If we have established only one truth this week, it is this: weddings are stressful! When we get caught up in all the chaos, it is easy to hyper-focus on ourselves and our day. Doing so is not necessarily malicious; it just comes with the titles of bride and groom.
One way to refocus your minds and take a momentary step out of the spotlight is to think of ways to bless others through your overall wedding experience. Thinking of others above ourselves helps shift our perspective and lightens our hearts!
Have you considered including any of these in your wedding?
- Present the Gospel. The greatest gift any of us can ever receive is Christ. Tell your guests the Good News. Even if it costs more, consider inviting unbelieving co-workers, neighbors, or friends. Make God the center of your ceremony and honor Him at your reception. Also, check with your officiating pastor to make sure you are on board with the message he intends to preach (theology matters!).
- In lieu of gifts, ask for donations to your favorite charity. There is no shame in desiring wedding gifts, especially if you need to furnish your new home. However, if you are not in need of much or would rather donate some or all of your gifts, consider sponsoring a charity. You can write a request in your invitation for donations to be made to a specific charity instead of a wedding present. Or, you can even let people know that a percentage of all cash (including checks) gifts will be going to your charity of choice. (For our wedding, Eric and I donated 20% of our wedding cash gifts to Blood:Water Mission to provide clean drinking water in Africa.)
- Take each bridesmaid out one-on-one and give them your undivided attention. If you both want to talk about the wedding, great! If not, focus your attention on her life and show her you are still invested in the world outside of your engagement. Similarly, gentlemen, spend some time with each groomsman enjoying a hobby together. Do not lose sight of your quality friendships. You will still need them after you are married!
- Honor older guests, servicemen and servicewomen, couples who have been married more than thirty years, or anyone you would like. You can offer them a flower, a gift, or mention them in your program. Eric really likes it when, at the reception, they have all married couples stand and then seated as the number of years they are married is called out which exceeds how long they’ve been married (e.g., “If you’ve been married less than 5 years, sit down.” “… 10 years…” “… 15 years…” etc. Once the 30s and up are called out, depending on how many are left standing, the caller can iterate every year instead of five years).
- Offer party favors to your guests such as your favorite relationship book, a small candy arrangement, or a magnet with an engagement photo or marriage quote. You may even add a note that says, “Each time you enjoy these treats, please remember to pray for us,” or “Each time you see this magnet, say a prayer for our first year.”
- At the reception, do some toasts of your own thanking special people who mean a lot to you and your new spouse. None of us make it to the altar without first being altered by others. So many are responsible for shaping us into who we become.
- Have a prayer request box at the reception where people can drop off named or anonymous prayer needs. Start off your marriage praying for others together! (Seriously, this would be a great habit to start together!)
- Rethink your bouquet toss. Recently, I saw a story on Facebook where a bride took apart her bouquet and gave a flower to each single girl and then prayed for that girl – that she would wait on the man God had for her. I thought that was the sweetest idea!
- Send personalized notes to each person/family who attended your wedding. Thank them for coming to your wedding and for any gifts they gave you, and also let them know you are praying for them in a specific way. Instead of rushing through your thank you notes in one sitting, write a few each evening and include something truly meaningful in each one. You can even pray for each recipient as they are completed. And, if you have the time, you can write a personalized note to each guest before the wedding and place it with their name cards at the reception!
- If you are having children at your wedding, consider including something fun for them. It is difficult to blend a bouncy house in with a classy country club reception, but perhaps you could brainstorm a few highlights for the children. Maybe you could hire qualified caretakers to play games with them or keep an eye on them as they watch a movie. If you are a whimsical type and you want to have a bouncy house and face painting; well, it is your wedding! ~smile~ Most children consider it a blessing just to get cake!
Our greatest blessings are the ones we share with others – and weddings are no exception! Your big day can be magical while still uplifting and honoring friends and family. Here you have all these people gathered – a captive audience. When will you ever have this opportunity again? Make it unforgettable for you and for them!
How will you use your wedding day as a platform to bless others?