Some Stuff I’ve Learned from Performing Weddings

I found Candice and Heath's lack of faith... disturbing.
I found Candice and Heath’s lack of faith… disturbing.

     So yes, yesterday Joanna and I celebrated 7 years of marriage, and I’ve got marriage on the brain! I love marriage, I’m not going to lie. I also love doing weddings. When you’ve worked a big beautiful downtown church, you kind of end up doing a lot of weddings. I’ve performed around 25 weddings, which is probably not a lot for the average pastor, but for me and my stage of the game, it’s a lot. So in my little journey, I’ve learned a few things.

     1. The rings only fit about 50% of the time on the wedding day. You get it. All eyes on you. Making the biggest commitment of your life. Your emotions are high. This is a big deal. And now your stinking little fingers are plumping up like microwaved hotdogs. So in many cases, the wedding rings don’t fit in that moment. This is a tip I got from another pastor. I always warn the couple at the wedding rehearsal, tell them to get the ring on as far as they can but not to force it or hurt each other. Most couples give it the old college try during the service, anyway. I’ve seen some pain. Don’t worry people. It’s not a bad omen. It’s just biology. 

     2. You don’t need a minister in Idaho to perform your wedding. Yeah, I was surprised, too, when I went down to the court house to register to be able to do weddings. Huh.

     3. You should have a minister perform your wedding. If you are of a religious persuasion, or are interested in one, have a minister perform your wedding. For Christians, the wedding ceremony is a sacred act of worship. It’s a time to make promises before God and the community that supports you. It’s a time to hear from God’s Word. And it’s a time for the people of God to praise God, give thanks for love and marriage, to be strengthened by the couple’s commitment, and to intercede for the couple in prayer. Since your wedding is in this great tradition of the Church, have a minister oversee all this goodness properly.

     4. The most important part of the wedding, in my opinion, is asking the community to do everything in their power to support and lift up the marriage of the couple. I take this so seriously! Married couples need to know that they are not alone! They belong to a community that is praying for them, lifting them up, and there for them. We belong to each other, and we need each other.

     5. Pastors, don’t say anything political. Why would we tarnish a couple’s special day with anything as divisive as the social issue du jour?

     6. Pastors, do share the Good News. For a lot of people attending a wedding, this might be a one of the few times they’ll be in the church or hear a pastor preach. In that moment, in that service, we will become representatives of the Church, all of it. I always try to tie in the wedding at Cana into my homily. I try to describe that Christ has come to show us what God is really like, and it’s often surprising. This might be kind of difficult. You want to keep the homily sweet and about love, so maybe keep the fire and brimstone for the camp meeting, but go ahead and talk about the God who loves us so much that there is no place God is unwilling to go for us.

     7. You should also prepare more than one wedding homily. It might be tempting to write an awesome go-to sermon for every wedding, especially if you are doing a lot of weddings for people you might not know. I’ve made this mistake. I always individualize the homily for the couple, share a little of their story, do something special for them as I get to know them over a couple of meetings. But I would also prepare a canned portion of each homily. A couple June’s ago, I had weddings a couple weekends in a row. I didn’t know the couples real well, and I really didn’t know the guests. Still, at the 3rd wedding, a kind older gentleman told me to get some new material.

Thanks for reading! Peace to your souls!

-Ric

  • Ralph Lawrence

    “Still, at the 3rd wedding, a kind older gentleman told me to get some new material.” Don’t believe him. The Gospel is always new, no matter how many times we offer it. I like your idea of putting the Good News into every wedding. It’s a sneaky way to reach a lot of un-churched people. The same goes for funerals.