Post # 1
I booked my church back in September – 11 months before the big day. I did that so we could get our PREPARE class done, have the results sooner and be able to meet with our pastor for our consoling.
(FYI – for those woul don’t know PRPARE is a survey of questions to help your pastor learn about you and the dynamics of your personality both with your spouse and alone)
Our first choice Pastor will be gone the month of our wedding, we found that out a mnth or so after we ooked him so we chose Pastor #2, who when I called several months ago to set up time with – he asked me to call back after Easter!? Ok? Annoyed, that they have 6 Pastors – so whats the big deal??? How busy could you be to not have an hour to have an initial meeting!
When we finally set up time with Pastor #2, the day comes & HE CALLS AND CANCELS 3 hours before we’re supposed to show up! ARGH! "Suddenly" he sees on his calendar that he will be out of town the weekend or our wedding – right! He knew about and had it marked down for 6 months AT LEAST.. He just booked something esle, my wedding wasn’t as important then a marathon he wants to run and we’re shoved off on another pastor!
Now OVER A WEEK AGO Pastor #2 says he will have our new Pastor call us……we’ve heard nothing. So I called the 400 year old wedding coordinator to find out what the hold up is (117 days left to the wedding, thats less then 4 months people!) and of course she’s only in the office 2 times a week for about an hour each time.
Did I mentione we paid $1100 to get married here – ELEVEN HUNDRAD DOLLARS! And I can’t utilize the one and only perk they offer!!!!!
I am so angry and I don’t know what to do, if we don’t clock in enough counsoling time they can stop us from being married!!! It’s a Luteran Church By The Way, I doubt it matters for your help in advice…but who knows.
Post # 3
I would say to just relax a little. You have quite a bit of time until the wedding, and I’m sure the priest could do the consoling the week before your wedding if that is what it comes down to. Also, it seems as though it doesn’t matter what priest marries you, so I’m sure one of them will be available for you. Like you said,there are 6 priests in this parish. And even if it turns out that none of them could, I’m sure they could get one from a niehboring parish.
I know you want to get this done and out of the way, but the way the priest sees it your wedding is quite a ways off and there is plenty of time. Also when it comes to the counsoling, depending on the priest, I’ve noticed that some of them take it very casually. You can do one full day, or even credit you extra time (sshhhhh)
Don’t worry, it will be fine.
Post # 4
Sweeny, I can see you’re frustrated, but Candi’s right. You should take a few deep breathes and relax a little. I agree, you’d think if you’re paying $1100 you’d be able to work with someone a little more than playing phone tag and being jerked around. Perhaps you can voice this opinion to the pastor etc.
Post # 5
I’d love too – but I can’t contact a pastor at random, it has to tbe the one that’s marrying me – and since I haven’t a clue who that is…makes complaining a bit hard. I don’t care which one it is I just want them to pick one and stick with it and not get shoved off because the Pastor suddenly decided he wants to run a marathon.
I can’t do the consoling a week before the wedding, aside from the simple fact I’ll be totally swamped with vendor meetings, final dress stuff, rehersals, dinners….on and on…. – we have to actually clock in something like 10-15 hours of time with the Pastor…we coulnd’t pull that off in a week and I don’t want to be rushed through this priocess, thats terribly unfair to Mr S and I.
Not to mention I WANT to be going to this consoling, I was looking forward to this part of our process, which I know most do not. I don’t want this to be like some "drive through" process where we have no realtionship with this person – they are marrying me. I want a personal relationship witht his person.
Post # 6
Your situation sounds very frustrating. I too want to do the counseling at a leisurely pace and well in advance. Are you a member of this church; it doesn’t sound as though they are acting very respectfully. I just asked if you were a member because perhaps you would then have a personal relationship with someone at the church who could be an advocate for you so you get assigned a good pastor who will be responsive. Not suprisingly, I’ve discovered that my wedding is much more important and urgent to me than to anyone else – and so as a fellow Aug 23 bride – I agree that there is no time for dilly dallying…. but everyone else seeings Aug 23 as a long, long way away. Perhaps once you are assigned a pastor you can tell him/her that you will be out of town most of July and August and thus you would like to be finished with everything by July 1 – setting an earlier "deadline" than Aug 23 may make it feel more urgent to the pastor… once you know who that is!?
Post # 7
Sweeny, I don’t know what’s kosher for this particular church but maybe you can contact Pastor 1 and mention you’re disappointed with all this jerking around/mention you are looking forward to the counseling and are disappointed you can’t start. Or even the head pastor of the church. Basically you need to get a hold of SOMEONE and they can get the wedding coordinator to call you back or something.
Post # 8
This is horribly frustrating. And it’s almost exactly what happened to us at my FI’s (Lutheran) church. First pastor out of town all the month of the wedding, second pastor wouldn’t commit – now it turns out he’s taking a new job. Then they told us that they would "find us someone." As if it really didn’t matter who did the ceremony – one pastor is just as good as another.
