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Category Archives: Real Weddings

Waiting for Your Wedding: Reflections on Advent

'waiting at the door' photo (c) 2006, Joe Flood - license:

This post is dedicated to my husband’s cousin, James, and his precious fiancee, Malia. They are quickly approaching their wedding date of December 21st, and as I thought about their final preparations, I was inspired to spend some time meditating on the similarities of advent and engagement.

Dear Jimmy and Malia,

There are seventeen days left in your engagement. As my children count down the days until Christmas morning, you are counting down the days until you are “man and wife.” As I thought about the excitement and anticipation of the final days of my engagement, I realized I was just a bit envious of you both. This is a special time, unlike any other we experience in human relationships. And yet, as with so many things, it’s just a shadow of something so much greater.

It’s hard to explain to young children what it might have been like for God’s people to wait hundreds of years between prophecy and fulfillment. It’s hard even for me to understand. We sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and talk about the anticipation of Christmas day and how that’s just a tiny bit like what the people awaiting Christ felt as they waited and waited. But we don’t fully understand it. We’re not a culture that waits well. We demand instant gratification, determining worth by an object’s immediate availability, rather than its inherent value.

But you two–you’re getting a glimpse now of what it means to wait. You’ve awaited this day for so long already. And yet you continue to wait–just a few weeks more. You are blessed to know the day and the time, but that only eases the waiting slightly. I remember wanting to just hurry and get married already! There is a yearning–a longing for oneness–that only the arrival of the wedding day can satisfy. For millions of people, December 21st is just another day. But for you, it’s the day. The day it all changes. The day of joy and celebration, the culmination of years of prayers and tears and laughter.

On this day, friends and family will rejoice with you. They will witness something remarkable–the union of two people becoming one. But you two will experience something more.

Jimmy, you’ll know a piece of the joy of our Bridegroom, Christ. You’ll know what it is He sees as He looks on us. As your bride walks toward you, your heart will swell with happiness. You chose this bride and you love her dearly. And this is just the tiniest shadow of the love Christ has for the bride He redeemed with His own blood.

Malia, you’ll know in a new way what it means to be the bride of Christ. You will be clothed in white, walking toward your groom. You will be united with him, finally his bride. As he watches you coming toward him, you’ll know how dearly you’re loved. You’ll see it on his face and as you take his hand, you’ll feel it there too. And this is just the tiniest shadow of what it means to be the bride of Christ.

During Advent we rehearse waiting–remembering the anticipation of the Messiah’s first coming, readying our hearts for His second. We feel longing and yearning for oneness. We linger in the “already, but not yet,” just as you two are promised to one another, but not yet one. Even so, we know the joy of being found in Him, but not yet with Him. So we wait, and we invite others to join in the waiting along with us.

I’m jealous of you two as you wait during these next seventeen days. You are living out a beautiful metaphor. I pray you wait well, that in His grace your Father will give you joy and peace in the waiting. I pray for joy and peace on the wedding day as well. And I pray that all present on that day will know your love not just for one another, but for your Savior–your true Bridegroom.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,


For the Lord our God

the Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”

Revelation 19:6-8

Weddings on the Web – Robert & Brie

Paperback Weddings is a video/photography company specializing in wedding films. If you don’t know what separates a wedding video from a film, take a look at their site. These are beautiful works of art capturing the special moments of a wedding day.

Today I’m posting one of these films of a couple named Robert and Brie. The wedding is gorgeous, but the focus is Christ. And, this is clearly a couple that knows how to have fun and enjoy God’s good gifts.

robert+brie • wedding from Paperback Weddings on Vimeo.

Weddings on the Web – Laura & James

I ran across this wedding on Style Me Pretty and wanted to link to it here as it illustrates some things I think I key in planning your wedding.

The groom’s advice to couples in the planning process is to focus on the people:

 I think that perhaps our favorite part of the wedding was the rehearsal dinner the night before. A time for laughter and heartfelt memories, it gave us the confidence to boldly declare our love for not only each other, but for Christ. Each story, every piece of advice, and any kind word that was poured over us that night had to do with Jesus and the impact he has made through us. There is nothing that will get you through what can be a bumpy ride like an encouraging word from a friend.

For any and all couples going through an engagement – watching these videos and dreaming of your perfect wedding, my advice to you is to focus on the people. Forget the details, and the frivolous things that will pass, and focus on who truly makes the day special.

If you have a few minutes, go here and watch their wedding video, put together by PenWeddings. I love how the video perfectly illustrates the groom’s words. You really get a sense that the people in their lives are there not only for the wedding day, but to encourage and lift them up going forward throughout their marriage.


Real Wedding: Aylin & Ethan

I defy anyone with a heart to watch this video and not cry. This is one of the most humble, Christ-exalting things I have ever seen. I do not know this couple personally, but they graciously agreed to share their video and story with me for the blog and book. Here are the bride’s words about their wedding:

We wanted it to be very clear that our marriage was built on His grace and His alone. Both of us are pastor’s kids, with desires to serve the Lord in ministry. People kept saying, “You deserve this marriage.” “Look how God has blessed you for having waited to well in His time.” We both knew the many struggles we had with our sin during our singleness. We wanted it to be very clear that if the Lord blessed our marriage it was all because of Him, not because of anything in us. So, we had a time of public confession of sins, and then we nailed those sins to a Calvary tree “sculpture” that we prepared. As we nailed the list, our pastor read Col. 2: 16. Then we sang The Power of the Cross.

