This post is my response to a blog that was published last month through the Junia Project. If you have never heard of them, I highly suggest giving their articles a read. The writers on this site are dedicated to gender equality in the church and they make some very interesting points about the topic. Whether or not you agree with everything that is posted, it is still well worth your time to see how these issues are progressing and what people are saying about their own experiences of egalitarianism.
A little over a year ago Evan and I were planning and preparing for our wedding day. We had decided on a short engagement which was really good for us (and maybe caused some stress for our supportive families). We didn't have a lot of time to think about every detail for the actual day, things like decorations, and favours, etc. But we were able to take the time with our Pastor to really think about how we were going to plan the ceremony.
When we first met with Doug and Ruth to discuss what the ceremony would look like we asked them what we had to include. They said that the only thing that legally needed to happen was that we sign the document, and that people were there to witness it in the church. This was the first time I had considered that all the other things I am so used to happening at weddings don't actually have to happen if they didn't fit with us. (as a musician, I have seen a lot of weddings!) So in response to the Junia Project's article on "The Anatomy of an Egalitarian Wedding" I would like to list what we decided to include and what not to include. Let me just say that this is what made sense for us, I am not suggesting that everyone should do the same. The ceremony should reflect what is true and important to the couple.
The Entrance - We decided to have Evan walk his parents and my mother to their seats and then wait at the front with his brother. The bridesmaids and groomsmen walked in together as couples before I came in with my Dad. We wanted to show that both the men and the women had been equally involved in our lives together. I also really wanted to walk in with my Dad because that was personally special for me. We considered having both parents walk me in which could have worked but we made the decision for it just to be my dad.
Opening Remarks- When I got to the front with my Dad he shook Evan's hand and gave me a hug. We decided to not include "Who gives this woman..." because that wasn't representative of what was happening that day. Instead we had both our parents come to the front and say a blessing for us. They affirmed our choosing one another and prayed for us.
Scripture- We chose to read from Genesis 1, John 2 and Philippians 4. We chose verses that had special meaning for us about how we want to live our lives as Christ Followers and as friends. We weren't focused on the role of husband and wife, but the role of two Christ followers in a marriage.
Vows- We chose vows that focused on our promise to love one another, treasure each other, take care of one another and stick together no matter what. We promised the same thing to each other and it felt like we were saying to the crowd that we were declaring to be a team from then on.
First Kiss and Introduction- Our pastor introduced us using both our names and told us to take our first kiss as husband and wife.
The Reception - Just wanted to note that we decided against a bouquet toss and garter throw. I really didn't want to send the message that marriage is the only thing to look forward to or to strive to. I may be unique in not liking the bouquet toss, but oh well :)
Those are the main decisions we made for our ceremony, and whether or not anyone noticed them, it was very significant for us to decide together how we wanted to plan it. We were so thankful for the support from our families and our pastor and his wife. I have seen similar things at friends weddings and I appreciate when a couple comes across as a team together.
The next question is- will I change my name??