I read an article today on Yahoo about a couple that got married, and complained about one gift they received. I’m not even going to mention the elephant in the room and just focus on the issue of weddings.
When my wife and I got married, we hoped for gifts, but did not expect large gifts. We figured people would give us toasters and stuff like that, which they did. We were happy with what we got.
Plus, we didn’t feel like our wedding had to be some big production. We didn’t have much money, and our families didn’t have much money, so we didn’t spend money like fools. My wife bought her dress, we rented my tuxedo and my father-in-law’s tuxedo, but the other three tuxedos (my best man and two groomsmen) were tuxedos that I and my friends owned (we wore them for concerts at our college). We had our wedding at my wife’s church (honorariums for the pastors and, I believe there was something for the church, but I don’t believe it was much). We didn’t use $200 bows for our decorations in the auditorium. We didn’t cater an enormous meal. We didn’t serve imported Sicilian cheese at the reception. We had a nice wedding, and the purpose was achieved.
What was the purpose of our wedding? The woman in this article stated that “Weddings are to make money for your future.” I was under the impression that weddings had one purpose: to unite a man and a woman in the bond of matrimony so that they would forevermore be known as “husband and wife.” I understand that it is customary to invite family and friends so that they can witness the union and celebrate this step in the couple’s life. The guests at some weddings are even told that they are to help the couple when they struggle so that the marriage will endure.
My wedding had one purpose: the start of our marriage. This Canadian woman has the wrong idea about weddings entirely. And it’s not totally her fault. With the breakdown in the values of our culture, weddings have lost some of their meaning. Cohabitating couples get married, and they don’t see it as the “start” of anything. They live together for months or years before they get married, so the wedding doesn’t really change anything, practically speaking. It seems like just an excuse to get everybody together for a party, and then take a nice vacation (honeymoon).
But even if that were the case, I should think that etiquette would demand I not ask people to pay for entrance into the party I’m throwing. If I invite a bunch of people to my house for dinner this weekend, they would be very surprised if they walked in the door to be greeted by me asking for money. That would be crass, and I don’t think they would ever come back.
I guess it all goes back to Luke 14:7-11 where Jesus “…began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'”
I know this is talking about the seating arrangement specifically, but I believe there’s a principle here that Christ was communicating: humility. If you are humble, people will exalt you. If you throw your weigh around, people will put you down to your place. Wouldn’t it be better to be raised up than to be lowered down?
This Canadian couple would do well to read this passage (and a few others I could name ;-)) and realize that if they weren’t willing to spend $100 per guest with no guarantee of repayment, they should have either invited fewer people or had a less lavish reception. Weddings shouldn’t have a cover charge.