Have you ever seen an ugly bride?
I don’t think there is such a thing. Every bride is beautiful on her special day. Most husbands will tell you that that young woman floating down the aisle is about the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
The Women’s Fellowship group at our church planned a bridal fashion show for our local rehab and care center, complete with nine wedding dresses, two bridesmaids dresses, one “going away” dress, wedding music, and homemade cake, punch, and mints for everyone. We lined one wall with photos of other brides, and mingled with the residents after the fashion show.
I think there were nine wedding dresses. I lost count. The night before, I thought I had six dresses and six models all lined up. I interviewed each lady donating a dress then I typed out a narrative for each dress. I was ready to go! But something inside me said this was a fluid event and that is exactly what happened. One dress didn’t fit any of our models but three more – I think – showed up and one woman wanted to model her grandmother’s “going away” dress. Our “flower girl” came down with the flu. Five minutes before show time, I was shuffling my cards, adding in details and asking each model as they approached the start line, “Now which bride are you?” Doing a program for a nursing home takes the pressure off because everything is on “nursing home time” and you know they will love whatever you do for them.
I enjoyed interviewing my different brides and I could tell the residents loved hearing the accounts of each wedding. Several women had “shoe” stories. One bride remembered forgetting her shoes and sent her sister-in-law back to her house to fetch them. The shoes arrived seven minutes before the wedding was to begin. Talk about pressure! Another woman remembers getting her heel caught in an air condition vent during the reception line. During a lapse as we waiting for one model to change clothes, I told the story of how my shoes with four-inch heels hurt so bad, I just slipped them off during the ceremony. No one, not even my husband, knew my shoes were hidden between my feet.
Favorite memories included carrying a handkerchief that had been passed down the family line from bride to bride, getting $50 as a wedding present that seemed like a lot of money at the time and that allowed the struggling couple to do some special things on their honeymoon, and the matron of honor’s husband who had to fill in for a missing bridesmaid during the rehearsal.
When I got married, my husband told my family in no uncertain terms that as far he was concerned, this day was my day and his job was to make sure that what I wanted happened. Now, as a minister, he’s told that to every couple who comes to him. It’s the one special day a woman has to dress up in the most lavish dress she will ever own, wear special jewelry, plan a program that expresses who she is and what she longs for. All attention is on her.
Weddings are worth the celebration, for a marriage is the joining of two individuals to create a family unit that will hopefully last for many years.And the bride really is the most beautiful thing her husband has ever seen. Did you know that God has as much delight in you as a husband does for his bride? Isaiah 61:10 says,
“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
And Isaiah 62:5 says,
“As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”
Wow! God dresses me up and makes me beautiful! He delights in me. He rejoices in me.
But the relationship works both ways. God wants us to put as much effort into preparing ourselves for eternal relationship with him as a bride would prepare for her husband. Part of Israel’s problem, according to Jeremiah 2:32 was that they had forgotten God for days without number. Did you forget anything for your wedding? When you realized it, did you panic? How do you feel at the end of a day when you realize you haven’t thought your Lord all day long?
God uses the wedding celebration as a picture for what Heaven will be like. To him, His church, made up of people in whom He finds delight, will be like a bride, their righteousness obtained through their faith in His Son wrapping around them like beautiful wedding clothes. And the celebration in Heaven will be the most lavish reception in the history of the world.
All right, people of God, through partnership with the Holy Spirit, let’s make ourselves into beautiful brides for Jesus, brides that God will rejoice over. Let’s keep preparing ourselves for the best bridal fashion show of all time.