“And Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Welcome to the ceremony! This is likely the moment that sits at the forefront of everyone’s mind when one ponders the thought of a wedding. Days, months, and perhaps years of preparation have led up to this very moment. The 40 minutes seem like 40 seconds and alas, you’re no longer two, but one. All of the mental, the spiritual, financial, emotional, and physical preparation for this day has commenced and has finished. And it is suggested that this reality is very important to see and to understand in the planning process. This concept of it being so briefly experienced can help you rationalize how much you want to spend spiritually, financially, and emotionally to build this moment. This concept will help you decide whether or not the focus will be on the carnal and perishing or the spiritual and everlasting. It has been wisely said that a happy marriage is not dependant upon an expensive wedding. The saddest reality is, there are couples in this world who have been married and divorced sooner than they have paid off the debt for their wedding.
The desired emphasis here is, there is a preparation for this day that is infinitely more important than the colour of the chairs & the weather in the 7-day forecast. This emphasis is spoken of by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (21:2). Meditate, for a moment, upon the preparation of this bride. Ponder the value of this wedding, that which “moth and rust” does not corrupt. We think of brides such as Esther who spent a full year before her wedding preparing with prayer (6 months) and reading of the Word of God (six months). We think of Ruth who washed, anointed herself, & put on her raiment. Preparation is such a symbolic aspect of this process, and as much as we encourage sisters to focus on the spirit, we see the principles in the literal as well. The literal principle needs to be applied to our walk every day. Weddings should exhort us to prepare for the greater bridegroom, even the Lord Jesus Christ, as the ecclesia, his bride, prepared from the foundation of the world.
This beautiful moment, as you glance down the aisle at your husband to be, represents the glorious moment when all the faithful of God both alive and in the grave will see for the very first time, at least for most of us, the Son of God in glory. This type brings out so many more important principles. How will we array ourselves before the King of kings? Will the atmosphere of the occasion be one that provokes praise or pleasure? Will the music encourage faith or flesh? Will there be prayer? Will there be readings? These are all questions that you will not find verbatim answered in the Scriptures, but if you lift your eyes a little higher and consider the greater picture, you will find answers unending.
Below you will find a few commonly asked questions followed by some works found within the brotherhood & also just some suggestions from previous brides who have asked the same questions.
How should a Christadelphian ceremony be structured?
This is the first question that many of us will ask and that many people will have various opinions on. Some of these opinions are edifying & helpful, even encouraging, but some do just come from good old traditions. And as much as we love and reverence our elders who went before us, we must view this subject with our Bible in hand and with the principles therein in mind.
Below are a few examples of how some recent weddings were structured with God as the focus:
The first one was structured to not be distracting and simple, but edifying & encouraging. The goal was to make God the center and not so much how funny the couple was, or how they met, etc.
The second wedding had many non-Christadelphian family members in attendance, and the focus was on the work that God will do in a marriage that He is the center of. Many readings and thoughts surrounding how God has designed the marriage, practically & symbolically was brought out & emphasized for those who perhaps thought that marriage was nothing greater than an expensive party. God’s purpose with all mankind was the focus, as illustrated in the marriage covenant.
The third wedding was focused on separation unto God, & evidently from the morals that are found in weddings of the world. Modesty & consideration for all in attendance was key in that no one would be distracted from the true value of the wedding, even the type of the marriage feast of the ecclesia & Christ.
You will find many similarities between the structures and I think that is a great way of illustrating that there isn’t one Christadelphian ceremony. Sitting down with your spouse-to-be and discussing what is important to you, scripturally & traditionally, that you would like to see expressed during this occasion is an amazing way to build your structure. Discussing the things that you would like to avoid is also very important. Including your parents in this discussion is helpful because they have likely been to many more weddings in their lifetime than you have and they can perhaps tell you stories about great ideas & tips they have seen implanted in weddings before. Below, you will find attached a pdf that can help you build your ceremony.
Should modesty be implemented on your wedding day?
The simple answer to this question is, yes. Yes, modesty should be something honoured on the day of your wedding as well as every day of the year. From a few perspectives:
- You now have a husband, and modesty before him is no longer your concern in the home. You two will be one flesh, & perhaps as Adam & Eve knew not that they were naked before sin, you’ll enter a mindset similar to that with one another. But Adam & Eve did something very notable when they heard the voice of Yahweh in the garden… they hid. And so from a purely practical point of view, for the sake of all of the brethren in the room that you do not plan on marrying that day, you should practice modesty. As well as your bridesmaids who are not marrying your husband.
