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Making Weddings Sacred Once More

By Barrington H. Brennen, 2005, 2017


Dear Sir: I attended a wedding ceremony a few weeks ago at a respected church in my community and was disturbed by the secular music used and the extravagant, sensual dresses and suits worn by the bridal party. It seems as if getting married is a big party rather than a sacred service? What do you think?

Answer: Dear friend, I am also concerned about the secularization of the wedding ceremony. You are correct when you say that getting married today seems to be like a big party. Even more than that, it has become an extravagant fashion show where new dress styles are paraded and romantic love songs are glorified.

I think that we have forgotten that the wedding ceremony is a solemn worship service and not a concert of romanticized love songs and lewd or frivolous jokes. In the marriage ceremony an ordained minister of the gospel performs the charge, vows, and presents the couple. This indicates that the ceremony is a sacred one. God and His love are the foundation of marriage. Since marriage is a sacred institution God created, His love should be focus of the wedding ceremony.

Non-religious music sung at many weddings, although oftentimes beautiful, does not place God as the foundation of the love relationship between the soon-to-be husband and wife. No wonder so many marriages are going down the drain. Instead of Godís love, it is some romanticized love that inevitably fades in time. Godís love is eternal. This is not to say that a husband and wife love for each other will not be tested during the life of the marriage. It is to say that marriage is sacred and holy, and it is Godís divine love that helps the couple to make it through the rough times not Kenny G.

Itís becoming increasingly difficult to find wedding ceremonies free of pre-recorded secular music. A bride and groom seem to select their music based on how nice it sounds and how it makes them feel. A few months ago, I was shocked as I watched a bride march down the aisle to one of Kenny Gís sensually loaded songs. We need to keep Kenny G out of the sacred wedding ceremony. When selecting music for weddings, it should be done with care and discrimination. "One should look for the texts that extol Godís love displayed through Christ, the foundation of marriage." Your Christian Wedding" by Key Lewis. The music should express Godís blessing on marriage. "We should avoid any songs that promote romanticized or secular ideas about love. These detract from the worship of God."
Instead of hearing "O perfect Love" at weddings or the simple "Bridal March," we are now hearing "Can I have this dance," "Innocent," or "Tonight I Celebrate my Love."

One of the reasons we have such problems with wedding music selection is that too many wedding coordinators and church pastors know nothing about the importance of this sacred ceremony and the role of music in it. For many, once the word love is used in the song, it seems to be the passport for church wedding acceptance. Many wedding coordinators actually scorn the use of simple traditional hymns saying they are "boring, dead, or old-fashion."

When was the last time you heard "Jesus Joy of Man Desiring," "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." or the "Trumpet Tune in D Major" by Purcell at a wedding? Oops! Did I say something wrong?

There is a place for beautiful, well-written secular songs. It is at the wedding reception. However, these songs should also present the Christians views of love and marriage.

Why is it we have to wonder whether we are attending a strip joint rather than a church wedding ceremony when we look at the clothing the bridal party is wearing. The dresses designed for the bridesmaids are becoming more and more revealing. Even in churches that were once known to be conservative, bridesmaids are walking down the aisle almost topless (a little exaggeration to emphasis the point). Deep neck cuts, spaghetti straps, thigh-high splits, and extremely low back lines, are common at wedding these days. Sometimes even the choice of colors and materials give competition to Junkanoo.

Why is it that the more formal the occasion, the less clothing women wear? Principles of modesty should always be maintained in wedding ceremonies. Women are doing themselves a dishonor and disservice when they expose so much of their bodies. They are only selling themselves as cheap sex object. Even the color and design of the menís suits must be influenced by Christian modesty and decency.

Why should I be examining the backs of women when they march down the aisle? Is it that they want me to see that their back is pimple-free, or that their last suntan covered their entire body? Why it is that the groom is usually fully clad and the bride partially naked? For too many centuries, woman have been treated as sex objects. Todayís modern Christian woman is not even trying to change that concept. It seems as if she is leading the way in total body exposure. Please dear women, Iím not interested in knowing how beautiful your back is or the size of you bra when I attend a wedding ceremony. Keep your body covered as you go to praise the Lord. Make the wedding ceremony a time of worship and celebration of Godís love in the marriage relationship.

Isnít it ironical that many of the women who refuse to expose their bodies when they go to work or prayer meeting, have no problem showing the world more of their skin when participating in a wedding ceremony that is intended to celebrate Godís love for us.

Letís put God back into our wedding. Letís make the wedding ceremony once more a sacred worship service where hymns and tunes of joy and Godís love are sung. If you are a couple planning to get married soon, make sure your wedding ceremony is truly sacred, free of romanticized love songs, but full of songs that uplift Godís love, the foundation of marriage. Make sure that your dress is a celebration of Godís beauty and decency.

Go to Part Two

Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA.  Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com  or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org  or call 242-327-1980.  





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