Wedding ceremonies happen in various locations worldwide, from local parks to church buildings. Destination weddings are still prevalent in a post-pandemic time, with couples choosing to invite their guests to a favorite locale, whether on a tropical island or with snow-capped mountains in the background. Still, are Christians required to get married in a church?
What happens at traditional Christian weddings?
Christian wedding practices have varied throughout history and typically depend on the culture where the ceremony happens. U.S. traditions include bridal showers before the wedding and elaborate or simple ceremonies in a chapel or church building. The celebrations have grown to include couples’ or grooms’ showers to honor and prepare the woman and man for married life.
The wedding ceremony starts with music chosen by the couple, timed according to the guests’ arrival. Revered guests, like family members and close friends, sit in the front row or near the front to see the wedding. An officiate or clergyman stands in the front center, facing the guests, with the groom standing at the officiates’ left. Once the groom is settled, his groomsmen join the bridesmaids at the front of the sanctuary, standing on the side of their respective parties. A particular song, chosen by the bride and groom, plays, and the father of the bride walks her down the aisle to her waiting groom.
The typical sequence is the bride’s father giving his daughter to the groom by putting her right hand in the groom’s. Then, the officiate performs the ceremony, marrying the couple and presenting them to their guests as the newlywed couple. Afterward, a reception gives friends and family an informal way to celebrate and honor the newlyweds. Receptions can be at a remote location or at the wedding venue itself.
Does the Bible mention weddings?
The weddings cited in the Bible were Jewish, but the groom’s Father typically chose the bride. According to Deuteronomy 20:7, the betrothal period lasted up to a year, serving as a covenant before consummation. The groom would prepare for the wedding day and, with his Father’s approval, the wedding feast day, which went on for up to a week, started when the groom went to pick up his bring and bring her back to the house he prepared for them.
Are Christians required to get married in a church?
A marriage between a woman and man, as created by God, is an agreement and vows made between the couple are in the sight of God. Christians aren’t required to be married in a church, but because God established marriage, it must correspond with His purposes and guidelines. As such, a Christian couple should ensure that they’re equally yoked, as described in 2 Corinthians 6:14. The woman and man should be true Christians, meaning they surrendered to Jesus and claimed Him as their Lord and Savior. They should also pray for and about each other.
Couples should also meet and pray with their pastor for marriage counseling to better understand Christian marriage. Once the pastor gives the okay based on the Bible, the couple can move forward. Next, the couple must acquire a marriage license from the authorities God put in place for our protection, as detailed in Romans 13:1. A man and woman are joined in holy matrimony in the sight of God and men, which shows that the betrothed is trying to keep away from evil, as we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, which a public declaration of their union partly assures.
Finally, the couple should arrange a venue and date for their pastor or another Christian officiate to perform the wedding ceremony. The couple should be very discerning to ensure the pastor gives a biblical wedding ceremony. A solid Bible-teaching pastor will expect this, giving the couple a pat on the back for their care, guaranteeing they enter an agreement that glorifies God.
Whether the couple marries in a church or elsewhere, the critical factor is meeting these criteria. In marriage and life, we should honor God, as explained in 1 Corinthians 10:31. Genesis 2:20 reminds us that God created marriage when He created Eve as Adam’s suitable helper. When a woman marries the man God chose for her, she honors the Lord in her submission to her husband as the spiritual leader of their household. The couple should keep each other as they love God, as detailed in Ephesians 5.
As His believers, we are the church, so genuine believers always get married in the church, no matter the ceremony’s location, assuming the couple wouldn’t choose a questionable site. However, weddings performed in a church setting have a unique nature because the church is where believers gather weekly to worship God. The sacred ground lends itself to the seriousness of the couple’s vows as they make their promise to each other before God. However, to reiterate, the couple’s hearts matter as they go before God and their loved ones to pledge their loyalty and love until death parts them. A beautiful saying that illustrates the vows as the rings are exchanged is, “I give you this ring before God as a sign of my vows, promising to honor you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."
Are there weddings in heaven?
We know that weddings are an earthly covenant between man and woman, but will there be weddings in heaven? Jesus answers this question in Matthew 22:29, which says that people won’t be given in marriage or marry at the resurrection. Instead, they’ll be like angels in heaven. The Bible also answers this question in Luke 20:35-36, which says, “But those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; for neither can they die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
A wedding is a magnificent affirmation of a Christian couple’s pledge to each other before God. It should be a happy event for everyone, no matter where the ceremony occurs. God will be glorified when He is at the center of everything.