You are planning your dream wedding and want it to be a God-honoring celebration. As you think through all the details, you wonder – what does the Bible say about dancing at weddings? Should you have dancing at your reception or avoid it altogether?
Dancing is mentioned around 30 times in the Bible, mainly in the Old Testament. The contexts range from joyful celebrations to idolatrous worship. As with many topics, Scripture does not give definitive yes or no answers about dancing at weddings. However, by examining key passages, biblical principles, and practical considerations, you can make an informed decision for your special day.
- The Bible portrays dance as an act of joyful worship and celebration.
- While the Bible prohibits lustful dancing, it does not forbid dance altogether.
- Principles such as modesty, self-control, and avoiding drunkenness should guide wedding dances.
- Consider your conscience, Christian liberty, and witness in deciding about dancing.
- Focus on Christ-centered joy and community at your wedding rather than idolatrous self-indulgence.
Dancing as an Act of Joy and Worship
Throughout Scripture, dancing is associated with joyful celebration and worship. After God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, Moses’ sister Miriam led the women in celebratory dance and music (Exodus 15:20). David danced enthusiastically before the Lord when the ark of the covenant was brought to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:14). In Psalms, believers are encouraged to praise God’s name in dance (Psalm 149:3, 150:4).
Even in the New Testament, Jesus told a parable contrasting the reception of the prodigal son compared to his sullen brother. While the older brother stewed in his resentment, the father threw a party where music and dancing celebrated the younger son’s return (Luke 15:25). Overall, the Bible connects dancing with rejoicing in God’s goodness and faithful works.
This biblical foundation provides a framework for wedding dances as an expression of praise and thanksgiving to God. You can celebrate the gift of marriage and rejoice in God bringing you and your spouse together. Dancing at your reception highlights the joyous, worshipful side of a wedding rather than a shallow party atmosphere.
Lustful Dancing Prohibited, Not All Dance
Some Christians argue that since a few Bible verses condemn lustful dancing, all dancing must be wrong. For example, Moses became enraged when he returned from Mt. Sinai to find the Israelites dancing before the golden calf idol (Exodus 32:19). The prophet Samuel rebuked Israel’s sin of worshiping idols under green trees where they feasted and danced provocatively (1 Samuel 10:5, 2 Samuel 6:20-21). And in the New Testament, Herod’s lustful dancing pleased his guests but angered God, leading to John the Baptist’s beheading (Matthew 14:6-11).
While Scripture clearly prohibits immoral, pagan revelry, these passages do not forbid all forms of dance. Dancing itself is amoral – the morality depends on the dancer’s motives and conduct. The Bible commends joyful, thankful dancing in celebration of God’s blessings. But it rejects wild, impure dancing in worship of idols that stirs up sinful lusts.
The same applies when considering dance at your wedding. Make sure your dancing glorifies God and avoids lustful enticement. But you do not need to avoid all dancing if you keep it purposeful and pure.
Applying Biblical Principles to Wedding Dances
When planning your wedding reception, how can you discern if dance activities are appropriate and honor God? Here are some biblical principles to keep in mind:
Practice modesty and self-control. Immodest, sexually charged dancing can awaken lust and temptation. But modest, graceful dancing displays the beauty of God’s creation. Likewise, maintain self-control so your moves remain graceful and avoid a loss of inhibition from drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18).
Avoid causing others to stumble. Be sensitive that provocative dancing may cause struggles for those battling temptation. You want your wedding to create an enjoyable atmosphere without stirring up lust (Romans 14:13).
Glorify God, not self. Make dancing about celebrating your marriage and praising God rather than showing off your moves or “hooking up” on the dance floor. Keep the focus on wholesome fellowship and community, not sensuality.
Honor your spouse. As you dance with your new husband or wife, let it reflect your love and commitment to one another. Avoid any flirtatious or suggestive dancing with others that could undermine your covenant faithfulness.
Consider your Christian witness. Your wedding is a public testimony of Christ’s redemptive work in your life and relationship. Carefully weigh if some dance styles may miscommunicate this gospel message and distract from God’s Spirit.
Exercising Christian Liberty and Conscience
The Bible does not directly prohibit all forms of dance. So within biblical constraints, deciding about dancing at your wedding comes down to exercising Christian freedom and conscience.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Will dancing be consistent with our desire to glorify God and point people to Christ?
- Do I have any personal convictions against dancing at my wedding? If so, am I willing to go against my conscience?
- Might dancing cause any weak believers to stumble or distract from gospel witness in our setting?
- What dance styles and guidelines would align with purity, modesty, and avoiding drunkenness?
- How can the dance activities build up community, celebrate our marriage, and avoid lustful excess?
Consider your own conscience and convictions along with how dancing may impact others at your wedding. God may lead one Christian to feel complete freedom to dance modestly at their wedding while prompting another to avoid it out of sensitivity to particular guests. Listen to the Spirit’s wisdom for your specific situation.
Making Christ the Focus
When planning your special day, remember that a wedding is ultimately about the joyous union between Christ and His Church reflected in your marriage covenant together (Ephesians 5:31-33). This eternal perspective helps guard against self-indulgent excess on your wedding day.
Rather than showcasing extravagance or an idolatrous party atmosphere, prayerfully consider how each element can point people to Jesus and build up Christian community. With dancing, focus on celebrating the goodness of marriage rather than sensual flaunting. Carefully select modest yet meaningful dance styles.
And if you decide to eliminate or limit dancing, replace it with other activities that foster sincere Christ-centered joy. Sing worship songs together as you reflect on God’s faithfulness. Share testimonies of God’s redemptive work in your love story. Intentionally include guests who may feel excluded without dance, such as older relatives or singles. Make them feel valued with genuine fellowship that honors Christ over self-glorifying revelry.
The gospel transforms even something as mundane as wedding dance decisions into opportunities for deeper worship, community, and connection with Christ. As you walk in prayerful wisdom regarding dance at your wedding, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as the joyful Bridegroom who loves the Church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25). What a beautiful truth to celebrate and display at your wedding!
What does the Bible say about dancing at your wedding? While a few guidelines prohibit lustful excess, overall the Scriptures encourage skillful, graceful dancing as an expression of praise and thankfulness. Biblical principles of modesty, self-control, avoiding temptation, and witness should guide your decision rather than complete avoidance of dance. Consider your conscience, Christian freedom, and the potential impact on others as you make wise choices led by the Spirit. And focus on glorifying Christ and pointing people to the eternal marriage between Him and the Church. With prayerful wisdom, your wedding can showcase gospel joy and godly celebration whether or not you include dancing. Trust the Lord to lead you each step of the way as you begin your precious married life together for His glory.