Q:You probably have already seen this video. [popular video of a wedding party enthusiastically dancing down the aisle]. My parents and I are at a disagreement over this video. They say that it’s in appropriate to enter the ceremony that way, that it’s a sacrament that’s meant to be taken seriously. I believe that God would want you to delight in such a union and as long as the actual vow part is serious it shouldn’t matter how your entrance is. I was just wondering what your take on this is?
A:Yes, I have seen the video. No surprise that it raises disagreements. The Bible talks about what a marriage is, but not about what kind of ceremony is most appropriate. Experience tells us that to a large extent, ceremonies are a matter of one’s culture. In America, culture is split not only along ethnic, regional and economic lines, but also – and largely – along age lines. What your parents might find culturally appropriate and what you might find so are two different things.
You might be interested to check out 2 Samuel 6:12-22, when David introduced energetic, joyful dancing into an extremely holy ceremony. The issue there was both his dancing and what he was wearing. Who was right, he or his wife? Notably, the Lord does not chasten David.
If this were an real issue in a family (i.e., planning for a wedding), I would encourage everyone to:
- Think through what a wedding is, and how its nature can best be expressed. It’s one thing to disagree over how to express holiness and joy; it’s another to disagree, for example, on whether or not a wedding is a holy occasion at all. If everyone agrees on its nature, then the discussion will make better progress.
- A couple can be married privately by a Justice of the Peace without any ceremony. The choice to have a wedding ceremony is a choice to involve many parties – the couple, the parents and relatives, the guests and the church. All of those parties must be appropriately considered.
- Remember that God is honored when people show deference to each other (Romans 12:10 and Philippians 2:3-4).
I think that it is great that this video has prompted discussion over wedding ceremonies. I suspect that it will seriously encourage Americans to create ceremonies that move away from tradition and more honestly reflect their beliefs and sensibilities. This should give Christians the opportunity to make their ceremonies a more effective testimony of their faith.