Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Holy unions, unholy wedding receptions

(LA Copts) - In the Holy Orthodox Church, marriage is a divine Mystery that culminates in two people being transformed into a one-flesh unity through the work of the Holy Spirit. The ultimate goal of this one-flesh unity is the salvation of the husband, wife, and any children the Lord grants to the couple. Orthodox Christian marriage, therefore, is a path towards holiness.

Today, this beautiful reality of marriage is oftentimes overshadowed by the dark cloud of the modern wedding reception, which is sadly welcomed by even devout Orthodox Christians. If you’ve attended one of these receptions, you’ve attended them all, because they have become quite formulaic and predictable: a rowdy party at a hotel/banquet hall/restaurant with unseemly dancing to some mix of Middle-Eastern and Western music, an open bar, and oftentimes some type of photo station for selfies with generic signs or funny hats.

These types of receptions have become so prevalent that they are now normative in the minds of many young Orthodox Christian couples. It is not my intention to comment on those who may have had such receptions in the past, because they most likely didn’t know better. If they made a mistake, it was that of being followers rather than leaders. The goal of this essay is to reach out to couples who will get married in the future and encourage them to have a frank discussion about how they wish to celebrate their blessed marriage...
Complete article here.


  1. There really is nothing new under the sun. St. John Chrysostom complained about bawdy wedding feasts as well.

  2. This article would be better with more specifics. John Chrysostom says that it's ok to have "a banquet with friends" after your wedding, as long as it doesn't include "excesses." It's hard to define what these excesses are.

    Does this mean there should be no alcohol at Orthodox wedding receptions? After all, if it is there, it is hard to control how much each guest decides to drink.

    Does this mean no dancing? Or "policing" the dance floor to prevent lewd dancing?

    One thing we can all agree on, I think: no Bieber, no Lady Gaga. I guess that's a start and we can work from there.