But that’s not true! I agree with you – it’s not acceptable if your wedding has so little importance to them that they can’t get back to you on the phone. If there is pre-marital counseling to be done, they should start months before the wedding, not days. And more important, you want somebody doing the ceremony who thinks it (and you) have some importance – not just somebody who is going to check off the boxes and show up with a bunch of other stuff on his mind.
I would call the church offices and say that you need an appt with the pastor – preferably the primary pastor. And then I would go in and talk to him about how disappointed you are – that obviously you know they do lots of weddings, but your ceremony is very important to you, and you feel as if it’s not that important to them. That you want to have some time to get to know the pastor, and for him to get to know you, and while there certainly is enough time left, you really feel like you need to start the process now. If you don’t get any satisfaction from this, I would enquire about bringing in your own officiant.
My primary criteria for vendors of any sort (and the officiant is really just another service provider) is that they really need to give me the feeling that they think my wedding is important. And particularly with a pastor, where his job is community service, you shouldn’t feel like you’re low on his priority list.
We actually found a retired pastor to do our ceremony – Protestant – and we really like him. Maybe its just because he is retired, and not dealing all week with church politics and working on his latest sermon, but he has been great about spending time getting to know us. He does basically wedding, funerals, and counseling, and you totally feel as if you are a priority. His wife is also quite wonderful. We found him through a friend at work who does volunteer counseling at the penitentiary on the weekends!
Post # 9
Also, part of the reason they may be blowing you off is that you are not a member of the church. I know my pastor is really, really, busy just taking care of his regulars. They might be thinking, if they can’t come to church to get to know me, then what are they complaining about? I know, thats not right, but it may be true. I like the last idea. Get your own pastor. Someone that might already know you.
And if your not going to church, you should be. Your getting married in the church and performing a sacrament. It’s a big deal. So if you are going to church, how about using your current pastor? The best time to trap him into talking to you is right after church!!
Post # 10
as usual, i agree with suzanno. =) if you paid them that much money, you should be getting some attention, even if you don’t belong to the church.
@candi, i’m not sure that this is the place to tell people if they should or shouldn’t be going to church. sweeney wanted our opinions on how to engage this church (a wedding vendor, for all intents and purposes) in better communication, not how she should conduct her religious life.
Post # 11
Candi – if the church didn’t want to marry memebers, they shoulnd’t publicly advertise that they do. If they are not speaking to me because I’m not a member, that’s certianly not Godly and certianly not ok!
Thanks everyone! I appreciate your help – I’ll let everyone know how it goes.
Post # 12
Definately relax a little. We had to go through counseling in order for our Pastor to marry us, and even though we started a year and a half ahead of time, we still didnt complete the 16 week course. He was in the Master’s program, and always out of town for various speaking engagements. He cancelled on us more times than I can count. It was very annoying and frustrating because we were really excited about the process and wanted to get it done. Even though you are not members of this particular church, you still deserve the Pastors attention. You’re not one of his parishoners, but you are a paying client and they are obligated to fulfill their end of the bargain period. Give them another chance and be very honest with them about your concerns – that you and your FH have made every effort to be available and that the ministerial staff at this church, hasn’t. I don’t care how busy a pastor is, pretty much all of them understand the significance of marriage, no matter what their denomination, and they tend to take it seriously, so if you aren’t getting what you need here, and it’s not too late, look into another officient that will give you guys the attention you need.
Post # 13
Sweeney2Be – I’m sorry you’re going through this! I agree with Suzanno – they should make you feel like your wedding is important because it is! I also agree you should try going to the church instead of calling. If you can make the time, it sounds like you might be able to get a more direct answer face-to-face.
I also agree with what you said about advertising to non church members and going to church or not is YOUR perogative. Don’t let anyone try to tell you what to do concerning your personal religious beliefs.
Hang in there!
Post # 14
Sweeney – so sorry to hear it! I agree that your stressing out about this is completely valid.
The church should NOT be treating you with any less courtesy because you are not a member. I am getting married at a church where I am not a member (because it is close to my reception location and my own church is very small and can’t accomodate our number of guests) and I have to pay a TON extra to rent the space than a member would have to (nearly $1000 more!). I am going to assume that you are also paying more than their members would pay, which makes this even more infuriating.
I also agree that pre-marital counseling is super essential. Our personal pastor is officiating our wedding and we have been meeting with him for months now and can’t tell you how helpful it has been. Even if you do not attend church (which is completely one’s prerogative), I think it is really beneficial to have some sort of pre-marital counseling. My Fiance have been friends for over 10 years, dating for 6, and we have learned so much about each and ourselves through our counseling sessions. Plus, it is nice that our officiant knows us so intimately. I think it will make the ceremony much more personal.
I don’t remember who said it – but I think you should definitely try to contact one of the first pastors who canceled on you. Maybe they can help? Good luck!