As a newly engaged couple faces the task of planning a wedding, they might find that every other decision will be based on the location of the ceremony. After all, it is the event that the entire day is based on. Though the possibilities for ceremony sites are endless, classic church weddings are popular among many Christian couples. If you have your heart set on a certain church, such as the one you attended as a child or the one that you currently attend, planning ahead is necessary. As a guideline, try to book the church a year in advance. More popular venues or weekends might require more time, while off-season events or small congregations could allow you more leeway.
Sit down with your fiancee and anyone else who will be having a say in wedding plans and budget. Set a timeline and pick possible dates that work for important family members and very close friends. Ideally, you and your fiancee have talked through matters of faith, but you must make sure that you have the same expectations from the ceremony.
Contact the clergy person associated with the church you wish to book. Some churches employ event coordinators, which will ease the planning of logistics such as decorations, but clergy people are the ones who will make sure that you can be married in their church and assist you in any pre-wedding preparations.
Make arrangements to meet requirements for being married in the church. Different denominations and individual churches have different rules. Usually, if you and your fiancee are both members of good standing, you will have no problem scheduling a wedding. If one of you is not a member of the faith, if you wish to be married outside your regular church or if one or both of you have been away from regular worship for a while, you may need to take extra steps. Some churches require that both partners be members of the denomination, which would require taking steps for conversion. Others require educational sessions, but not conversions. If one of you have been married previously, an annulment might be required. Your clergy person will be able to assist you.
Schedule the date of the wedding with your clergy person or event coordinator. Check the availability of the church organist or anyone else you want involved in the day. Payment varies by institution. Some require a deposit in advance, to be paid in full later on. Others only ask for a donation.
Attend any premarital counseling required by the church. The Catholic church, for instance, asks couples to fulfill Pre-Cana, a course regarding issues such as conflict resolution and practicing religion as a married couple
Consult with your clergy person about ceremony particulars, such as vows and readings. Also ask about church rules before making other decisions. Some churches, for instance, would ask for shoulders to be covered, which might influence dress choices for the bride and bridesmaids.
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A graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in history, Molly Roy has lived in New York, Melbourne and Chicago. She has spent over 10 years as a textbook editor and specializes in writing content about American history. Molly is currently working on a writing certificate in creative nonfiction at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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