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If you watched our wedding video, you’ll notice a clip at the 4:28 mark where Andy’s feet are in a bowl and I’m drying them off. This was a special element of our wedding ceremony called a foot washing, and today I’ll share about why we incorporated this into our wedding.
If you’re unfamiliar with what a foot washing is, in John 13 of the Bible, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet as an act of serving them. In some Christian sects, like the one I grew up in, church members literally wash congregants’ feet as a reminder to serve others and the Kingdom of Christ. To me, it’s always been a beautiful picture of what a marriage is– serving one another with the love Christ has for us– and I knew from the beginning that I wanted it to be a special part of our big day.
Andy, however, was hesitant. It was not a tradition that was practiced in his childhood church, so it felt strange to him. It was too personal, too… raw to share on such a public platform. (If you don’t know him in person, he can be quite shy.) So, I decided we would skip the foot washing, even though I admittedly was a bit heartbroken.
One night a couple of months before the wedding, Andy said he had a surprise for me. When he said the surprise was that he wanted to do a foot washing ceremony in our wedding, I was overjoyed. When I asked him why he changed his mind, he said the idea grew on him and it would make our wedding stand out, but the main reason was that it was so important to me.
I love this quote from Jefferson Bethke’s book “It’s Not What You Think” about why he and his wife, Alyssa, incorporated a foot washing ceremony into their wedding:
“Essentially it’s serving. It’s taking the lowest seat and doing what others won’t. Jesus clearly states that the kingdom operates and sees power differently than the world. According to Jesus, the ‘powerful’ are the servants. The ones who make themselves last. I’m challenged to live this out every day of my marriage. For twenty-three years I was conditioned to see that life was about my priorities, my goals, and other details of my life. Yet Jesus strangely says if we want to find our lives and find joy, we have to lose them. We have to give them up. (…) It creates this dynamic and spirit about our relationship that fills us, gives us joy, and brings us just a tiny bit closer together. It even produces this dance-like rhythm in our marriage in which we are mutually serving and dancing with each other in love. And if you’ve been in that spot, you know that’s the spot we were created for. That’s the kingdom.”
If incorporating a foot washing ceremony is something you’d like to do for your own wedding, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below and let me know your thoughts on a foot washing ceremony!