Preaching Articles

What should you expect when preaching a wedding? What do others expect of you? If you must, here's some advice:

Do's for Preaching a Wedding

1. Preach the gospel, reminding the couple and the audience that their marriage is to communicate the gospel (Eph. 5). There will be numerous non-Christians in attendance as well as numerous married people that are contemplating divorce or adultery. You have a rare opportunity to give them the truth.

2. Whatever the bride, groom, and families want you to do that does not violate your conscience or the Scriptures.

3. Arrive early but never late to the rehearsal, pictures, wedding, and anything else the family wants you to attend.

4. Know what you are going to say verbatim; don’t “wing it.” Notes are fine to read from, but don’t sound choppy. You are not the center of the ceremony, Christ is. Don’t detract from Christ.

5. Counsel the couple if at all possible before marrying them. This counsel should be full of Scriptural counseling, not merely advice from your many years of experience. If the couple will submit to the Scriptures as authoritative over their marriage, emotions, feelings, etc., literally nothing can make their marriage fail.

Don’ts for Preaching a Wedding

1. Expect to be paid. You may be paid, or you may not be. If you are paid, it won’t be much money; so don’t ask to be paid unless they ask you.

2. Be a comedian during the ceremony. Once again, do not detract from Christ.

3. Offer suggestions to the wedding planner, family, etc. unless they ask you for them. You are not choreographing the wedding.

4. Preach a sermon, but preach the gospel. You should include Ephesians 5 or some similar verses that communicate God’s plan for marriage; however, there is no need to preach a detailed sermon. Include all that is necessary to communicate God’s plan for marriage (the gospel) in the smallest amount of time possible. The ceremony will be full of other time-stealers, so your window for presenting the gospel is brief.

5. Ignore the wedding planner’s desired order of the ceremony. Pay detailed attention during the rehearsal to how he or she has organized the ceremony. Once again, you do not want to detract from Christ. If you mess up the order of the ceremony, you will detract from Christ.

Is there anything you would take away or add to this article? What are your thoughts? 

Jared has served in pastoral ministry since 2000. He is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped. Jared is married to Amber and they have four children. He is a teaching assistant for Bruce Ware at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and a  PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS. You can take Jared's Udemy Course, "How to Enjoy God Through Movies, TV, Music, Books, etc." with this link for 43% off. Engage popular culture with Scripture. Enjoy God through popular culture.


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Gary Mimbs

commented on Nov 1, 2011

Do NOT get caught in the middle of squabbles between bride

Myron Heckman

commented on Nov 1, 2011

As Jared points out, a wedding is no time to be flippant or to embarrass one of the wedding party. However, if something goes wrong humor can help break the tension. Ideas for the message ? I use the cross on the wall they face (behind me) to encourage them to use the cross as a symbol for their marriage. The cross teaches them that love is sacrificial action. It calls them to the death of selfish interests. And always when we embrace the cross, new life follows ? that of the joy and satisfaction of two lives shared together as one. Also ?a cord of three strands is not easily broken.? In a Christian marriage, the three strands are a believing husband, a believing wife, and the presence and life of Jesus Christ. It is best to be simple and relatively brief - it's difficult to remember what was said at one's wedding.

Michael Hall

commented on Nov 1, 2011

Yeah, the advice on not trying to be a comedian is perfect. I recall attending a wedding where the pastor said "you can now make out" at the end. I'll just say it, as a fellow pastor, that was stupid. When I marry couples I am there to do just that, marry them! My goal with any message is to communicate to them and the attendees God's love and marriage as a picture of Christ and the church. There might be a time for some light hearted way of communicating that but not flippant, forced, statements that are a futile attempt for the pastor to try and make himself look "cool." All it does it make people feel that marriage and weddings are silly which is the last idea our world needs at this point.

Sterling Franklin

commented on Nov 1, 2011

Yeah, I've been at a wedding where the officiant gave a 55 minute sermon...most people walked out and talked in the lobby, lol.

Jim Ressegieu

commented on Nov 1, 2011

The couple must agree to 6-8 sessions with me, hopefully to conclude about 3-4 weeks before the scheduled wedding. I was "fired" from officiating at one wedding because the couple was living together and (a) one of them would not move out and (b) would not compromise by moving back home for the three months before the wedding. Another pastor in town had no problem marrying them and did no pre-marital sessions.

Rick Mays

commented on Nov 1, 2011

I require couples to have an outline of their wedding service turned in a fewof weeks before the rehearsal. On that night we copy this outline and give to everyone in the wedding party and family. We read it together, walk through everything w/o songs and then with songs and then we are done. I've been to rehearsals where it has lasted 2 and 3 hours because the couple wasn't sure and too many had their opinion on how it should be done. This outline stops that!

Dr. Luke Kauffman

commented on Nov 1, 2011

This is the bride's wedding day, not her mother's, her family's or yours. However, if a new wedding planner is in your church and you see that the planner is calling for a format that you have seen does not work due to conjestion, do not hesitate to ask the bride if you may offer an observation. She always appreciates your respect for her and her day.

Keith B

commented on Nov 2, 2011

Good article.

Donald Rapp

commented on Nov 3, 2011

All good points. I heartily agree with Dr. Luke. That should be one of the do's.

Dr. David Hallum

commented on Nov 4, 2011

Just know that SOMETHING will always go wrong. Hope that it will be minor and that you will be able to repair the damage without ruining the wedding. The last thing any true minister of the gospel wants is to wind up on America's Funniest Videos. All the glory goes to God.

Dr. Christopher Newton

commented on Jun 14, 2018

The only way you can ensure that marriage is treated with sacredness and dignity is to give counseling and guidance to the couple. I will not marry a couple who have not been counseled. If a couple come to the church then I assume that they want a Christian wedding, as such, the pastor should be a part of the planning. I am very particular about what constitute the wedding ceremony and takes place inside the church. Some couples do not have much regard for the church so the pastor should have an active part in the planning of the ceremony.

John Gerlach

commented on Aug 22, 2018

Many good points. Even with a Wedding Planner, the Pastor needs to be in charge at the Church. Every couple I have married has been given a Marriage Guidelines document specific to the church I am serving in. In that document, among other items, the fees are clearly spelled out - fees for the Musicians, fees for the Custodian, fees for the usage of the Church (for non members) and the Honorarium/Fee for the Pastor. I require these fees the night of the Rehearsal, if not earlier, and not the day of the wedding - this avoids the awkward running around on the day of the wedding to track down the fees. Don't apologize for an Honorarium or Fee. If you feel your fee is too high, compare what they give you to what they pay for flowers. I'm fairly confident even at $300, I'm cheaper than the florist!

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