Wedding Chapel

We’re engaged!

The man I have been praying for since I was a little girl asked me to be his wife in March.

Friends will tell you that I packed up and moved to cloud nine when we started dating. I will beam from ear to ear telling you the story of how God brought us together. Ask me the simplest question about him, and I will blush like I did when we first met.

My head can live in the clouds. Cheesy, I know.

The only thing that has the power to yank me down is ironic: planning our wedding.

We love dreaming and praying about what we hope will be more than 70 years together. We can’t wait to be married. We have a countdown we revisit daily. The unknowns of the years to come are exciting.

But when I think through the details of our wedding day, I’m overwhelmed.

I’ll tell you why. There’s a culture-driven belief that your wedding day will be the best day of your life. Talk about pressure.

At some point in their engagement, most couples feel an urgency to make their wedding and reception stand out among the rest. There’s an impulse to make the day matchless and unforgettable, an itch to add just one more “wow” factor.

The best of them make it to bridal magazines, fill our Pinterest pages or make a top news story. You’ve heard them. They sound something like this:

“The bride and groom enter their reception by jumping out of their life-sized wedding cake. For the wedding favor, every guest is given two tickets to their favorite team’s football game. And, at the end of the night, the couple exits the party in a helicopter, waving goodbye as they take off.”

Anything for the best day of your life, right?

I can’t name a couple that hasn’t felt the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” to some degree, including us.

It is so freeing to take a step back and see that weddings are nothing new. Both weddings and marriages were God’s idea.

In fact, the Bible begins and ends with a wedding. In Genesis 2, the Bible opens with the story of Adam and Eve. At the end, in Revelation 21 and 22, the Bible closes with imagery of a bride and groom.

God tells us his design for marriage in Scripture—for the love between a man and a woman to mirror how Christ loves the church. Nowhere in Scripture do I find that a wedding should be a show, a competition or even the best day of your life.

When wedding planning got the best of us, my fiancé and I decided to rethink the details of our day. Here are the parts we’re choosing to prioritize. I hope to encourage any other manic-minded bride-to-be to do the same.

Know Christ

Our greatest desire for our wedding and marriage is for it to be a picture of how Christ loves the church.

In order for our wedding to reflect Christ, we must first truly know Him. To do this, we have to spend time in his Word and learn what it means to be part of the church, Christ’s bride.

Your wedding will reflect what you believe about your true Bridegroom. Pray that He will help you prioritize beauty of the Gospel more than the magnificence of your wedding day.

We trust that our wedding will be beautiful, wholly because we will vow before God, our friends and families to root our marriage in Christ and love each other until death do us part. Take away the flowers, the music, the decorations and the dresses, and we will still have everything we need—that foundation and promise.

Invest in each other

Invest most in what will last the longest. Spend more time investing in your relationship than in planning your wedding. Receive Christian marriage counseling. Spend time together uninterrupted by the talk of to-do lists and the details of the day. Pray for God to continue to work in the both of you, to become the spouse He has called you to be.

Friends and mentors who have been married for many years remind us that the best moments of their marriage have not been on their wedding day. Rather, they have been found in the mundane days in the years that followed. Pray for a love that lasts to see those.

Your wedding day will come and go, but your vows are meant for a lifetime.

Pray for your guests

Pray for God to draw you and others closer to Himself during your wedding planning. Rather than getting tangled up in indecision over the color of napkins and table decorations, pray for those who will gather around the tables at your reception. Instead of worrying about what your guests will think of your wedding, ask for God’s heart for your guests.

Who is attending who may not know the love of the Father? Who needs to leave your wedding encouraged by your faith and commitment to one another? Pray for your relationships with your guests to grow in the years to come, and ask Him to provide opportunities to share Christ with them.

With every step, I’m reminded to look at my heart as I plan. God has more in store than a “perfect day.” He has a lifetime of joy that comes in choosing to walk with Him and to love your spouse daily.

Madalyn Wilbanks is the volunteer engagement associate at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus.