Weddings In the Bible

My oldest son is getting married soon and I’ve got wedding on the brain.  I was sure I could use my obsession as a jumping off place for a blog post. I know a few things about the wedding in Cana, and I remember hearing something confusing about a bridegroom analogy, but I wanted to see what weddings in the Bible looked like!
Weddings in the bible- bride looking out the window through gauzy curtains

There are no actual descriptions of weddings in the Bible, but we have a lot of clues that we can put together and get a simple picture of what a wedding entailed, and what God had to say about them.

The Origin of Marriage in the Bible

God filled the creation story with descriptions of all the “good” things He created.  The light, separation of land and sea, vegetation, the stars, sun, and moon, etc. But in Gen 2:18 (NIV) we hear God say something for the first time.  Something is labeled “not good.”

All was perfection except: “it is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”

God creates Eve and brings her to Adam and calls her his wife. “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Gen 2:24 (NIV.)

It’s a simple first wedding, and possibly the smallest. (But it can boast the greatest venue and officiant ever!)

God established marriage at the very foundation of His world.

Bible Verses about Weddings

We can peek into a few customs of weddings in the Bible in a variety of verses.

A dowry, or “bride-price” was paid for the bride “No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will gladly pay it—just give me the girl as my wife.” Genesis 34:12 (NLT)

•There were bridesmaids– Jesus tells a parable about ten virgin bridesmaids waiting for the bridegroom to arrive at the bride’s home.  (Matthew 25: 1-13)

•There were groomsmen, a wedding feast, and lots of family– At Samson’s wedding, we see his mother and father, 30 groomsmen, and a customary feast. (Judges 14: 10-11)

•The bride and groom dressed in their splendid best:As a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels…” Isaiah 61:10b

•Psalm 45 (titled “A Wedding Song”)  describes a royal wedding.  “Music of strings”, “the royal bride in gold”, and “her gown is interwoven in gold” are some descriptions of their wedding.

The story of Jacob and Leah’s wedding also gives us a few unique insights. The father and the groom arranged this marriage between Jacob and Rachel. Jacob works 7 years to marry.  The many guests arrive, and they prepare a feast. His apparently heavily veiled bride was actually the sister of his intended, which he didn’t discover until the next morning!  After the “bridal week” celebration, he is allowed to marry his love (as long as he worked 7 more years for her…)  This wedding sounds like a modern-day soap opera!

Weddings have changed over the years, but the themes of celebrating two lives intertwined, a celebration with family and friends, music and food remain!

Wedding in Cana

Jesus and his disciples attend this wedding and meet Jesus’ mother and brothers there.  (Perhaps it was a family wedding?) The wedding details are slim, but the feast is a reoccurring theme.  The feast was a socially required standard, which was why running out of wine was an enormous problem.  We read there was a “master of the banquet” in charge (the “wedding planner” of their day?)  We learn that it was normal to serve the finer wine first, with a cheaper one served later.  Jesus performs His very first miracle here, and while He wanted it kept under wraps, it was a big deal at the time.  (There were few choices for beverage in the day- either water or wine.)

I love the imagery of Jesus caring enough about the details in this wedding to make more wine and rescue the reception!

Weddings in the Bible- Profile of bride smelling a flower
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The Wedding Supper of the Lamb

We pick up the wedding thread again in the book of Revelation.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” Rev 19:7. (NIV).

“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” Rev 19:9 (NIV).

This wedding imagery here expresses the relationship between God and His people. The bridegroom is our perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ, and His bride is the church; all who trust in His gift of salvation.

“I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband.” Rev 21:2 (NIV).

This wedding scene shows us a processional that ushers in a new kingdom of God. The bride is the holy city of Jerusalem, the Lord’s people, His church, prepared and beautifully dressed.  It marks the start of our secure, eternal life with our Bridegroom at His second coming.

Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom

From the wedding and institution of marriage in Genesis to the wedding supper in Revelation, we see the thread of weddings, marriage, and being united with Jesus, our bridegroom.

John the Baptist alluded to Jesus as the bridegroom in his testimony about Him and their relationship.  “The bride belongs to the bridegroom.  The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice… He must become greater; I must become less.”  John 3:29-30 (NIV)

In another passage, Jesus’ disciples were criticized for not fasting. Jesus replies with a question in which He calls Himself the bridegroom: “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:15 (NIV)).

Jesus left Heaven and came to Earth as our bridegroom to wed His bride, the Church.  Two become one- Jesus unites with us through His sacrifice.

God and Marriage

So why use the analogy of a bride and groom?

God uses the analogy of marriage to describe His relationship with us. The bride and bridegroom give us a picture of a deep love relationship, entered willingly and with joyful expectancy.

This is the same relationship God has with you in Jesus.  “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”  Isaiah 62:5 (NIV)

God’s love for us is a deep personal love that we get a glimpse of when we see a loving marriage.

We hear the words “till death do us part” at weddings.  They are meant as a sign of commitment and for the bride and groom to value each day together.

But our bridegroom, Jesus, pledges us a love that is never ending.  He loves us in and through our messy lives, through death, and into eternal glory. Nothing can part us! Jesus came from heaven to seek His bride.  He bought her (paid the bride-price!) by sacrificing His own life.

The greatest love story ever told is Christ’s love for you and me!

Blessings!

AnnMarie

Related Post ~There are beautiful allegories of marriage found in Song of Songs:   Song of Songs- A Love Story.

Photo Credit: Canva

2 thoughts on “Weddings In the Bible”

    1. Thanks Cindy! It probably was a bit indulgent on my part, but it was fun to write 🙂 Thanks for the prayers, we are excited!

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