A Christian marriage is one of the most common forms of wedlock that a couple can be tied through. The ceremonies are very traditional, with a vow being exchanged between a man and woman. If you are planning to be married, chances are many of the basic traditions are Christian in origin.
A Christian marriage starts long before the couple says 'I do'. In order to be wed in many churches, you will be required to attend counseling, so that the minister of the church can evaluate and solidify your standing in the church. The minister can, at any time, choose not to wed a couple for religious regions, although this is becoming rather infrequent. Some churches will not wed a couple unless at least one member of the wedding party is a member of the church, although this varies from church to church and denomination to denomination.
When you are wed in a Christian marriage in a church by the leader of that church, the ceremony itself is usually attended by many members of the church. While many churches will do private weddings, many of them are opened to the congregation as a whole, as the marriage ceremony tends to be linked with a small sermon regarding marriage and the biblical duties of both man and wife.
There are some things that you can expect from a Christian marriage. The traditional roles of a marriage party are required, ranging from the Maid or Matron of Honor, the Best Man, as well as the brides maids and other attending men. A flower girl and ring bearer are also used. A man of standing close to the bride may stand in for the Father if he is unavailable. In some cases, a deacon of the church may fill this position if necessary, as the giving away of the bride is symbolic in the Christian belief.
There are some aspects of a Christian marriage that differ depending on denomination or type of Christianity. Baptist and Methodist faiths are more casual than Catholic, with Catholic churches following a more strict and longer process of ceremonies.
If you desire a Christian marriage, you will need to plan well in advance. As churches will require a lot of warning to prepare for such a ceremony, you can expect at least several months prior to when you can be wed to your bride or groom. Counseling may also add to the length of time, dependent on how your pastor feels about the relationship, and what the couple needs to learn prior to commitment.
In order to be eligible for a Christian marriage in a church, the couple in question should not live together prior to the wedding ceremony, as this goes against the basic beliefs of the church.