Just a few decades ago, almost every couple either eloped or was married in a church. Today, brides and grooms have more options, but many still choose to become man and wife in a religious setting. If you’re considering a religious location for your ceremony, there are some things to consider when planning and some ways to incorporate your decision into your invitation selection.
Choosing a Church Wedding
Obviously, if you’re considering having a church wedding you’ll need to pick an appropriate location. This is going to involve a few factors. First, you’ll want a church from your own faith. Many couples want to use their regular church for the ceremony, which is a great idea if it’s large enough. That brings us to the second factor: size. Hopefully, you already have some idea of how large or small of a wedding you want so you can pick a church that would meet your needs. Don’t simply look at the exterior of the church to determine how many people it can hold – exteriors can be misleading. Call the church yourself and ask about seating.
Finally, availability is going to be an issue with some of the churches, particularly during the wedding season. If you don’t have a particular day in mind for the wedding and are fairly flexible, then you shouldn’t run into too much trouble finding a time when the church you want will be free. However, if you do have your heart set on a special date, start making your arrangements as early as possible and have the money ready for a deposit so you can secure the church for your day.
In addition to selecting the church for your ceremony, you’ll need to pick an officiant. This person will normally be a minister from your faith. Most churches have a minister on staff who may do the service for you at an additional cost, but you can usually choose your own officiant. Couples sometimes ask their own ministers to do the service – this is a nice idea if he’s available. Otherwise, you may need to get referrals from your friends and family members, interview several officiants, and select the one you want to oversee your special day. Remember officiants do usually charge a fee so if you’re on a budget this might be something else you want to consider.
Church Weddings & Your Invitations
Usually, church weddings are formal affairs. Out of respect for the institution, you wouldn’t want to do anything too unusual or wear anything that might be considered inappropriate. That means your invitations should stay fairly traditional.
Traditional invitations are typically printed on ivory, cream, or white paper in black ink. The message is presented in a fancy script – usually with no more than two different font styles. The wording is also very formal and should reflect whoever is hosting (i. e. paying for) the wedding. Below is an example that would be appropriate if the bride’s parents were hosting the ceremony:
Mr. and Mrs. Christian Huff
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Kevin Anderson Smith
on Sunday, the 14th of April
at five o’clock in the evening
St. Paul’s Cathedral
555 Lakewood Avenue
Remember your traditional invitations will also include a piece of tissue paper placed over the print to prevent ink smudging and double envelopes – an old tradition meant to protect the actual invitation from damage and to keep dirt from touching the recipients’ hands.
Of course, you can do a few other things with your church wedding invitations to make them your own, if you desire. For example, consider adding a blessing to your invitation. If you have a favorite verse from your religious text, such as the Bible, or if your minister has a certain prayer that you love, consider either adding them to the actual invitation or have them printed up separately then mailed with the invitation. Make sure to use this blessing at your actual ceremony as well.
Another option is to include a photograph of the church on the front of your invitations. A black and white photo can help your invitations retain that classy, formal tone while also providing a visual keepsake for your guests.
One part of your invitation that shouldn’t be optional are instructions on how to get to the church. Unless everyone you’ve invited is familiar with the location, you should send a small map or clearly written instructions along with every invitation so no one gets lost. Sure, they could always go online to get directions in today’s computer age, but the only work you want your guests to do is shopping for your wedding present.