(Okay, I apologize for that title.)
I’m preparing for a BCI Pastor’s trip to Israel next week, but I saw this infographic that buttressed something I’ve been saying for about 267 years, and I thought I would write a few brief thoughts for you to discuss. I don’t really have time for this, and this will likely be my last post (unless its not) until after I return on October 29th.
Here’s my thesis.
I like simple weddings.
More than that, I think they are healthier, better, and maybe even more honoring to God than expensive, complex weddings.
I know that it is very easy to over-interpret and over-apply research like this, but it seems to match up with my personal observations. I don’t know the researcher but it did appear in an article from the Wall Street Journal – at least its not from the Onion (unless the Journal got fooled). Even without the graphic, my observations are still in effect. I’ve been doing weddings for almost 35 years. I’ve done quite a few – my sampling size is substantial.
1) A Christian wedding should be about honoring Christ and joining a couple in a covenant of marriage. Lavishly expensive, complicated and labor-intensive weddings seem to put the emphasis on the wrong things.
2) Lavish, complicated, and labor-intensive weddings (let’s call them BIG weddings from here on out) often wear people out and leave them stressed. I remember more than one big wedding where the family members were at each others throats the entire week leading up to the wedding and there were hurt feelings and broken relationships that lasted long after the wedding.
3) Big weddings wear the poor couple out. Now, this may not apply except in certain Christian weddings where the couple has followed the biblical command to remain chaste until they walk down the aisle. The couple’s first sexual experience will come after the wedding, likely that night. So, we wear the couple (especially the bride) out for weeks leading up to the big wedding, have a lavish wedding with lengthy receptions and all kinds of stuff, then send the exhausted couple off to their hotel for that first experience. I know, this isn’t a big deal – there’s always a good night of sleep and practice, practice practice. But, for virgins walking the aisle that first experience is a big deal in their minds. It seems that many weddings are designed to make sure that is NOT a memorable night.
4) Big weddings can leave a debt that takes years to pay off. Jenni and I attended a wedding for the son of a man who is one of Siouxland’s richest. It was unbelievable. Expensive. I’m guessing my annual salary would not have paid for the flowers on the tables at the reception. They flew in a wedding band from the coast – one that has actually appeared in movies about weddings. They could afford it. I’m guessing they hired a wedding planner and wrote a check. That’s one thing.
But a lot of Christians spend money they don’t have on weddings they don’t need. It’s not just unwise, it is probably wrong.
5) Simple weddings can be JUST as nice. Simple weddings emphasize the things that really matter. You don’t need choreographed dance routines to celebrate a covenant with God as family and friends. My wedding was simple – about as simple as you can imagine – and people talked years later about how beautiful it was (no, I wore a blue suit, not lime green).
So, combining #4 and #5 why not have a simple wedding and give the kids a check for all the money you didn’t spend. Or, rejoice that when you get back from the honeymoon, you won’t have a stack of credit card bills in the mailbox.
6) That brings up a sidelight – you don’t need a world cruise honeymoon to make your marriage work. I talked to a couple recently who spent a long time paying off their expensive honeymoon. “If I had one thing to do over again, we’d skip that,” the bride said. Again, if you have the money, go to Cancun and hang out on the beach. But if you don’t, save up for it or Priceline a hotel 200 miles away and have a good time together.
7) There is something desperate about the overspending thing. As marriages become less stable, we seem to compensate with staged proposals, filmed and uploaded to YouTube, big weddings reminiscent of Broadway productions and bank-breaking honeymoons. It’s all just necessary. It’s as if we think that if we do things a certain way – proposals, weddings, honeymoons – somehow we can help the marriage succeed.
There is NOTHING you can do during the entire wedding ceremony process that will help the marriage, except to honor God and put him first.
Not one thing.
- A viral proposal won’t help.
- A million dollar wedding won’t help.
- A Mediterranean Cruise won’t help.
What will help?
- Making sure you are ready for marriage through biblical counseling, deep conversations over difficult issues and a mutual lifelong love for Jesus Christ and commitment to living life HIS way.
- Staying within a budget so that you don’t put yourself behind the debt 8-ball in the early months of marriage. Overwhelming debt sucks the joy out of marriages. Big weddings can actually help to destroy marriages if they add to debt loads.
- At every point of wedding planning, focus on honoring Christ and pointing the glory to him.
There’s a lot more to say, but I’m out of time. Agree? Disagree? What say you?