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. Although non-Christian family members are often present at Christian weddings and receptions, serving alcohol at a Christian reception sends the wrong message to the unbelievers, a message that says there really is very little difference between those who profess Christ as Lord and those who do not. Even if the believers who plan the wedding see nothing wrong with alcohol and partake of it with a clear conscience, other Christians may be offended by the presence of alcohol, and we are not to use our liberty to cause anyone to stumble.
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.