship of the couple was brought into the light within the biblical community from the beginning stages (a.k.a. no shady stuff). I think it is obvious when people know (or sense) that it was God who brought the couple together. It gives off a different feel because people know the testimony of God’s faithfulness in the couple’s relationship from the beginning. The bottom line is that the relationship was brought under spiritual guidance.
3) When the whole church community is invited to be a part of the celebration. This element is a sticky one and it will be like walking through a landmine; therefore, I will tread very carefully as I try to explain. I fully understand about budget constraints and limitations in space and so forth, therefore when a wedding is opened for only a select few, it makes a lot of sense. In some ways, it is definitely more personal and it has an intimate feel to it. But when the whole church community is invited then there are a few unique benefits to it. First, it can become an avenue of discipleship. As the church community sees the significance of a Christ-centered wedding and a God-centered relationship, it will put a desire in the singles who witness the wedding to pray for the same thing in their lives. Secondly, there are many people in the church community that are constantly “left out” of things or are simply ignored and neglected. What a great way to minister to these people by having them be a part of the celebration. It is simply “making room” for people who feel like there is no room for them. I know, I know… I’m being idealistic. If the church community was under 100, then things would be so easy. But I am just saying.
4) When the whole ceremony is not about the couple but all about Jesus. Too often weddings can be so focused on the couple, which by the way is not wrong. But the weddings where the couple have specifically told me that they want Christ to be exalted, the Gospel preached and Christ to be the center of attention (because they have friends and family members, who are pre-Christians or have fallen away) just have a different feel. Whenever we become less and give room for Christ to become more, then you just feel a different anointing in the ceremony.