Worship and the Wedding

About a year ago I heard that the son of my good friend was engaged to be married. Michael and his fiancee were attending Wayland Baptist University at the time, and had begun making plans for the wedding. During the course of their planning, I received a call from Michael. He asked me if I would help lead worship at his wedding. I responded with, “You mean sing a song?” “No,” he replied, “I want you to lead worship at our wedding.” I have sung at hundreds of weddings over the years, and had never been asked to lead worship before. “Wasn’t that for Sunday mornings and church services?” I thought to myself. I had never considered a time of congregational worship a part of a wedding ceremony.

You have to know Michael and fiancee to understand what appeared to me, an unusual request. They are worshipers, and they love worshiping the Lord. Worship is part of their daily lives. It’s not something they do only on the weekends, but it’s who they are each day every day. They have hearts full of worship for the Lord, and it is clear to all who know them. To most it came as no surprise that they wanted to have a time of congregational worship. It only came across as odd to me, the worship pastor of fifteen years. What a lesson I learned that day!

December rolled around and we began preparing for the service. The song selection for the worship time was well choreographed as they had chosen songs that reflected their hearts for worship and for God, the special music they had planned was perfect, and the message was written by the bride and the groom. I have to say that this was one of the most well-thought out weddings I have ever been to. From start to finish it expressed their love for each other as well as their commitment to the Lord and each other.

The service began at 7:00 p.m. with the seating of the families. The lighting of the candles commenced by the mothers and everyone was seated in their place. Worship was the next thing on the program and the worship time extended to a church that was full of friends and family. We began singing and the room was filled with the Spirit of God. Some didn’t understand why we were singing these songs during the wedding, and I’m sure many felt a little out of place as we asked them to stand and sing. It wasn’t a long time of worship, but it was a meaningful one. The bride and groom accomplished several things by spending these few moments in worship. First, they made a statement of the importance of worship in their own lives. Secondly, to all that attended they proclaimed, “We love the Lord enough to worship Him during this special moment in our lives.” Thirdly, they were able to say to the Lord, “We love you enough to come to You first and worship You on this very special moment in our lives.” It was truly a moving service of love and commitment as everyone knew where these two stood before each other and before the Lord. 

If I ever have the opportunity to influence a wedding ceremony, I will share this story with the couple to be. I don’t know if it is something we have never thought about, or if we just don’t feel that it is an appropriate thing to do during a wedding. I can speak from experience that it is more than appropriate, and should be a fundamental part of every believer’s wedding. On the day that two people join together as one in the Lord and come before Him first in worship, giving thanks to Him for bringing them together, and saying to Him that He is the center of their lives as they grow in their relationship with each other and the Lord, should be the ultimate goal of any prospective bride and groom.

Many weddings already carry elements of worship in them. I was impressed by the way this couple took it a step further by having a time of congregational worship. It was an opportunity for me and all who were there to say, “Lord as we worship together, we pray for these two young people. We give them to You as part of the family of God. We worship You together as a statement of our love to You and our commitment to serve You. For them, it was a great start to a great marriage as they began their service with singing praise to the Lord they set a standard for the years to come in their lives. Their desire to worship the Lord as a family began with the first day of their union and set a pattern for years of growing together in the Lord, and of worshiping together as one in Christ. May their example be an encouragement to other believers who choose to make a statement of the importance of worship in their lives. May we all remember that it’s not about us, but about the One who saved us from sin and gave us eternal life. The lasting impression that I carry of their wedding was the fact that this young couple chose to place God on His throne for all to see that He was Lord and King of their lives.    

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Steve Newman
Stephen M. Newman is the author of Experiencing Worship, A Study of Biblical Worship, and Founder & Editor of ExperiencingWorship.com. Steve currently serves as Pastor of Worship, McKinney Memorial Bible Church, Fort Worth, Texas. Steve has extensive experience in both traditional and contemporary worship styles and has been serving in music and worship capacities since 1982. Steve earned a Bachelor of Music degree with emphasis in Church Music from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1986. He has also earned Master's of Worship Ministry and Doctorate of Worship Ministry from Christian Leadership Seminary, Elma, New York. Used by permission of ExperiencingWorship.

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