Tyler and I are both at the age where we’ve been to a lot of weddings. Between friends’ weddings, family weddings, college roommates’ weddings and our own wedding – we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing union after beautiful union over the past couple of years.
One of my favorite parts of weddings (other than the classic watch-the-groom-when-the-doors-open-for-the-bride part!) is the unity ceremony. At almost every wedding, the bride and groom will participate in a joint activity to symbolize the unbreakable union they’re initiating on their wedding day. Sometimes it’s a unity candle, sometimes it’s a unity sand pouring – or sometimes a couple will serve one another communion. Each particular expression of the coming together is special in its own right. And no matter what a couple chooses, I always find myself getting emotional at this point in the wedding ceremony.
When it was our time to pick what we would do for our own unity ceremony – we broke the mold a little bit. All throughout our engagement, when people asked us what our unity ceremony was going to be, we were almost always met with a confused look.
“We’re doing a foot washing,” I would say, excited and beaming at the meaning behind it.
“A what?” most people would ask in return.
“Well, we’re not really washing our feet. At least, not like – for cleanliness purposes. It’s more of a symbolic rinsing,” I would say as my fingers made air quotation marks above my ears.
We chose to wash each other’s feet not so we could be different – but so we could set the stage for our marriage to be different.
In our season of engagement as we reflected on the passage in scripture (John 13) where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet as an example of humility and servant-love – Tyler and I knew that we wanted to start some of our first moments of marriage doing the same for one another.
Being able to get down on our knees and humble ourselves in service to one another – all in the middle of a white chapel packed to the brim with people we loved – was one of the most memorable moments of our wedding day. For me, it was the first part in the ceremony where my tears welled up and out of my tear ducts and rolled down my rosy cheeks.
Washing Tyler’s feet on our wedding day was my way of putting my commitment – my covenant – on display. It was me making a public statement to our friends and family that I would spend the rest of my days on this side of eternity dying to myself and putting him perpetually before me.
And the best part was that he did the exact same thing for me, too, when he got down on his knees and washed my feet.
Was it a little bit of a logistical challenge? Yes. But being able to infuse our day with such meaning was well worth it.
What are some of the unity ceremonies you’ve seen at weddings? What are some of your favorites? What did you do at your wedding or what do you want to do at your wedding?