- The principle of modesty in the ecclesia should never be shut off. Except for the new covenant you have entered with your husband, it does not seem scriptural that two closets can exist in your mind. The ecclesial/God-fearing closet, and that which you would wear to the mall or the beach. To be double-minded is frowned upon in scripture, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Now we can hear the argument of “well…. I wouldn’t wear my bathing suit to the meeting on Sunday” and that is very good! But perhaps we can think about the model set forth at Bible School & at youth camps where we do wear all sorts of attire. As part of the body of Christ, consistency is key. As a representative of Christ & of God, we are a preaching witness in all that we do and say and think. So modesty applies everywhere and in everything. In case you are not familiar with the bible school dress code, I’ve included Manitoulin Youth Conferences’:
In the world garments once considered as under garments are now worn as outer garments. Clothing may be considered too little when shoulders, back, stomach, thighs and other body parts are exposed. So with this in mind please avoid revealing tank tops, spaghetti straps, V necks, low neck line tops, mini-skirts and short-shorts. Paul advised us well when he said “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel” (1 Tim. 2:9).
The flesh tends to be drawn to outward appearances including clothing, makeup and jewelry which are designed to draw attention. The scripture comments on this problem often, and Peter puts it well when he says our focus should be the “hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4).
As opposed to the principle of covering the body the world has designed clothing to tightly form around the body in order to show it off. Paul warned us not to fashion ourselves after the world when he said “be not conformedto this world” (Romans 12:2). Clothes which are tight show off the curves and contours of the body; we should therefore avoid wearing clothes which are skin tight (e.g. typical yoga pants).
People in the world have become bold in exposing their bodies in one way or another to each other, but the scriptures associate nakedness with shame. Clothing that allows for views of the naked body or undergarments when bending over, sitting, playing sports or just standing are to be avoided. No boxers or bras should be visible to others. Jesus understood this principle and used it to teach us a spiritual lesson: “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
Should head coverings be worn for the ceremony?
Brother Ron Abel produced a beautiful resource called Let Her Be Covered – The Hats of Christadelphian Sisters (you can click this link to read the full consideration) which covers many questions that we may have about head coverings. A read through this writing is strongly encouraged, for the more we understand the better we can serve our God; in spirit & truth. “Let her be covered (11:6) was the Apostle’s instruction for sisters in Christ. It might be thought that this amounted to a denial of their new status in Christ Jesus. The reason why this is not the case is that for the woman an entirely different set of principles is involved in the head covering. The woman wears a head covering because it signifies her place in God’s creative design—one of subjection to her husband.” (Page 2) Brother Ron goes on to explain that this principle was established in the very first marriage. It was a symbol that would distinguish the representative glory of the wife from that of the husband. And thus, it can be encouraged that at the wedding of a man & woman, the head covering be honoured not only in the presence of so many in the ecclesia but also in the presence of your new husband, the one to whom you will subject your will gracefully & willingly for the remainder of your days. The wife represents the bride of Christ, and consequently the husband represents Christ. And thus by covering your head you are a witness to the divinely appointed preeminence of Christ and ultimately the world to the one who sent Christ. Head coverings shine in a different light when you have it in your mind that you are an example, a demonstration to the entire world as to how they should serve the one & only true God. And thus it only seems fitting that this practice should most certainly begin long before the wedding, even in one’s early years in the truth, but especially on the wedding day.
Have more questions?
Marriage is a very rewarding & lovely adventure. It has been designed by Yahweh, the God of all comfort, our God who is love. The best place to get an answer is by turning to His word & searching diligently for a satisfying & divine answer to your questions. Questions you can ask yourself to begin are, “where have I seen this problem arise in scripture?” or “what is a perfect example of this?” and keep searching, you will never be disappointed. And pray! Prayer is always the underestimated & forgotten piece of armor on the soldier of God. Always remember to bring your questions & your cares to God, they will not fall upon deaf ears.
We pray that as you consider this wondrous adventure ahead, even marriage, that you might keep in mind the awe-inspiring principles & words of our all-knowing & all providing God.
“His will is best, there let us rest” -Sister Jane Roberts in The Virtuous Woman
If you have any resources related to this post, or any of the content ahead (please see the table of contents) we would love to hear from you!