Public Blessing from Both Sets of Parents
At my cousin’s wedding this past weekend, I witnessed a first. Both sets of parents gave their blessing for their child to be married. Brilliant!
The wedding took place on the enchanting lawn of the bride’s family friends. White roses in abundant bloom set the backdrop for the bride and groom as they stood with their bridal party on the white cement pool deck. Between the bride and groom and all of their guests was a glassy pool resembling a stately fountain.
Given the nature of the serene water between us and the bride and groom, there was no individual guest participation such as Scripture reading, solos, candle lighting, or flowers to the mothers. Once the father of the bride released his daughter’s hand into that of her elated groom and made his way to the guest side of the pool, the rest of the ceremony unfolded at a distance, almost as if we were watching a play.
Somehow, between the speaker system and the animated personalities in the bridal party, the scene seemed very intimate, very close, despite the distance of the pool. The pastor seemed to reach his message across the waters to each guest as if we were sitting in a chair across from him at a table.
One of the ways he created that intimacy was by directly addressing the parents of the bride and groom. First to the bride’s parents, he asked, “If you give your blessing to your daughter for her to marry this groom, please stand and say, ‘We do.”” They stood and proudly offered their words of support.
The pastor then directed the same prompt to the other side of the aisle, asking the groom’s parents if they gave their blessing for their son to be marrying this bride. They too joyously said, “We do.”
It is a common element of the wedding ceremony for the father of the bride to stand at the altar with his beautiful daughter and, when asked who gives this bride to be married to this groom, to say, “Her mother and I do.” What I have never before heard until this weekend was the acknowledgement that the groom’s parents are also giving their child into the covenant of marriage.
Both bride and groom are leaving and cleaving. Allowing both sets of parents a public declaration of releasing their children into matrimony is an opportunity to honor the parents. It both gives parents a voice and also demonstrates a proper understanding of the evolving roles in their married children’s lives.
And for the bride and groom’s benefit, receiving the blessing from their parents is an invaluable gift that brings peace into the foundation of the new marriage.
Think of Issac’s dying wish in Genesis 27 to bless his oldest son, Esau. Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, found this blessing so important that she meddled in the situation in order to deceive her husband into blessing her youngest (and favorite)son, Jacob, instead. Esau wept when he learned that Jacob had stolen his blessing. The blessing meant something!
There is power in a blessing, much more than the simple well-wishing that is conveyed by sentimental words. What a beautiful gift for both sets of parents to offer their children at their children’s wedding.