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Church or No Church? The Great Wedding Ceremony Location Debate!

Rose and David wanted to have their reception at David's parents home but there wasn't much space for a ceremony. Since they both have a love of the outdoors a local park was the obvious spot for them for the ceremony.
Rose and David wanted to have their reception at David's parents home but there wasn't much space for a ceremony. Since they both have a love of the outdoors a local park was the obvious spot for them for the ceremony.

Choosing your wedding location is a task many couples come to both love and hate during the wedding planning process. In my years of planning, picking a spot for the ceremony and reception, regardless of whether they are at the same place or different locations, is one of the of the harder decisions couples face when planning their wedding.

From pressures from family members to stick with church tradition, to deciding if you want that outdoor wedding if your dream venue only has dates open in July (which can be beautiful or scorching), the debate over a church ceremony or other type of ceremony is a complicated one.

There are pros and cons to both church weddings and outdoor weddings. Today I’m hoping to cover some of these items to make it a little bit easier on you.

 Lindley & Tyler opted for a destination wedding in Costa Rica. In this case a beach ceremony was the obvious choice for them!

Lindley & Tyler opted for a destination wedding in Costa Rica. In this case a beach ceremony was the obvious choice for them!

Traveling Convenience

I’m not only talking convenience for your guests, but also your vendors and yourself. If photographs are super important to you, it’s much easier and more time efficient to have the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all on the same property so no one has to travel. Driving to and from locations can cause issues, including traffic pattern changes, and your vendors may have to work double time to ensure things go to schedule.

Having everything in one location is also easier on guests, especially if many are from out of town and not familiar with the area. However, one way to combat this point and make it less stressful for everyone is to hire a shuttle to pick guests up at the hotel, shuttle them to the ceremony, and then to the reception. Problem solved.

 Valerie and Bryan decided to have their wedding ceremony at their families church and then had the cocktail hour and reception at another venue.

Valerie and Bryan decided to have their wedding ceremony at their families church and then had the cocktail hour and reception at another venue.

The Necessities

One thing to definitely consider with a church wedding is that basically all of your necessities, such as seating, your altar, and music (usually a piano or organ), is already provided. Fees to use the church for a ceremony are relatively low, especially if you are a member, so you’re not incurring much cost. With outdoor venues you should read the fine print to ensure you are being provided things such as seating and tables in your package. Some venues do include these items, some do not. And if you’re doing it yourself at a family estate, these items are something we would have to incorporate into your overall budget.

If you’re considering a church wedding that is not at the church you normally attend, then one thing to make sure is that if your heart is set on a certain pastor or officiant, you definitely want to check with the church to see if they’re able to perform a ceremony if they are not affiliated with that church. Some churches don’t mind, but others won’t allow outside officiants. Most venues that are not churches do not have any regulation on the type of officiant you have.

 Beth and Cri decided to have their wedding ceremony at the church she attended growing up.

Beth and Cri decided to have their wedding ceremony at the church she attended growing up.

Make It You

As a wedding planner one thing I will always tell you is that your decision as a couple should be just that - YOURS. If you want to get married on a hot air balloon a few hundred feet in the air, be my guest - I will figure out a way to make it happen. If you want a beautiful wedding under the stars, we can do that too. If you want a stone cathedral with towering stain glass, we’re more than happy to help plan this wedding.

Your wedding is the celebration of your love for one another, and we are here to make it happen as wedding planners.

What are you considering in a venue? Any advice you are looking for? Contact us to see if we can help out!

 This wedding and ceremony were all at the same venue. The ceremony was outside while the reception was under a tent.

This wedding and ceremony were all at the same venue. The ceremony was outside while the reception was under a tent.

Meg and Mark wanted someplace with some historical character and beauty - the traditional European church look - which is why they opted for a church ceremony. They also loved the pastor once they met her which helped them realize they found the right place to get married!
Meg and Mark wanted someplace with some historical character and beauty - the traditional European church look - which is why they opted for a church ceremony. They also loved the pastor once they met her which helped them realize they found the right place to get married!
 Kristen and Ryan love wine so they decided to have their wedding ceremony and reception all at one location at a local winery.

Kristen and Ryan love wine so they decided to have their wedding ceremony and reception all at one location at a local winery.

 Erica and Kevin are both outdoorsy people so they wanted a ceremony location that incorporated the outdoors. They chose a local park for their wedding ceremony and then had their reception at another location.

Erica and Kevin are both outdoorsy people so they wanted a ceremony location that incorporated the outdoors. They chose a local park for their wedding ceremony and then had their reception at another location.

WeddingsMelissa Martin