10 February 2014

Why would you sing "Look at Me" at your wedding day?

Several times in recent days I have seen a video pass through my Facebook news feed of a bride who sings "Look at Me" as she walks done the aisle to join her soon-to-be husband as they are joined together.  I find the video rather appalling for two reasons:
  1. I hate country music; and,
  2. the action is very egocentric.
After listening to all of the song that I could, several questions come to me:
  1. Why would you sing that on your wedding day?
  2. Why didn't someone tell her that was a poor choice?
  3. Why would a man want to marry a woman who thinks marriage is about her?

Whenever I meet with a couple to help them prepare for marriage, I begin with a shocker.  I look at the future bride and say to her: "Your wedding day is not about you."  With each bride the response is the same: her eyes grow large, her jaw drops, and she casts a quick glance at her future husband because I've just shattered every Disney-inspired dream she's had since she was four.

Next I look at the groom and say to him, "Your wedding is not about you, either."  The grooms are never too surprised at this.

I then look at the couple and tell them, "Your wedding is not even about the both of you."  At this moment the future bride is usually very confused.

Now I come to the final comment: "Your wedding is not about you.  Your wedding is about Christ and his love for his Bride, the Church.  Your love for each other is to mirror his love.  Too many marriages fail because the wife or the husband forgets this and begins to think the wedding is about himself or herself."

Likewise, the day I was ordained was not about me; it was about Jesus Christ and his gift of his Body and Blood and of his tender mercy which always awaits us in the confessional.

I've never had a couple run out or look for a different priest.  It's time to start thinking about marriage properly.


  1. That could have been saved for the reception.

  2. That solo could have been saved for the reception.

  3. I hate it for 2 reasons also but it's not country music ;)
    1) I am opposed in general to brides singing at their weddings -tacky.
    2) what you said and a woman and man ought to be more concerned with preparing for marriage than a wedding.

  4. Well, yes and no. First, the song. I assume this is the Carrie Underwood song "Look at Me," not a different song with the same title. The gist of the song is NOT "Hey, look at me, aren't I the most beautiful person ever," but rather, "Look at how in love with you I am, how much I want to devote myself to you, because you're the one for me..." That's my attempt at a paraphrase anyway. So I don't think the song is all THAT egocentric, but yeah, I agree that having either a bride OR a groom doing a Las Vegas spotlight moment in their wedding does tend to look sort of...tacky.As for the "Wedding isn't about either or you or even both of you" idea: On the one hand, Father, I get your point. A wedding (particularly a Catholic wedding) shouldn't be a celebration of self or an inviation to have others glory in one's fashion choices, flower choices, etc. A Catholic wedding always needs to be deeper than that; it needs to have a sacramental focus...chiefly because a Catholic marriage is an ongoing sacrament which begins (but does not end) on the couple's wedding day. And yes, the wedding IS certainly about Christ's love for his church -- and for all those whom he came to redeem, actually: a never-ending love that is without condition or qualification, a self-sacrificing love that is not afraid of the gates of hell. That's a pretty good template for a solid marriage, I would say. (My wife and I have been married for almost nineteen years, and we're still working at it. This is a challenging sacrament! But also one that can carry wonderful grace if you allow yourself to be open to it.) In another respect, however, I would argue that the day on which a marriage begins is, in fact, ALSO about the couple and the commitment they are making to one another and to the community/church. This is, after all, the sacrament that the marriage partners administer to each other -- through the exchange of sacred vows -- a sacrament that the priest or deacon WITNESSES on behalf of the Church. If the couple is not able or willing to give full consent to the marriage, the Church teaches that no marriage in fact exists. So yes, the wedding day is in a very real sense "about" the couple and the commitment they are making. A commitment that is meant to mirror Christ's love for and commitment to the Church. But no, it's not a fashion show they are putting on, or an opportunity to see how extravagent they can be in spending money in a very public way. And, as William pointed out above, preparations for the marriage should always be given much more time and weight than preparations for the one-day wedding!