- 5 years ago
I’m hoping for a little bit of help and perspective. I really really hope that I don’t offend anyone with this post.
When we got engaged and started booking venues (18 months ago), Fiance and his family made it a big deal that we are married in a church. Specifically, they wanted us to get married in the church where his whole family attends. My Fiance and I have been attending this church together for 4 years. It is his church and I started going with him regularly after dating for about 6 months. I’ve gone to church all of my life and my faith is important to me, but the church denomination that I attend is different than his. I have a degree in Theology, and while I am not one to let denominational differences divide people, his church never has been a good fit for me. He stated that this church wasn’t a good fit for him and that we would look for a different church, but everytime that we talk about leaving and trying someplace new, his family freaks out a little bit.
Anyway, since being married in their church is so important, we had a meeting with the pastor over a year ago to book the church for our ceremony. At that time, he said that we could basically do what we wanted for our ceremony. I asked for specific instructions about any limitations on decor, music, photography, requirements, etc and he said that there basically were not any (and gave me a little brochure with the rules, which basically just says “no loose petals, rice or confetti.” He was even on board with my dog coming down the aisle. After our first meeting, he said he wanted to meet with us 5 or 6 more times. It took 9 months for a clearing in his schedule to fit us in for a 30 minute meeting. I get that he is busy, but it was just frustrating. At our meeting, he gave us the ceremony template that he will be using. It is very…specific and a little too legalistic/ritualistic/not in line with my religious beliefs. When I asked about introducing some flexibility to this, I was told that “this is the way that the church has always done it.” For instance, while he once said we can write our own vows, now he has a problem with it. He now states that we can’t decorate the alter at all (in spite of the fact that we have already creating our DIY decorations for this, which include culutral symbols that are important to both my Fiance and I.) He wants several hymns sung throughout the ceremony, and for us to go and sit down in the pews in the middle while he delivers a 20 minute “message.” He stated that his goal is for this to not be our wedding ceremony and a celebration of our marriage, but that he wants to “steal the spotlight” and make our ceremony all about the other married couples at the wedding. He also wants my dad to stand between us the entire time until he pronounces us husband and wife. Also, he wants “only religious music” to be played, and has said that we can only show our wedding slideshow (which is weird to me, but really really important to my FI) at the very end of the service after he announces us. He is totally against a receiving line.
I’m just frustrated. Really, really frustrated. He doesn’t seem to be this ritualistic on Sunday mornings, and he really seems unwilling to budge. I cried after I left his office (a little dramatic, I know, but I was just really overwhelmed and frustrated by the time we got into the privacy of the car) and my Fiance said that if I wanted to change the ceremony site, he would be OK to move. His parents, however, flipped out when we told him that we were thinking of moving the ceremony. I got the lecture about how they never got a wedding, how they have both been really sick and “should be dead” and not attending the wedding at all. They said that “if [we] aren’t married in a church, [we] have NOTHING.” I just don’t know what to do. I’m actively looking for another place, but most other venues are booked. I don’t know if it is crazy to move at this time, or if I should just suck it up and go with the flow at the church, even though the practices are really strange to me and not at all the way that I’ve envisioned my wedding.
What would you do?