Please, take a few minutes and rejoice in the power of the cross and the great love of our Savior.

Aylin + Ethan from Studio 16×9 on Vimeo.

Real Wedding: George and Becky

If you’re planning a wedding and wish you could sit down with a wise newlywed couple and ask their advice, this is the post for you. Today’s post is the first in a series of Real Wedding features.

I first heard about George and Becky through one of their pastors, Deepak Reju, who officiated their wedding at their home church, Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, D.C. They graciously agreed to answer a questionnaire for book research for my mom and me, and gave some great insight into their gospel-focused wedding plans.

Then several weeks ago my friend Sarah of Ampersand Photography featured George and Becky’s wedding on her blog. So worlds collided and we now have some beautiful images to go along with a gorgeous, Christ-centered wedding. I could probably do three or four posts on this wedding, but will try to keep myself under control. And be sure to read to the bottom so you can see all the pictures.

The couple wanted their wedding to be a “celebratory worship service,” and this comes through in many of their decisions.

We asked how they chose to focus on the gospel in various elements of their wedding, and here are some of their answers:

Wedding Programs

Our church asks that you print all of the words to any scripture readings/songs and if possible the biblical text being used for the wedding sermon. It was explained to us by Deepak as a way of presenting the gospel to each guest and allowing them to take it away with them at the end of the service.

The back of the program noted how we will leave to honeymoon and return to make our home in D.C. together but that Heaven is our eternal home, and how our greatest joy and affections for each other pale in comparison to God’s eternal grace for sinners in the life and death of his son, Jesus Christ. We wanted our programs to magnify Christ’s graciousness to us, sinners saved by grace, and be beautiful for their purpose.


Our church has many helpful guidelines for weddings that take place in the church. One of these is that the wedding ceremony is treated as a worship service and therefore corporate singing is a part of each ceremony. We loved this and were so happy to incorporate our favorite hymns into the service. We sang as a congregation the following songs: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, The King of Love, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. Becky walked down the aisle to The King of Love (instrumental) as it is her favorite hymn. After we kissed, the recessional song was There is a Happy Land. We loved keeping the focus on beautiful songs depicting even more beautiful truth, the truth of God’s love for sinners, the hope we have for eternity, and salvation that comes through faith in Christ.


Deepak preached on Ephesians 5:21-33, which speaks about marriage and the gospel. It was a clear teaching that we wanted Deepak to use to teach us on that day our marriage began, and also a great way of distinguishing Christian marriage from this world’s misrepresentations of love and commitment. We were eager to hear this message, but also eager for some of our unbelieving family and friends to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and God’s purposes in marriage.

Advice for Couples

Focus on the ceremony, it is the ceremony that is the most meaningful part and gives you the greatest opportunity to share the gospel. We were blessed to have generous parents who made a lovely reception possible, but we both remark often that the most meaningful part of the day for us was the ceremony not the party afterwards! Focus on the truth of God’s Word for your marriage, not the table settings or color choices!

Short engagements are better than long engagements! We were engaged in early August and married the following January…a nearly 5 1/2 month engagement and by having a short engagement we were able to accomplish the necessary, without giving way to over-thinking the details that can be unnecessary.

Regarding money: Stress can come by having endless supplies of money and having too many possibilities while not having a gospel focus, or it can come by having limited or no funds and choosing to believe the world’s message that identity comes through weddings not Christ. 

Special thanks to George and Becky for allowing me to feature your wedding, and for the great advice you’ve shared! And thanks to Sarah for the gorgeous images!

If you would like to recommend a wedding to be featured in a Real Weddings post, please fill out the form here. It can be your own wedding or you can submit someone else’s. Thanks!


Photographer: Ampersand Photography

Caterer: The Sweet Lobby

Floral Designer: Greenworks by Shane

An Interview and A Request

I am so thankful to Gloria at Domestic Kingdom for interviewing me for her blog today! Gloria has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers and tweeters (you can follow her at @gloriafurman), and I’m super excited about her upcoming book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway, 2013). You can read the interview here, but you will most likely want to stick around for a bit and read some of the great, gospel-rich posts she has written or featured from other writers.

'Laptop sleeve by Martice on Etsy' photo (c) 2010, Anastasia - license:

I also have a request for those who have found their way to the blog so far. I would like to regularly feature real weddings here in order to share ideas and inspiration for those who are currently in the midst of planning. Ideally these would include pictures and a short interview with a real couple describing their wedding and the ways in which they purposed to proclaim the gospel to those present (including to one another).

So, if you know of a couple (including yourself) who fits this description, could you please share this link with them (also found under the “Submit a Wedding” link in the menu)? There is a quick form to fill out and I will take it from there. And don’t be shy about filling it out for yourself – this is not an opportunity to brag on yourself, but on God’s faithfulness and the ways in which He was glorified and honored in your wedding. I want this to be a place where couples can find ideas that are different from the norm that you find in wedding magazines and a lot of websites. And in order to do that, I need YOUR help. So thanks in advance.

In my book research I have already heard of some beautiful things people are doing in order to exalt Christ and I’m excited to share them with others! So stay tuned…


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