The epidemic of extravagant weddings is seeping into our culture in an unmistakable way. Turn on the TV at any given time and you will find a plethora of shows centered on the concept of achieving the so-called perfect wedding. As if “Bridezillas” weren’t enough, I recently read an article about a celebrity “Groomzilla” who is looking at spending an estimated $9 Million on his upcoming wedding. Yes, this disease is even beginning to infect men.
The wedding planning process includes finding the perfect dress, landing the perfect reception hall, making sure you’ve got the right flowers, food, cake, music, wedding party, DJ, photographer, centerpieces, invitations, ceremony, rings, shoes and more. I’m starting to panic a little just thinking about all these decisions—and my wedding was six years ago!
There is no doubt that a wedding day is a huge deal. It’s a time of celebration, fellowship, and worship that reflects the sacred union between a man and a woman. It is a beautiful reflection of Christ and His people displayed through the act of covenant and commitment between a groom and his bride.
But although it is a day worthy of celebration, is there a possibility our society has taken it too far? Is there a chance that in the middle of our preparations and planning, we’ve lost sight of the purpose? No matter how big or small your wedding may be, it’s important to examine your motives behind this big day. Here are three questions to reflect upon during your wedding planning and preparation:
Where is my focus?
When it comes to wedding planning, there is a tendency to focus on the minor details while neglecting the main point. I encounter so many couples who are more focused on preparing for their 12 hour wedding than they are on preparing for the lifelong commitment of marriage.
As you look toward preparing for your wedding, don’t get bogged down by details. Far beyond planning the particulars of a wedding day, the time of engagement is a really sacred time. It’s a chance to get to the bottom of who you are and reflect on the person you want to become. It’s an opportunity to connect with and continue getting to know the heart of the precious partner God has placed in your life. It’s a time to begin working, preparing and planning for the marriage you hope to build.
So yes, it’s okay to get excited about your dress, shoes and flowers but not at the neglect of this marriage you are seeking to build. Invest in the building blocks of marriage. Take the time to find a couple to mentor you, a few great marriage books to read and premarital counseling to engage in so you can keep your focus where it really belongs. Do yourself a favor and plan more than a wedding day—plan to build a marriage.
Who am I trying to impress?
I have to admit: I felt some unnecessary pressure while planning my wedding. The kind of pressure I’m talking about didn’t come from all the choices we were making regarding the wedding day, but from my desire to please and impress. I think part of me wrongly believed that somehow, this wedding day was a reflection of my relationship with my husband-to-be. This mentality has done so much harm in the lives of young couples, putting so much weight on trying to impress people who ultimately have no role in your marriage.
It’s important to be aware of the lie that deceives us into believing our value comes from anything less than our relationship with Jesus. The size of your wedding, the number in your wedding party or the extravagance of your big day has no reflection on you as an individual or as a couple. Your wedding should never be used to define you as a couple. Rather, you should allow who you are as a couple to be what defines and determines your wedding.
Some of the most beautiful and memorable weddings I have attended had little to do with the design of the program, the color of the bridesmaid dresses or the size of the cake, but everything to do with the fact that the focal point of the wedding was where it belonged—on two individuals choosing to love in each other in a way that reflects the heart of Jesus. Choose that as the theme of your wedding, and you will never go wrong.
What kind of steward am I being?
When it comes down to it, this is a question we need to be asking long before the wedding bells ring. God asks us to be faithful with the money He’s given us and to use it in a way that honors Him. While I would never tell a person how much money they should be spending on a house, a car or a wedding, what I will say is there are some guiding principles that should always lead the way in determining how much money we should be spending. Christians are called to see their money as an instrument by which they honor God—wedding day included.
Here are some things to ask yourself as you manage your wedding day dollars: Have I set aside a portion of this money to give back to God? Am I staying out of debt with these purchases? Have I considered those who are poor and in need? Does this fit within the scope of my budget? Is this purchase causing me to subtract from a more important need (future housing, cost of living, education, etc.)? At the end of the day, there is so much more to a wedding day than simply spending lots of money, because dollars don’t add up to dream weddings. Seek to be responsible with how you spend your money on your wedding day, because these choices play a role in determining your financial perspective as a married couple.
The season before marriage is a rich and joyous time in a couple’s life. Don’t allow the pressure of creating the “perfect wedding” to keep you from focusing on what really matters. Plan your wedding, but most importantly, plan your marriage. Rather than trying to create the most extravagant display, allow the canvas of your wedding day to be a work of art that reflects who you are as a couple. But most importantly, use it to reflect the creative work of our God—a God who brings two people together into the messy, beautiful, miraculous, lifelong covenant called marriage. Now that’s something worth celebrating.
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, relationship expert, speaker and author of several books, including True Love Dates. Debra is also the creator of the popular relationship advice blog TrueLoveDates.com, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.