At some point every minister will hear this question: “Pastor, would you do our wedding?” And that is not the moment when you should begin to formulate principles and guidelines on the issue of weddings. You should develop convictions on the subject, or at least have an idea of where you land on certain questions, as soon as possible. The context for the following questions is a man and woman wanting you to officiate their wedding. Pastors will not always agree on the answers, but these are the questions you must think through:
(1) Will you do weddings for people who are not members of your church?
(2) Will you make premarital counseling a condition to officiating the wedding?
(3) If “yes” to #3, will you insist on giving the premarital counseling yourself?
(4) If one person professes to be a Christian while the other does not, what will you do next?
(5) If one person is a Christian and the other is not, would you offer premarital counseling but not officiate the wedding?
(6) Would you consider marrying two unbelievers?
(7) If two professing Christians are living together before marriage, do you perform the wedding as soon as possible, or do you ask one of them to move out until the wedding?
(8) Would you insist that the couple read any books together, and would your book choices differ if the couple were unbelievers?
(9) How would you handle a situation where one or both sets of the couple’s parents were against the wedding?
(10) How would you proceed if you discovered that the couple’s relationship began in adultery?
(11) Would you officiate a wedding where one (or both) has a previous spouse still alive who is unmarried?
(12) Would you officiate a wedding where one (or both) has a previous spouse still alive who has remarried?
(13) If you believe there is biblical support for divorce in certain cases, does a biblical divorce in the past of one or both people permit remarriage?
(14) If you believe there is biblical support for divorce and yet a divorce occurred for unbiblical reasons in the past of one or both people, would you officiate the wedding?
(15) How would you proceed if a couple–one a professing Christian and the other not–has had children together?
(16) Could there be any practical issues that might make you reconsider officiating a wedding (such as a couple’s financial instability, lack of steady employment, differing views on manhood and womanhood, differing views on raising children, vast age difference, irreconcilable denominational convictions, etc.)?
(17) How would you proceed if you learned that there had been physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse in the relationship?
(18) How would you proceed if you learned that one or both of the persons had a criminal background?
(19) Would you make it a condition that you preach the Gospel at the wedding, no matter if the couple consists of believers or unbelievers?
(20) Have you thoroughly studied passages like Genesis 2:18-25, Ezra 10:18-44, Song of Songs, Ezekiel 16, Malachi 2:10-16, Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:1-10, Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:1-6, 1 Corinthians 7, 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Peter 3:1-7, Revelation 19:6-9, Revelation 21:1-5?
No couple is exactly alike, so more questions, sub-questions, and follow-up questions may be necessary for you to make a decision. The previous twenty can lead to some pretty tough conversations, so pastors must pray for a heart of humility and words of kindness.