Christian Ideas for Wedding Receptions

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A Christian reception complements a Christian wedding. Together they reinforce a couple's intention to keep Christ at the center of their marriage. The reception caps a celebration of God's love and recognizes Jesus's first miracle -- turning water into wine -- at a wedding in Cana. Its more conservative atmosphere makes a Christian reception different from traditional and secular receptions. You can make your reception Christ-centered through the way you treat your guests, decorate the facility and adapt post-wedding festivities.

Food and Beverages

  • A meal shared with friends and relatives emulates the meal Christ had with the disciples. Whether that meal includes wine and an open bar is your decision. Although Christ offered wine at the Cana wedding, your branch of Christianity may not approve of alcohol and the drunkenness that often goes with it. Base your decision to serve alcoholic beverages on whether it may make your guests uncomfortable, either due to their religious belief or health problems. Alert friends and family members about your decision for an alcohol-free reception in your invitations to avoid surprises. A line such as, "In honor of the groom's five years of sobriety, no alcohol will be served," or, "Out of respect for our beliefs, our reception will be alcohol-free," provides sufficient notice. Toast with sparkling juice as an alternative; ensure that your "toaster" respects your desire for gospel-inspired wishes.

Dinner Prayers and Hospitality

  • Keep the words of 1 John 3:18 -- "...let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth" -- in mind throughout your reception. It's your first opportunity to host as a married couple and your first meal together as husband and wife. Commemorate the occasion by offering the blessing yourselves, rather than asking your priest or minister to do the honors. Begin a tradition by writing your own dinner prayer then using it at home. Extend your hospitality with a receiving line that allows you to thank each guest for being part of your day. Consider using the receiving line as an opportunity to combine friendship with service. Serve your guests wedding cake that the caterers have sliced after greeting them. Alternatively, visit your guests at their tables.

Tradition Twists

  • The garter and bouquet tosses have become reception traditions that don’t adhere to Christian values. For example, the bouquet toss doesn't consider the self-consciousness single women may feel, and the garter ritual has intimate overtones that some find inappropriate. Replace both with a "gift bouquet" made of flowers, a restaurant gift card and movie tickets. All guests vie for this special prize tossed by the bride or the couple, although only one wins. Instead of including a unity candle in your ceremony, light your candle at the reception. Show a video or slide show of how you met and your shared interests to portray God's grace in your lives. If one of you comes from another country, incorporate that multiculturalism in your reception as a nod to diversity in Christianity by having bilingual printed items or specialty dishes.

Dancing and Music

  • A music selection that includes Christian rock songs or classical tunes rather than songs with provocative lyrics sets the atmosphere you want for a Christian reception. Use the dancing portion of your party to recognize couples who have kept their commitment to God and each other. Invite them to the dance floor by the number of years married, such as five, 10 or 25. The longest-married couple joins last and receives a rose and a round of applause.

Décor and Favors

  • Decorative elements acknowledge your Christian faith. Place signs near the entry, cake table or restrooms with Bible verses or sayings such as "Faith, Hope, Love" that are special to you both. Name tables after favorite hymns and incorporate a copy of the sheet music in your centerpiece. Table name cards with different crosses and a word depicting a Christian value substitute for table numbers. For example, the "Acceptance" table can have a plain cross and a related verse such this from Romans 15:7: "Go accept each other. Just as Christ has accepted you then God will be glorified." Give guests a meaningful favor such as a small book of poems, verses or short essays related to your faith or that you have compiled. Print a benediction such as, "The Lord bless you and keep you," on favor bags, or sign a check in front of your guests to make a donation on their behalf to a charity.

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