Somewhere along the way we have adopted the idea that a wedding is all about the bride. What a travesty! When we consider the beauty and symbolism inherent in the wedding ceremony, we can see why any bride who asserts, "This is MY DAY!" is reducing this occasion to a grotesque, debased imitation of the real thing. Newsflash: it's not about me!
Now, I'm no wedding expert, but I think if we notice the way the wedding ceremony is set up, it is reminiscent of the relationship between Christ and the Church. The groom arrives first, and the bride comes to meet Him:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).Traditionally, the groom vows to honor and cherish his wife, while the bride promises to love, honor, and obey. Finally, the new couple is pronounced man and wife (not woman and husband). They are the announced to the witnesses and guests as "Mr. and Mrs. Husband's Last Name." The entire process demonstrates the the acquiring of a wife by a man, not the conquest of a man by a woman. This is because God chooses us. We do not choose Him. A woman becomes part of the man's "world" because God saves us and brings us into His kingdom, where we will live with Him forever.
When I consider these things, I always wonder why wedding ceremonies are so bride-centered. It seems as though we should give a bit more recognition to the groom, not just because he illustrates Christ in relation to the Church, but because as the man, he is taking on a greater responsibility by agreeing to protect, provide for, and lead his wife. I always see wedding guests gushing over the bride, yet the groom so often seems ignored. Aren't the men entitled to a little special attention on this day as well? I wonder if there is a way to reverse this "Bridezilla" mentality in our culture to encourage a more reverent attitude toward one's wedding day and a greater appreciation (or at least an equal opportunity) for the groom.
Of course, the real star of the show is our beautiful Lord Jesus. Our weddings can reflect this, but more importantly, our entire Christian walk should demonstrate that it's all about Him, not about us. On that most ultimate of wedding days, few will be admiring the bride's beauty, because this Groom will be too beautiful to behold. If anyone admires the beauty of the bride, it is only because her beauty is borrowed from the one who has made her beautiful. Truly, when the greatest of Grooms comes to meet His bride, it will be abundantly clear: This is HIS day. Bridezillas, beware!
Update 10/25/08: Ingrid Schlueter has written a wonderful article which expands upon this issue beyond my own efforts. I highly recommend reading her thoughts on the subject by clicking here.