A wedding is more than a celebration of love. It’s an opportunity to share Christ—the founder of marriage, and the One after whom it is modeled—with everyone who attends your special day. Family and friends who may never have heard the gospel, or who are generally resistant to hearing you share about your faith, will have a chance to see what a Christ-centered wedding looks like.
Christian weddings usually include at least a few references to the faith on which they are founded, but you can make the gospel even more apparent by intentionally including it. Here are five ways to proclaim God’s message of salvation through your wedding day (many of which I used in my own wedding!).
1. Celebrate Communion During the Ceremony
Popular today is the lighting of a unity candle or pouring of sand to symbolize unity. Instead of these, consider sharing your first communion as a couple during the ceremony. This is a beautiful symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and the unity we have in Him. By commemorating Christ’s death during your ceremony, you give a visual reminder of who the center of your marriage is. Christ’s sacrifice is what enables us to daily sacrifice for our spouses even when it’s hard, and communion is a beautiful symbol of that commitment.
2. Ask Your Pastor to Share the Gospel in His Message
Many times pastors discuss love during their wedding message (for obvious reasons!). But ultimately, the reason two Christians get married is to reflect God’s love into the lives of one another and into their world. Our marriages are not for our satisfaction. They are intended to be vehicles of the gospel, teamwork to make disciples and a means to glorify God in our communities. Consider asking your pastor to highlight the importance of salvation in his message.
One thing our guests appreciated about our pastor’s message (which they told us several months after the event) was that he preached the message to us, the bride and groom, as opposed to the congregation. The guests witnessed him sharing the gospel and its importance to our marriage, but did not feel as if it were directed at them. This made them more thoughtful and receptive to the message that was shared.
3. Have Everyone Sing a Song Together
Most weddings include special music, something like an offertory—where a guest singer performs a song and the guests listen quietly. A great time to do this is during communion. However, another way to encourage a gospel-centric ceremony is to have everyone stand and sing a hymn or worship song together. In our wedding, we chose “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. For more gospel-centered songs, check out Sovereign Grace Music.
4. Print Your Testimonies in the Program
Who doesn’t love reading someone’s testimony of faith? I know I do! There are many ways to do this (you could even share a little during your vows), but one way is to print a short testimony for the bride and groom in your program. Share how you came to know Christ, why He is important to you personally and how He has impacted your relationship. Explain how knowing Christ impacted your decision to get married, and what your faith means for this long-term commitment. Many people don’t know or understand how important God is to a successful marriage covenant. Sharing your testimony may help them make that connection!
5. Base Your Vows on Biblical Texts
It’s popular today for couples to write their own vows. Unfortunately, some couples don’t understand what a “vow” really is! Vows are extremely serious, and God expects us to keep them. Some pastors will not approve self-written vows without seeing them first (ours asked to read them prior to the ceremony) and others won’t facilitate weddings with self-created vows. If you do write your own vows, seriously consider what you are promising to do and base them on what the Bible intends for your marriage. Read passages about God’s design for your covenant and rewrite the verses in your own words.
Something my husband and I did (and really enjoyed) was to write our vows separately and share them with our pastor, but not share them with each other until we read them aloud on stage. We were so tickled to discover we had shared the exact same passage of Scripture in the vows we wrote! We wanted our guests to see exactly what we were promising to do so they could hold us accountable as the years went by.
A gospel-centered wedding impacts not just you, but everyone who witnesses your special day. What an incredible blessing to start your marriage as a light for Jesus!
If you have more ideas for a Christ-centered wedding day, share in the comments below.