“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17
After Ben and I were engaged and started the wedding planning process, we really wanted to approach our wedding day and how it was structured with this verse in the forefront of our minds every step of the way. Whether that meant we did things the non-traditional way or the traditional way, our number one priority was to use our marriage and wedding ceremony as a representation of the Gospel and to proclaim the love of Christ to others. Our biggest goal through our ceremony was to allow our friends and family to hear about Christ, how much He loves us, and for them to know and see that our marriage was a symbol of that love. With all of that in our minds, we started breaking down the HOW. How were we going to represent this love? How were we going to put our marriage over our wedding day? How were we going to show the symbolism between Christ and the church and a husband and wife? We’re going to list the five ways we feel we accomplished this goal on our wedding day below:
1. A foot washing ceremony. During our ceremony, Ben and I decided to wash each other’s feet. In God’s Word in the gospel of John, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a symbol of his devotion to humble himself as a leader and serve his followers. This may not seem like a huge deal in our day and age where shoes are the social norm and cleanliness is important. Keep in mind, these disciples’ feet would be caked with dust and the job of foot washing was reserved for a slave. Yet, Jesus, who spoke the galaxies into existence, kneels to the ground and wipes the muddied feet of his friends. What a display of love — a love that would bend as low as necessary to lift up, a love that would enter into the mess so it could make things once again clean. This is what Jesus not only does for us, but calls us to do for one another — so Ben and I wanted to declare before everyone at our wedding ceremony, that we together would everyday humble ourselves to serve one another joyfully with the love of Christ.
2. We took communion together during our ceremony. We very quickly decided that we wanted our unity component to be taking communion together as husband and wife during our ceremony. In the Christian faith, communion is the taking of his body (bread) and blood (wine/juice) as it is referenced at Jesus’ last supper with His disciples in the gospel of Matthew. Taking communion is incredibly humbling. It is a call to confession, that one’s sins may be laid at the foot of the cross. It is a call to grace and repentance, that one would accept the death of Christ as penalty for our own sins. It is a call to freedom and redemption because Christ rose again and each is made new. Communion is also a call to remember. Christ asked his disciples at the last supper to remember Him every time they ate the bread and drank the wine. So when we too remember Christ’s body and blood given for the forgiveness of our sins, we are compelled to offer grace to one another in return. It reminds us that we are ALL sinners, and we are ONLY saved by the grace of God. Our pastor shared that to share in communion as husband and wife, is to stand vulnerable and humbled together in the acknowledgement of your sins. It is to make right any division between you or sin against you. Doing this as our first act together as husband and wife, set a foundation for Christ as our hope and the source of our grace. It was acknowledging that we are BOTH sinful and must fully rely on the grace of Jesus to help us forgive one another.
3. We wrote personal vows to one another and didn’t read them until we were at the altar. This was my absolute favorite part of our ceremony. I whole-heartedly believe that writing our vows during our engagement was one of the best ways we kept our hearts focused on our marriage rather than just our pretty wedding day. We wanted to incorporate the heart behind traditional vows into each of our own original vows, but also wanted to add personal promises to one another that we could keep and remind ourselves of down the road in our marriage. It was our way of showing and portraying two people really becoming one, and we’ll be sharing each of our personal vows in a separate blog post coming next.
4. We did not go into debt for any part of our wedding. This was probably one of the most challenging parts of planning our wedding day. I didn’t come from a family with money by any means, so Ben and I were on our own when it came to paying for every portion of our wedding. We had read many many books throughout our engagement and knew the general trend of arguments in marriage stemmed from financial problems and debt. We were determined to not have to make a single payment after the day we said “I Do,” so we had to get quite creative! I cannot express how freeing it was to fly out on our honeymoon the day after our wedding knowing that everything was paid for, taken care of, and we didn’t have any financial burdens to deal with after the wedding. Most of our decor was borrowed from friends and family, my momma and I are luckily really crafty and were able to recreate pretty much anything I wanted, and God blessed in so many ways by just putting the right people in our path in order to get our rentals and everything at a cost that we could afford. There isn’t a single thing about my wedding day that I regret. Visually, it was beautiful, it surpassed all of my dreams, and my photographer captured it all perfectly. Most importantly, God was glorified by us being good stewards of our money and practicing contentment during our engagement season in preparation for our marriage.
5. We had a dry wedding, including our hotel rooms and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Ben and I went into our wedding day with the mindset that we are ambassadors for Christ, representing HIM to Christians and non-Christians. We wanted to be different. Not just on our wedding day, but that has always been the hope in our marriage. We personally don’t drink at all, because that is a conviction God has laid on both of our hearts together. But on our wedding day, we didn’t want any alcohol present, so that those who may struggle with it didn’t feel the need to partake in something they weren’t comfortable with. We also wanted those of our guests who weren’t Christians to be completely sober in mind in order to absorb the message that was being displayed by our ceremony and our marriage in general, in hopes that they would see Christ and his immense love for them. People left our wedding saying they had never been to a wedding as fun as ours, so we’re really glad we still fostered a fun environment without the alcohol!