Spirits in Union

Too often the wedding production seems to get cluttered with a parade of professional people--musicians, florists, photographers, coordinators—all doing a "perfect" job in a mechanical way. Perhaps that's why it's always rather pleasant to discover exceptions to the rule--to leam, for example, that so-and-so's mother made all of the bridesmaids' dresses or that the brothers of the groom wrote and sang that very touching, yet slightly off-key song for the service or that a favorite niece made 487 of those hand-decorated cupcakes. If you're like me, these loving contributions made by families and close friends are the things that you'll remember the longest about the wedding.

What follows is an example of such a contribution. Ellie Van Ham offered her creative services to her son and future daughter-in-law. She told them she would like to make a banner to hang in the sanctuary for their wedding service.

The design, chosen by the couple, was the same design that appeared on their stationery (see box on following page). With a little help from her friend, Jane Brink, Ellie applied the design to some fabric and a hula-hoop and came up with a beautiful and memorable banner. I'll let Ellie describe how she did it…

We chose moire taffeta as the base fabric, white satin for the dove, a textured fabric for the candlelight, and iridescent gauze-like fabric for the flame.

Using a projector to enlarge the pattern, we traced it on paper, then laid our pattern pieces on the fabric.

After we had cut out the various shapes, we attached the dove, candle light, and flame to the base fabric with a blind applique stitch. Using the trapunto method (rather than sewing together already stuffed shapes, the "pockets" are sewn together and slits cut from behind for stuffing), we stuffed the dove and fire with polyester fiberfill to create the illusion of the dove hovering over the fire. We trimmed the candlelight with white sheen roping to accent the outline and to give more shadow and texture. Then we batted and quilted the entire banner against a white calico backing. The quilting lines (one inch apart) followed the flowing design of the dove's wings and body to reinforce the impression of movement.

We used a hula-hoop wrapped with white cotton material to stretch and mount the banner, crisscrossing ribbon strips (in the back) to hold it in place.

Altogether the materials cost us about $35.00, and we spent about forty hours making the banner.

Although Ellie made this banner specifically for her son's wedding, I can imagine a church using a similar banner for any wedding ceremony held in its sanctuary. The white-on-white color of the banner makes it quite flexible for all wedding color schemes: simply add a coordinating drape in the wedding colors behind the white circular banner.


The descending dove symbolizes God the Holy Spirit and stands for God's covenant with us. The candle lights stand for Jesus Christ, "the light of the world" manifested in two Christian lives. The resulting haloes created by the candle lights stand for eternity and are symbolic of the rings used in the marriage ceremony, which represent unending love.

Even though we have provided "clip-art" above, the design used for this banner and invitation is not uncommon and could probably be found at the local printer. You may have to go through several stationery catalogs to find exactly the same design, but ordering stationery this way is less expensive than starting from scratch.

Dean Heetderks is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan, and art director of Reformed Worship. Show and tell him about your experiences at dean.heetderks@gmail.com.

Ellie Van Harn is a member of Grace Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Reformed Worship 16 © June 1990, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.