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Dearly Beloved Navigating Your Church Wedding

Church Publishing Inc, 2007
RRP: $15.95

Reviewed by Belinda Dorman

Author Andrew MacBeth is a Lithurgical marriage celebrant and affiliate of the Episcopal Church.

Dearly Beloved; Navigating Your Church Wedding seeks to encourage couples to knowledgably and actively plan a wedding service that is a reflection of the individual couple and Christianity.

The book is written primarily for those who will plan their wedding with a pastor and offers suggestions and advice on what to expect when choosing a church celebrant.

Throughout his book, he explores the meanings behind various traditional wedding ceremonies, services and practices and whether or not it may be relative to the couple.

Also, he explores family expectations, wedding traditions and market trends which influence wedding planning and offers suggestions to avoid and resolve some common problems that arise during planning and service.

The last chapter is dedicated to non-traditional unions; same sex, interfaith, divorcees and blended families.

Mr Macbeth offers ceremonial options and suggestions with the same seriousness and joy as he does with traditional marriages.

Quotations from marriage services come from The Common Book of Prayer (1979), ceremonial Biblical scriptures and traditional vows are included in his book.

Dearly Beloved is informative and easy to read. However, it lacks some structure and depth.
The book ends abruptly after the last chapter with no conclusion. Furthermore, while much of the books information is drawn from Mr MacBeth’s personal experience and liturgical principles, no references are provided for statistical information or non-liturgical wedding traditional meanings that he provides in his book.

It may have been a benefit to the reader if further reading and resources was suggested, particularly for people with intended non-traditional unions. Overall, Dearly Beloved; Navigating Your Church Wedding was informative, interesting and well presented.

The book provides some food for thought for people planning a wedding or exploring wedding tradition.