After living with several roommates during their wedding planning process, the thought of organizing one for myself made me want to break out in hives.
‘Bridezilla' was a nice way of describing the person who sometimes emerged while choosing napkin patterns, bouquet colors, venues, and invitations. I couldn't figure out how the day that was meant to be the happiest day of a girl's life was frequently overshadowed by fighting with loved ones, consistent freak-out sessions, and fear that something was forgotten or might go wrong.
Yeah, no thanks.
My mom just always thought I'd elope. She once admitted to me how she expected to get a phone call one day from her only daughter, announcing to all that I'd run away and tied the knot. And while this carefree approach was definitely more my style, a part of me knew I'd always regret taking away mom's only opportunity to help plan a wedding (she LOVES to plan big bashes), and I couldn't imagine looking at wedding pictures without family and friends around celebrating the occasion.
Definite predicament: A non-planner who wants a big bash she doesn't have to plan.
In early 2007, my then boyfriend Lucas and I knew we were in the relationship for life. But with my on the road tour schedule and with his lack of a job, it was difficult to figure out when and how to get hitched. I remember that day in January when he walked into my living room, excited to give me the news.
“Babe, I prayed about it, and I know exactly when we're going to get married.”
“Really?” This was definitely information I was excited to find out. “When?”
“Well, I feel like we're going to get married on 7/7/07,” he replied confidently.
I pulled out my laptop, opening my iCalendar.
“Uh, no,” I said, my tone dripping in disappointment. “You must have heard wrong. I have a gig with Michael W. Smith that day, and there's no way I'm going to get married on a day when I have a gig.”
On 7/7/07, I was scheduled to play with Smitty at The Call Nashville at Titans Stadium, which was a gathering around 60,000 believers ready to fast and pray and worship over our nation. And since a wedding celebration consisting of fasting and praying sounded more like my worst nightmare, I gladly wrote off his words.
The months rolled by with no wedding or even the hint of planning a wedding in sight. It was the end of June, a week and a half before 7/7/07, when I got a phone call from a worship leader named Chris Dupree. He explained how he knew I was already playing with Smitty in the afternoon, but asked if I would want to play with him during the morning. He went on to describe how the covenant we make with Jesus is like the covenant of marriage, and how as the Bride of Christ, the whole stadium was going to renew their covenant vows to Jesus while worshiping. And as we all worshiped, there would be a couple of actual private ceremonies on the field, signifying the Bride and the Bridegroom.
As I sat and listened to him talk, my mouth dropping open. I looked over at Lucas in disbelief.
Oh. My. Gosh. He had been right—this was our answer. We were going to get married on 7/7/07.
After Chris Dupree finished his schpeel, he said, “So, what do you think? Do you want to play with me while the Bride of Christ renews her covenant vows to the Bridegroom?”
“Uh, no actually,” I replied. Stunned. “Can I be one of the couples that gets married on the field?”
IN A WEEK AND A HALF:
1) We found a cute little upstairs unit in a house in East Nashville with bright pink carpet, bought two red leather couches on Craiglist, painted the walls, and moved our stuff in. BOOM.
2) I had been a maid of honor in a wedding and had tried on wedding dresses with my friend–so I already knew what dress I wanted and found a dress shop on Craigslist in New Mexico that was closing down. They sold me the dress at 1/4 of the cost, and because it was a sample that people tried on, it was long enough and only had to be taken in. I had a seamstress friend do it in 24 hours. DOUBLE BOOM.
3) Three days after the event on 7/7/07, I was scheduled to play on an Alaskan Cruise with Michael W. Smith, and spouses got to come. For free. Yes, people, not only did we get a free honeymoon, I got PAID to be there. TRIPLE BOOM.
4) We didn't call our parents with news that we had eloped. We gave them a whole WEEK AND A HALF to get to Nashville! My best friend Kelly flew in flew in from NYC, and all our friends just happened to be in town that weekend, ready to celebrate with us on the field. QUADRUPLE BOOM.
5) Michael and Debbie Smith got us a room at an adorable bed and breakfast as a wedding present until we left for the cruise. CINCO BOOM.
6) My friend Heather Marvin offered to do my hair for free. My friend Brandon Chesbro offered to do photography for free. My friend Ryan Smith offered to film my wedding for free. My friend's mother offered to make my bouquet for free. SEIS BOOM.
7) Oh, and let's not forget God.TV. GodTV was airing The Call live, and I just happened to know one of the guys who started the station. They had planned on cutting to a segment about Israel during the wedding portion of the day, but my friend Clive made a phone call to the producer, insisting that they air it so he could watch it in London, and that the camera stay on me and Lucas the entire time. So for everyone who couldn't make it to the wedding, we simply made phone calls, letting them know that they could just tune in live to watch our wedding…..because it was being televised in over 200 countries worldwide.
BOOM TIMES INFINITY.
With 60,000 people worshiping in unison and an entire world watching, I walked down the center of a football field towards my beloved. The hands of strangers extended to bless us—blessing our marriage, blessing our lives. And as their melodies rained over us like water from heaven, we knew we were in a divine moment. We knew Jesus had chosen this day for us before the beginning of time–beginning our union with the passion of our lives: Worship.
