In A Christ-Centered Wedding we included a first-person account from my friends Barton and Sarah, who were married in what they termed a "backwards wedding." This is probably the real-life example about which we have heard the most feedback, as people are pretty intrigued by the idea of having a reception before the ceremony. So today I'm posting their wedding video, created by Todd LaBerge. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing (it's seventeen minutes), skip to the 9:38 mark where things really get going (and incidentally you will immediately see my adorable nephew). I love the almost tangible feelings of community and joy, with anticipation building to the wedding ceremony.
Here's what Barton wrote about their purpose in planning their wedding in this way:
Truly, what really sold us on the idea of changing the day's order of events was that the reverse order would make the actual ceremony the focal point of the day. Ultimately we wanted the people present to be prepared to really hear the message of redemption and divine love that was to be shared during the ceremony. Having the "reception" first presented the guests with an experience full of God's good gifts (the outdoors, people, music, memories, spoken truths, etc.) so that when the ceremony took place their hearts and minds were in a place to receive a monumental truth--that God is a Father who indeed gives good gifts to His children. The greatest gift He gave was His Son, not only for the sake of our salvation but ultimately for the entire creation's redemption! It is this picture of marriage--man and woman serving, loving, and committing to each other, just as Christ and the church--that is a significant part of His plan for bringing about the restoration of all things.