Post # 1
This may seem like a silly question, but it’s turning out to be complicated.
My fiance’s mother is an ordained minister (Methodist I believe) and she’s going to perform the ceremony, which will be awesome. My parents and I would still like for the ceremony to be in actual church as opposed to the reception site, which is an option. Also, we’re getting married in December so an outdoor ceremony is out.
Him and I have never went to church in Richmond (where we live) and neither of us has a family church in the area either. We’re also different denominations, although that’s not really the issue … however, we’re an interracial couple and are used to totally different church enviornments, and neither feels 100% comfortable in the other one. This is part of why we haven’t made it to church yet – we simply can’t find one that’s a middle ground. I suggested Unitarian, but he doesn’t like that because it’s not a true Christian church (?).
I’ve suggested to him that we just pick a few churches and go – but he doesn’t want to "use" the church in that way and feels its dishonest.
So, my question is: is it acceptable to call around and bluntly ask "hi, can we rent your church for our wedding?" Is this an option?! Obviously we would pay any rental fees. Has anyone done this or encountered a similar issue with finding a church?
Post # 3
Catholic churches tend to be very apposed to this but many other churches are not. They still may make you pay and go to thier premarriage counseling. Congregational churches tend to be even more liberal about this because they have a very relaxed church environment. Most (it varies a bit due tot he minister) are very unfire and brimstone and very family and community oriented. They tend to do a lot of work within the community, for instance running the local food and clothing drives in small towns.
It is a good idea and more polite to attend a church service first and actully meet the minister. This will also get you a good look see at the church and maybe you will find a church that suits you as a couple for the long term. You can also ask the minister at that time about weddings. Jsut casually bring up the fact that you are engaged and haven’t found the right place for your ceremony. you could mention how much you like the church itself and let the minister take it from there.
Another option is a former church. Especially in older areas, such as Richmond, you can often find a hall that can be rented which was a church at one time or belongs to a church but a larger church was built and it is now used for functions. Churches sometimes hold on to these buildings for thier rental income and for smaller weddings. Plus it seems a bit disrespectful to tear down a church.
Post # 4
I’ve heard of some people renting historic churches. Also, college/university campus chapels are usually available for weddings if there is one around that appeals to you.
I know most Episcopal churches require that either you or your parents are members. Definitely look into older churches/historic sites or a campus chapel.
Post # 5
Not at all – I came across several of these in my area when I was looking. Lutherens are a bit more flexible and we are getting married in a Luterean church because of this. We’ve never attended there, I may afterwards but I know Mr S will not. We don’t feel we are using the church, they welcome marrigaes like this and I believe they even allow us to have someone else perform the servicce, of course we would still have to pay the regular fee to use the church.
If you poke around, you’ll find that there’s a lot of non-denomonational places that will let you use their church. It’s just a matter of digging.
Post # 6
one issue you may come across is finding a church that will allow the entire service to be performed by someone who is not a part of that church. My MOH had an issue with that when she had her Father, who is an ordained Lutheran minister, perform the service. She did eventually find a place, but make sure that is part of your questioning when you call.
Post # 7
i’ll echo one commenter above. We are getting married in a chapel on the campus of our shared alma mater. there is a small fee, but its beautiful.
my dad is also a minister, and non-members would ask to marry in the church all the time. he always ok’d. the couple would just have to make a donation to the church.
Post # 8
it’s totally normal to rent a church. me and my fiance have our own church and pastor..except seeing as our church is in nyc and the difficulties to have a space, we actually meet in an elementary school. so we’re definitely not getting married there~! so we called around and our main question was if we could have our own pastor marry us. several places don’t allow that at all, so we automatically ruled them out. other questions were if they required marriage counseling or had other rules. my friend used a church that required them to use their organist and all of their songs had to have the word "Christ or God" in them. anyway..you never know. just ask away.
Post # 9
My sister was married in a beautiful historic chapel:
which turned out to be quite an issue, as they thought then the booked the chapel that it was a Catholic church. (It was – a long time ago.) She believed she had actually been to mass there, although it turned out to have been an Eastern Orthodox service. They had a minister available to perform a nondenominational service, or you could bring in your own officiant.
Its possible that if you find a local church of the same denomination of your FMIL, they would be fine with her performing the ceremony. You could talk to the pastor, and then have her talk to the pastor as well to work out the details. Also, remember that if FMIL does the ceremony, the "feel" of the actual wedding is pretty strongly influenced by her. You might go to that church on any random Sunday and not particularly like the service that their minister does, but that might not be relevant to how your wedding will turn out.
And for you FI – if you are really just venue shopping, without any other intent, I suppose that you are "using" the church. If you look at it as attending a service together, with the idea of finding a church that one or both of you might like to be a part of, I don’t think you are using the church. You are still "shopping," but I think that churches are used to that. After all, that’s how you get new members!
Post # 10
Great ideas! Thank you all for your replies! This gives me a MUCH better idea on how to approach things, and maybe I can convince him to get married at my college campus chuch – it’s not even a mile from the reception site! Go Rams!
Post # 11
i asked if we could use the chapel at my alma mater – they said NO! i either had to be a current student or have been graduated for less than 5 years! WTH?? my parents paid $42K a year to send me there and i cant get married there?? so what if it’s been more than 5 years!! HHHMPPPPFF!!
hope you have better luck!!
Post # 12
I had this dillema as well. I really wanted to get married at a church, but like your fiancee I didn’t want to get married at a unitarian church because they aren’t Christian. I found that most churches in downtown SF are either Catholic or Episcolian which is now Unitarian, or not to my style.
Here’s what i’ve learned thus far in my church hunting. It’s TOTALLY okay to just ask a church about getting married there even if you aren’t part of the church. The church I attend now is in an office building.. so that was out. And my fiancee’s church, which is my old church is ugly (to my standards). So we "shopped" around for a church. This is totally acceptable.
When you look into a church make sure you ask them:
How much?; are there any restrictions on decorations?, do they require pre marital counceling? (as some do), what is their policy on photographers, flower, etc.? Do they allow an outside ordained person to preside over the wedding?
One of the churches required that one of the pastor’s had to officiate the wedding in some way, so keep that in mind since you want your MIL to preside. Also depending on the school, if you use a school church, they will not allow you to be married at the school church because you have to be an alumni or part of their order (usually pertaining to Catholic churches).
Catholic Churches: This is a whole other area. Depending on the Catholic church, since most are in the beautiful gothic style which is what i liked. They require that either 1 or Both have to be a PARTICIPATING Catholic. This means you have to have gone through your cathecism and sacrements, etc. My fiancee used to be Catholic so he could pass, but then some of them are even more strict and ask that both of you are in a certain order like Jesuit, or what not. We are both participating Christians, so we felt it was against our convictions to do it at a Catholic church since a priest from the church HAS TO PRESIDE over your wedding and your mother would not be able to.
In the End: It took me forever to find the church we’re getting married at, but if you keep looking you will find one! If you want some suggestions on churches, do another board post for churches in your area, and i’m sure you’ll find the right one! Congrats on your engagement and I hope this helped!