One of my favourite parts of preparing for our wedding day was putting together the program for our wedding service. Reading through and understanding the weight of the words was transformational for me.
I don’t think I really understood the roots of a Christian marriage until I started preparing for my own. Throughout the year of our engagement, I wasn’t surprised to find my relationship with Andrew deepening, but I wasn’t expecting to feel that my relationship with Christ was being renewed. A lot of things contributed to this: marriage prep, prayer, even just talking to people and reflecting on why I wanted to be married. Still, it wasn’t really until I was reading through the wedding service that the meaning of marriage started to sink in: marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love, to serve His purpose. Here are the words that really drove that home for me:
Marriage is a gift of God and a means of his grace, in which man and woman become one flesh. It is God’s purpose that, as husband and wife give themselves to each other in love, they shall grow together and be united in that love, as Christ is united with his Church.
(Anglican Book of Alternative Services, Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage)
It was a profound realization, sitting there at my desk in the middle of my workday, a month before our wedding. Tears, goosebumps, and a deeper appreciation of what we were about to undertake. Importantly, it reoriented me towards the real purpose of our wedding day.
During my year in ~bridal land~, my Pinterest board was overrun with pictures and posts about table settings, chalk menus, calligraphy, nail polish colours… the list can (and does) go on. Don’t get me wrong. I love that kind of stuff. But I didn’t have too many resources on the Christian components of a wedding – the ceremony service, the hymns and music, the prayers and scripture, etc. With weddings still fresh in my mind, I’d like to spend my first few blog posts sharing some tips and resources I came across while planning a Christian wedding.
Ceremony program: Do I need one?
My answer is yes. Flipping through multiple books and hymnals can be confusing and distracting, especially if a lot of your guests are not religious and not used to that. This was the case for us. We wanted to make our ceremony easy to follow and understand. We also wanted our guests to join us in the weight of what we were doing by reading with us all of these meaningful words!
We decided make our own printed programs. We put the entire service into a bulletin, including the hymns, using the marriage ceremony from the Anglican Book of Alternative Services.
Plus, you can personalize! I work in communications and I have a particular interest in branding and design. Embarrassing or not, I spent a lot of time coordinating the look and feel of our wedding (as I said, the Pinterest board was a close friend of mine in the year leading up to our wedding). Making a ceremony bulletin allowed me to pull our wedding theme into the ceremony and make it our own.
If you are looking for a bulletin template for your wedding ceremony, feel free to adapt ours!