As the worshiping soared to higher heights and as thousands renewed their covenant vows to Jesus, we made our vows to one another for the first time with family and friends pressing in close.
I always say that Jesus is the best wedding planner if you'll let Him be. We didn't have any stress, any drama, or any hassles. We had a bit of scrambling to do, but it was exciting, knowing that God had chosen this day and this moment for us to be joined as husband and wife. He had a solution for every impossible problem in front of us—and all we had to do was wait, listen, believe, and receive.
As Lucas and I continue to rest in His planning for our future, the adventure of our life unfolds, living out a much more colorful story than we could ever have planned on our own. And every impossible mountain not only becomes possible, but simply another opportunity for Him to show off.
If you let Him, He'll do “exceedingly, abundantly above ALL that you could ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Ps. Mom and I both got what we wanted–I let her plan a reception for us a from top to bottom, and we just showed up a month later, decked out in a tux and a wedding dress, ready to party with family and friends!
Is there something you need or long for that you believe is impossible? Have you tried to figure out logistics from an earthy perspective, but can't find the solution?
Take a minute and ask Jesus. Ask Him what HE sees. Ask Him if HE might have the solution you've been longing for. And maybe, just maybe, you'll discover the beautiful privilege of getting to be dependent on Him in the process.
I still played my gig! After getting hitched, I climbed back onto that stage and helped Michael W. Smith lead worship as the Bride!
22 Responses to “How To Plan Your Wedding In A Week And A Half”
Ok – it’s unconventional C, but th older I get, th more excited I m 2 see what tomorrow will look like with Jesus at the helm!!!!
Wow I was there and I remember that glorious day clearly with all it’s memories. Those 300 shofars. the weddings, the BJ prophetcy. i was an usher in the NW corner. Your faith moved mountains that day for you and many of us. I now live here in Redding which was my dream. Thanks you for filling in the blanks about your dream, I never knew the whole story until now. Beautiful! You’ve actually been instrumental in my growth in many ways. Last year on my B-day, I read your book, God loves Ugly and it was life changing for me…Thanks!
Sending blessings your way.
That is the BEST wedding story EVER! It always blesses me to see how amazingly detailed and creative God is! Loved reading this, Thanks!
This was AWESOME! I’m so glad you posted this!
Thank you for reminding me that He is in control and all I have to do is believe and hold onto him!
This is so beautiful…
I WAS THERE** I THOUGHT IT WAS AWESOME***
I love it! Thanks for sharing. I love the picture of the bride worshipping. So powerful!
I remember seeing you get married at the stadium, and let me tell you- you caught all our attention and awe with you praising God as you walked down the aisle. I’m getting married to my long-distance boyfriend (just got engaged July 4th on his visit to the US) and there’s lots of logistics to pray about and figure out. This blog is an encouragement to me that God can and will make it happen.
What an incredible testimony. Thanks for sharing it. I was there that day–actually in the morning. It was wonderful.
You continue to be a girl after my own heart! I called my mom from Belgium in 1984 and asked if she could plan a small, outdoor wedding a month after I got home to a guy from Yosemite that she had never met (God bless her – she said “sure” because Jesus had already told her it was the right guy!). I bought my dress in a little Brussels shop for a song compared to American dresses, called friends and BOOM – instant, lovely casual wedding with lots of miraculous details covered. Almost 30 years later – still adore my mountain guy. Best part – no fuss and all Jesus. 🙂 I get it!
Wow. God’s timing is so perfect! Makes me love Him more. Beautiful story. My eyes won’t stop leaking.
Christa— Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder. Looking at probably getting married under slightly less than desirable circumstances— cross-continent, shy on money, probably no family or friends present. Essentially no wedding. I’ve been very sad about that, but also found a place of surrender. Your story brought me a lot hope, in the simple reminder that God provides— sometimes in very unexpected ways — beautifully.
Perhaps a bit untoward— but if you have a moment, would you mind extending the blessing God gave you in your wedding story, to me?
I am trying to figure out the logistics on a couple of big life decisions. I really needed this. It looks like a one or the other kind of thing to me, but maybe it’s both like it was for you. Thank you, SO much, Christa. God is the God of more, isn’t He?
Sent this to my husband as we were just discussing believing God for what seems to be impossible in our minds. xoxo
Umm… how did I never hear about this? I LOVE your story Christa!!! Keep doing it girl- you inspire nations!
Kristy (Palmer) Benson
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Christa! WOW, what an awesome God we have who gives every good and perfect gift to His beloved children! I’m sure the sight of a couple getting married in the midst of that setting helped everyone there have a tangible picture of God’s love for His bride. So beautiful!
Love this so much.
Thank you so much for this post. I am currently planning my wedding and just reading this post was exactly what I needed to hear. I have been following your blog ever since I bought your book and every time I read one of your posts it is so helpful and encouraging.
Love it!!!!!! Amazing!
Sooo awesome, Christa. Thank you for sharing. (-:
Christa u look absolutely gorgeous!!! Love your dress!!