For many couples, a traditional church wedding answers all of their wedding dreams and expectations.
For those couples, faith is a major part of their day to day lives, and they probably can’t imagine being married anywhere other than in a sacred sanctuary. That makes the choice of wedding venue fairly easy.
For other couples, a church wedding may not be the obvious, or even the preferred, option. Their faith may be equally strong, but they dream of a less traditional wedding.
The long for something a little more individualized, and a little less restricted. Neither choice is wrong or right. It is only a matter of personal choice. But if you are just beginning to plan your wedding ceremony, the choice of sacred venue or hired venue is an important one. And it will shape many of your subsequent decisions.
So, before you make your final decision, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of both hired venues and sacred sanctuaries.
Decor and Decorations
One of the major advantages of a church wedding is that the basic infrastructure is already in place. The sanctuary will require little in the way of decoration to make it an impressive stage for your wedding.
All you will have to supply is flowers and a few decorative touches to make the ceremony more personal. This is can be a real boon for couples on a budget.
However, there are some disadvantages here as well. If you have a specific theme in mind for your wedding, you will be facing some significant restrictions. A church or synagogue is unlikely to let you go wild with the decorations, or transform their sacred sanctuary into a secular wedding venue.
The Wedding Officiant
If you plan a church wedding, you may not have a choice in who officiates. You may find that you are assigned a clergyman to perform your wedding as part of the churches regular schedule.
If you have your hearts set on a particular officiant for you wedding, you will want to go with a secular venue. Even if that officiant is part of the clergy, it is easier to bring them to you.
If you plan a church wedding, you will likely have access to the church organist or congregational choir. Again, this can save you money as most will only ask a small donation to the church to play at your wedding. That being said, you will lose some control over your choice of music for the ceremony. You may not be able to have any secular music included in your wedding program, and will have to stick to only traditional options.
Unless you have your heart set on a small chapel, a church will probably have all of the seating you need. You won’t have to rent chairs and spend hours ahead of time arranging the seating area. Churches and synagogues are designed to accommodate large groups of people, and most are already handicap accessible. That being said, you will likely have to consider a separate reception venue.
The Reception Venue
Most churches and synagogues have ancillary buildings that can be hired for a wedding reception. However, there will likely be restrictions on decorations, catering, and entertainment. There will also be a limited time factor, as the building will be scheduled for other congregational activities.
Here, the hired venue wins hands down, as you can plan your wedding ceremony and reception for a single location. You will also have much more control over the planning and staging of your reception. That means a free hand with decorations and entertainment, and full service catering menu and open bar.
Cost and Services
If you are on a budget, having your wedding in a church or synagogue can definitely save you some money. You will, however, have to make some small donation for the use of the space. However, for that donation you will get little if any planning support.
While a hired venue may cost you more out of pocket, you will have the support of the venue’s staff. That may include an event planner, as well as helpful advice on caterers and other wedding vendors. Planning a wedding can be hectic and stressful, and that additional support is invaluable.
Getting married in a church has some definite advantages, particularly for couples whose faith plays a major role in their lives. But for those who want more control over their wedding environment, and more choices in the wedding ceremony and reception, a hired venue may be the best choice.
You may pay a bit more, but the support you receive will make planning and staging your wedding less stressful, less hectic, and more enjoyable.
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