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Must Christians be married in a church?

by Stephen Davey

Sudhakar asks, Is it right or wrong for believers to be married some place other than a church?

Hi, Sudhakar

Thanks for your question. 

There is no biblical mandate for how or where a wedding should take place. 

I believe it’s important that when Christians marry, it should be a legally recognized marriage. Couples should follow the laws of the country where they live. For example, here in the United States, a legally recognized marriage requires a marriage license that is filed with the government. There are also rules regarding who can legally sign that marriage license. Christians should follow the laws where they live regarding marriage. 

As for the location of the wedding, the Bible does not give any command. Being married in a church is important to many couples. However, it’s not wrong for a wedding to happen in another location. For example, one of my sons was married on the rim of the Grand Canyon. 

As for who should perform the wedding, my personal recommendation to couples is that they be married by a legally licensed pastor. I believe that having a pastor perform the wedding helps the couple establish their marriage as a testimony of God’s grace and communicates a desire to follow God in obedience. However, that is my recommendation. It is not a biblical command. If a couple were married by a judge, or by the Captain of a ship at sea, God would view that couple as married and that would not be a sin. 

Again, thanks for asking. I hope that helped. 

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