Reminding brides and bridesmaids of the importance of modesty on the wedding day
By Reem Samona
Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day, and every bridesmaid hopes to wear a dress that is both fashionable and flattering. Beauty, after all, is one of God’s attributes, and women in a special way bear witness to the power of beauty to attract our attention. However, part of the allure of beauty lies not only in what it reveals, but also in what it conceals, and this is where the meaning of modesty comes in.
Consider this beautiful description from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. … Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.” — Nos. 2521-2522.
Speaking of dress code can become a touchy subject. Not all brides, bridesmaids, mothers of the bride, and mothers of the groom dress outside of the modest standard of the Church. Unfortunately, “showing skin” is becoming more common among our community. Presenting the “wow” factor has become a crave for some.
The irony is we are observing several brides who are exposing themselves more on their wedding day than any other day in their lives. Some brides are dressing more provocatively on their wedding than any other day. When planning a wedding, it is important to take into consideration the fact that many bridal fashions today are not always appropriate attire for church, which is a Holy place — the house of God. There are, however, still many designers who are bringing modesty back in style. A number of last year’s fashion designers presented dresses of notable demure and timeless looks that were presentable for church.
“Traditionally, brides wore white to symbolize purity and modesty,” said Fr. Pierre Konja. “It is sad to see the contradiction of wearing white but revealing so much skin all in the name of fashion.”
Marriage is a holy and royal sacrament that the church takes great joy in partaking. “If we apply modesty as a standard to wedding attire, it means no plunging necklines or dresses that have dramatic cut outs showing a lot of bare skin,” said Antonia Kassab, a wedding coordinator at Mother of God Church in Southfield. “Chest, shoulders and back all need to be covered.”
While the majority of wedding gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses marketed today are strapless, it is important to remain covered. Antonia reminds us that the coordinators are there for support.
“We are always happy to help on your special day to make sure that you are appropriate for the church,” she said. “We do not want to stress you out on your wedding day, we want to present you properly to God and to your groom. A bride is to imitate the Blessed Mother: modest, pure, and loving.”
A misconception regarding a bride on her wedding day is that she is a princess. To the contrary a bride is not a princess. The bride is to imitate The Holy Blessed Queen. Therefore, a bride is a Queen on her wedding day. That royalty comes with a responsibility to dress in a way that reflects the fact that a wedding ceremony is a holy service of worship, not a fashion show. The bride wears a veil to reclaim the crown of modesty of our Blessed Mother.
“I encourage all brides to strongly consider what kind of image they are presenting of themselves the day of their wedding,” said Fr. Patrick Setto. “The veil is a sign of reverence for God’s presence on the altar.”
Let us remember the sacrament and parts of the mass that make it so very special. In the mass of Holy Matrimony there is a moment where the priest sets a crown on each the groom’s and bride’s head. Both are crowned as the King and Queen of their home. When welcoming Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the couple leads their home in Godly way. A Godly wife is a beauty to admire, not only to be admired. A Godly wife understands that beauty is not always skin deep. It takes just one bride to promote the virtue of modesty. Remember that she is crowned in grace, beauty, and love on this special modest day. It is time to reclaim the veil.
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