Post # 1
I know the heading sounds strange & possibly mean but…
Fiance & I attend a very, very small church. On some weeks ther are only 20 or so people & on others there might br 50. It is a quaint little church and it means the world to him as Fiance has been attending there for almost 10 years and the pastor is his best friend’s mother. He has known her for more than 30 years and she is the person who introduced us.
The congregation knows we are getting married, but today the pastor mentioned the date and time as she was making church announcements. We have never asked her to announce it—ever. We’ve also run into church members in the supermarket who have mentioned that they are looking forward to the wedding.
Our church can barely hold the 110 invited guests we will have and now we are concerned that people from the congregation might decide to attend. We will literally be filling the church to have our guests (all but 6 are relatives) there to witness our marriage. We can not accommodate any more people.
How do we convey this? Do we ask the pastor to make another announcement? We don’t want to have to have our DOC and a relative say “yes, thids person is okay but not that one” on the evening of our wedding, but we want to accommodate our families on our special night.
Fiance & I discussed today having a casual breakfast at the church the Sunday after we return from our honeymoon so that everyone can feel thst they took part in celebrating and they can know that we care for them. Does that sound okay? The only other option would be to move our ceremony to a larger church, but we truly do not want to do that as this is where we worship and it means so much to Fiance.
Post # 3
This is the pastor’s error and their job to fix it. Tell the pastor that you were surprised by the announcement, and not in a good way either, and that unfortunately will not have enough room if the congregation attends in addition to your invited guests. Use the fire code capacity argument if you have to. If the pastor does not budge or amend their announcement, you may have to find a different venue altogether.
Post # 4
What if you had the pastor make another announcement to the effect that she made a mistake in the way she announced your wedding earlier, and that you are already at capacity, etc. but if anyone wants to see you get married, there will be standing room only in the back of the chapel?
Post # 5
I’m sure the pastor had no idea that people would take her announcement as an invitation. You should probably talk to her about it so she knows how to answer if people ask. Likewise, if you get any more comments, just say very sweetly, “We are so excited too. We have sooo many family members coming, we hope they all fit in the church! We wished we could have invited the whole congregation, so we are going to have a little breakfast when we get back from our honeymoon. I hope you can come!”
I think your breakfast is a great idea. The pastor can make an announcement the week before the WEDDING to the affect of, “Since the bride and groom are blessed with so many family and friends attending their wedding, they would like to invite the congregation to join them for breakfast on Sunday whatever date immediately following services.” Hopefully people will get the hint!
Post # 6
my understanding of a church wedding is different to the OP’s. a church is a public place – anyone may enter at any time the church doors are open, as long as they remain respectful of the sanctity of the church. you don’t ‘hire’ a church exclusively for your wedding; and as such, any fee to the church or celebrant is always considered a ‘donation.’
members of the congregation automatically may attend any service or ceremony that happens in their church, (formally invited or not) from funerals and weddings to batisms etc. in the case of your wedding, it as seen as them supporting you as a new couple in the sacrament of matrimony.
as for your pastor announcing your upcoming nuptials, this is called ‘reading the banns’ and is an established custom in most traditional Christian churches. these churches will announce your impending nuptials 3 times in the months leading up to your day. this is not a ‘mistake’ but an established custom. (in my denomination, a marriage will be considered void if the banns are not read)
so, tootie, on your wedding day, you may in fact have a crowded church, filled with the people you want to be there, and also people who you may not know that well, but are there in the spirit of Christian fellowship who want to wish you and your husband well.
embrace the love 🙂
Post # 7
@blossom bee you are correct. A wedding (ceremony) in general is technically open to the public. I didnt know this until i married a pastors son!
Leave it open so they can come to the ceremony….they dont need to know about the reception
Post # 8
@blossom_bee: Announcing the date and time is not “an established custom in most traditonal Christian churches”! I’ve never heard of this before. Maybe in your church, but it’s defintiely not common practice in churches I’ve attended.
Post # 9
@FallFlowers and @blossom_bee, I believe reading of the banns is required and a custom in the UK, but not in the US.
All we have is a simple printed statement in our bullentin, the Sunday AFTER the wedding. My guess is that because the congregation is so small, your pastor didn’t even think that you A) wouldn’t have invited people FH has obviously grown up with and B) that it would impact the church seating so much. Also, you might need to be careful about offending people as well. Many of these people likely see your FH as family, and while a breakfast will be nice, there’s nothing like seeing the actually ceremony.
My guess is that only a few of them will show, as most of them likely have Saturday plans that rank above your wedding. I’d probably speak to the pastor and request that she not mention it again, but I’m not sure that I would make her correct herself. You’re probably treading on a thin line here.
Post # 10
Fall, i invite you to look it up (wiki will do, i’m sure that they will have some mention of it, it’s an ancient custom 🙂 as i said, it is for ‘traditional’ churches, most particularly for those that adhere to formal Anglican (Episcopal in the USA) rites – and it certainly sounds as though tooties minister and church might be one of those.
I loved the Sunday service when our first banns were read to the congregation – our minister and congregation organised a secret/special morning tea for us to celebrate with them. i fully understand that on my wedding day most of the old ladies of our congregation (who love a good wedding, and a ‘stickybeak’) will be there to support us. and good on them! it wouldn’t be a wedding without the hats and gloves brigade of old dears!
Post # 11
The thing is, people from the congregation who show up for the ceremony, in spite of not having received formal invitations, typically understand that they should give up their seats if there is a shortage of seats. And you certainly need not have them at your reception. So my advice would be to leave things alone. If there are members of the congregation so happy for you that they are willing to stand in the back for your ceremony, and forego the reception, just enjoy the love!
Post # 12
Umm…I have no good advice for this. My home congregation is small like yours, and if we had married at my church, I’m positive most of the congregation would have attended. The only thing I can think of is “assigned seating?” Have an usher look at your guest list and seat people in assigned aisles. So he should have one paper that says “Brides Side,” one that says “Groom’s Side,” and one that says “Congregation.” Then they can fill the pews front to back with your invited guests, and fill in any leftover seats with the congregation right before the ceremony starts. This is all assuming that everyone you invite RSVPs yes, and that you will in fact have a space issue. Although, the usher thing is helpful at a church anyway, since some pews are bench seats, and you can make sure there are 10 people to a row or whatever. I’ve attended a wedding (winter, Colorado) where people kept stacking their jackets between themselves (instead of using the coat rack in the back) and there was a ton of empty spaces between everyone, and a bunch of people standing in the back. Awkward.