I am so excited to have the lovely Briana Kapper on the blog today! It still makes me smile to say her new last nameNot only is she a dear friend but I also look up to her a lot. Throughout their wedding planning process, Aaron and Bri did things a little different than most. I loved their perspective on preparing for marriage so I asked her to write a little bit about it! So brides take note and I hope this helps to any of you!
“Sabrina asked me to write about my experiences with planning a Christ-centered wedding. Honestly, I was seriously intimidated. I’ve known Sabrina since she and my sister were friends in middle school youth group. I’ve watched her grow as a photographer, but more importantly, grow into a godly woman who is daily becoming more confident of who she is in Christ. We’ve had great conversations about what it looks like to be intentional, authentic, and God glorifying women. I admire her heart and her talent, and it was a dream to have her be the photographer for our wedding because of this. So basically, I’m honored that she asked me to write this at all. So, here we go!
Aaron and I were engaged in May 2014 and married in November 2014. We did not have a venue in place until August, which was probably the most nerve wracking thing about the whole process besides the guest list. We wanted a small, low budget, true-to-us, and Christ-centered wedding. I’d like to think we stuck to that throughout the planning process, even though I was overwhelmed by all of it at times. The funny thing is, I had been fascinated and borderline obsessed with weddings for years. I enjoyed every aspect about them from the flowers to the invitations to the bridesmaids dresses to the cake to the venue. Everything. But when it came time to plan my own wedding, I suddenly did not care that much. I mean, I cared because I wanted it to be beautiful, but I didn’t care at the same time. Does that make sense? I just didn’t want to go crazy. Rules are stupid. I mean. Why are flower girls or being surprised that you’re getting engaged necessary? Weddings are about a covenant relationship that reflects Christ and His church. The reception is an excuse for celebrating that. Aaron kept reminding me of that. I would start to dream about details and he’s like, “Bri. Those will be beautiful but don’t lose sight about what a wedding is ultimately for and how we can glorify God through that.” So together, we tried to keep Christ truly at the center.
In July I came across a book I would highly recommend to any bride wanting a Christ-centered wedding. Guess what it is called? “A Christ-Centered Wedding: Rejoicing in the Gospel on Your Big Day,” by Catherine Parks. You don’t have to do everything it says, or anything it says for that matter, but I found it super practical. We found updated traditional vows and a welcome in there that really struck a cord for us that we ended up using for our wedding. But it seriously had some good advice on pretty much every area of anything related to weddings.
There also was a song our friends wrote, that was in my head the whole time we were planning, called, “Even One More.” (http://noisetrade.com/temples/against-the-grain go check them out!) This song just clearly called into better perspective God’s glory and power and grace. I knew it had to be part of our wedding, but it wasn’t until the week before that we decided to have it play while we took communion together and prayed. That ended up being one of my favorite parts of the day. We also had decided to have a time of worship, which was another favorite part of the day. We had our friend Joshi lead and play guitar, while Aaron’s brother Dan played the cajon. It was so beautiful. We sang “Before the Throne of God Above,” and, “Lord I Need You.” We wanted it to be clear for ourselves and our guests, that this day was not about us, but about our need for and dependence on God for everything in life, especially our marriage.
I think something else that was a huge saving grace for us as we prepared for our wedding, and ultimately marriage, was participating in premarital counseling through our church. It was such a blessing to meet with a couple we admired. We read some books, (“This Momentary Marriage,” by John Piper, and “The Meaning of Marriage,” by Timothy Keller), answered questions, and talked about things like discipleship, covenants, worship, roles, communication, finances, and more. It really helped us to keep our hearts directed towards building a foundation for marriage. It also solidified how I already felt about Aaron. I know that with Christ he will lead me well in life and make me a better person, and that with Christ I can learn from him and love him well.
Maybe our faith put the planning process into a different perspective. We wanted to glorify God with our actions, our steps, our decisions. I wanted to honor my parents and myself by sticking to the budget we had set out with. We wanted to take our premarital counseling seriously. We wanted our ceremony to reflect our faith. We wanted the reception to be a time where people could relax, enjoy each other, not feel rushed, and enjoy really good espresso. After everything was said and done, we felt truly blessed by my parents, Aaron’s parents, our siblings, our families, our talented dear friends, and our church families. From prayer, to encouragement, to helping set up, to finances– everyone did so much to help us make it the day we wanted it to be. We are so thankful.”