You're going to be a bride! He popped the question!
You're going to be a groom! She said yes!
You're both thrilled, and you know the Lord has called you to be husband and wife. Married! It sounds all too good to be true. But reality soon hits you. You have to plan a wedding! It sounds both daunting and delicious. She has always dreamed of being a bride in white, just like a princess. And maybe he has thought about being a Prince Charming. You want this preparation time to be the beginning of a long life together. This section will help you with your attitude and ability to deal with the pressures of this special time.
Preparing for the wedding provides lots of opportunity for you both to learn how you are going to handle issues in your future marriage. This is an important time for you--not just in terms of a wedding, but also in preparing for your married life. Planning a marriage deals with all of the tough topics of life--money, family, couple arguments, compromise, and so forth that you will face for the rest of your married life. As important as planning a romantic, wonderful wedding is, learning all that God has for you to learn in this time is even more important. It's a grand adventure. Let's get started.
What's Really Important? Your Walk With God!
COLOSSIANS 3:1–2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
God wants to be at the center of everything that you do, even your wedding planning. He wants you both to walk closely with him during this process and grow ever closer to him and to each other. Yes, this time will be highly stressful, but he can give you the strength to respond and react in a godly manner to each other and to all the other people you'll be dealing with. Your first priority should be to determine that you want God to be glorified, and then you can use that commitment as the lens and filter through which you do everything. Keeping your mind set on that will raise you above common problems and stresses.
How Others See It
Anne Graham Lotz
"Have you invited Jesus to come into your home? To be a part of the wedding you are planning? To participate in your marriage? Marriage was His idea. He gave the basic ground rules for it. He knows how it works best. And He longs to be invited to come into yours.
Danny and I invited Jesus to come to our wedding from the first moment we were engaged. In fact, inscribed inside each of our wedding bands is a triangle that signifies there are three of us in this relationship. God is at the apex, Danny and I at the lower corners. Our commitment was that as we grew closer to God individually, we would also draw closer to each other."
Premarital counseling is an essential tool for going into your marriage with realistic expectations. Many churches offer premarital classes. All couples have a better chance at a happier marriage when they take advantage of as many preparatory opportunities as possible. Consider finding a mentor couple with whom you can develop a friendship.
As you consider the kind of wedding you want, have you thought about how the wedding customs of our "traditional American wedding" came about? The truth is that most of the traditions we think of and that we see at weddings in America were influenced by the traditions of our ancestors who came from many different parts of the world. In the past, America was called "a melting pot," meaning that many things contributed to and melted together to form the culture we call "American" today, and that certainly applies to weddings.
Here are some interesting ideas about where some of those influences came from--just keep in mind that historians and experts don't always agree on these things, but it's still fascinating to think of them:
- Bridal Shower Several traditions refer to this. One is that at a party, the bride's friends placed small gifts inside a sun umbrella and opened it over the bride's head.
- White Wedding Dress In the beginning, the bride simply wore her best dress, but in the 1840s Queen Victoria chose a white wedding dress rather than the royal silver one. And brides have unknowingly copied her to this day.
- "Tying the Knot" In the Roman Empire, the bride wore a girdle tied in knots. Thus, the wedding was described as "tied in knots."
- Throwing the Wedding Bouquet The bride was considered lucky, and people tried to tear a piece of her dress as a good-luck charm. The bride's tossing the bouquet gave the people the possibility of a good-luck memento without having her dress torn.
- Bridesmaids' Dresses Often there was much superstition, and since the bride needed to be protected from evil, bridesmaids wore dresses like the bride to confound evil spirits.
- Bride's Veil Some researchers believe that because marriages were arranged, the groom didn't always see his bride beforehand, and, for fear that he wouldn't like what he was being "given," she was veiled until the deal was sealed.
- The Money Dance Some couples didn't have enough money for a dowry, so the money dance assured that the bride's family would have some money to give to the groom's family. Today the money is often used for the couple's honeymoon.
- Tossing Rice Originally nuts and grains, which represented prosperity and many children, were thrown. But during poor harvest times, rice was tossed instead.
- Wedding Cake In Roman times, wheat or barley wedding cakes were broken over the bride's head in the hope she would be fertile. For good luck, guests grabbed pieces to take home. Historians haven't figured out where the tradition of smashing the cake into each other's faces began.
- Ring Finger Prior to the fifth century, the wedding ring was placed on the index finger. But later, the belief that a vein leading to the heart was in the third finger caused it to be changed to this finger containing the "vein of love."
- Diamond Wedding Rings Italian culture first included diamonds in the wedding ring to represent flames of love. In the earliest records, the wedding ring began on the bride's wrists and ankles where her groom tied plaited circlets to prevent her spirit from running away.
- Honeymoon Some cultures required the groom to hide his bride for a one-month cycle of the moon and drink mead, a honey-sweetened alcoholic brew that was thought to increase fertility.
- Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold One theory is that the groom and his friends "stole" the woman from another tribe, and she had to be carried into his house.
Here are a few international wedding customs:
- Chinese The bride and groom wear red clothing and serve tea to their parents. In return, the parents give the couple a red envelope filled with cash. Each mother also gives the couple gold jewelry or heirlooms.
- Scottish The newlyweds leave the ceremony to the playing of bagpipes. Gifts are most often sent beforehand and put on display at the reception.
- Jewish The marriage is arranged through a professional matchmaker who receives a set legal fee or a portion of the dowry. The wedding ceremony ends with the couple drinking wine from a glass, and then the groom steps on the wine glass, breaking it. This act, an expression of sadness at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, shows that even at a moment of greatest rejoicing, the couple always places Jerusalem as their highest joy. Another common tradition is that of the chuppah, an embroidered cloth (most often a prayer shawl) suspended on four poles, which represents the home the couple will build together.
What style of wedding do you and your future spouse desire? You need to decide together what traditions you'll want for your wedding. Each of you comes from a different background and has different family ideas and traditions. Consider writing out all the possibilities that are of interest to both of you, and then each of you number your priorities from one to ten, with one being your top priority. Then combine the lists, including as many top preferences as you can.
The confusion in planning usually comes from getting distracted by all the possibilities and discouraged by all the wedding horror stories you've heard. Trying to make sure that none of those horror stories, or even mistakes, happen to you is the wrong goal. Don't focus on others' disappointments; focus on choosing what will please the two of you.
Prioritizing will guide your decisions and may prevent last-minute panic. If you run out of time, it won't be crushing because you will have taken care of the important aspects of your wedding.
Excerpted from What's in the Bible for Couples © 2007 by Kathy Collard Miller, D. Larry Miller, and Larry Richards, Ph.D. Copyright © 2007; ISBN 9780764203848
Used by permission of Bethany House Publishers. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.