Getting Married in a Church: Everything You Need to Know

January 7, 2020

We actually weren't married in my church back home. At the time it was being renovated and the renovations were set to be done just at the time of our wedding. Far too risky. The other two options being plan a wedding in a month or just find another venue... and another venue is what we went with. Today's guest post explores church weddings and things you might need to know. 

Americans aren't anywhere near as religious as they used to be. According to a recent survey, only about 50% of people belong to a church right now, which is down from 69% back at the turn of the century.
But there are still plenty of people who are members of a church. And for these people, getting married in a church is a no-brainer. They want to hold their ceremony inside of a church as opposed to inside of another venue.
Are you interested in tying the knot in a church? Regardless of which religion you practice, there are a series of steps that you're likely going to have to take prior to getting married in a church.
Take a look at some of the things you'll be expected to do before celebrating your wedding day in a church.
Begin by Becoming an Official Member of a Church
Getting married in a church usually isn't as simple as walking into any old church and picking out a date for your wedding. More often than not, you'll need to be a member at a church before you're allowed to get married there.
If you're already a member at a church, great. You won't have to worry about taking steps to become a member there. But if you're not a member at a church—or if your soon-to-be spouse isn't one—start things off by becoming members at the church at which you want to get married.
In some cases, this will be easy enough. You can become a member of a church by filling out a few forms in a church office.
In others, you or your spouse may have to take classes and go through an entire process to become a member of a certain religion and, by extension, a member of a church. It all depends on what religion the church practices and how they handle membership.
Let Your Church Know You Would Like to Schedule a Wedding
Once you and your spouse are official members of a church, the next step you'll want to take as far as getting married in a church is concerned is scheduling your wedding.
Generally speaking, it's best to do this well in advance of your wedding date. Many churches schedule weddings a year or so in advance.
For this reason, you should check with a church to see about their availability for a wedding before you look around for an affordable wedding venue for your reception. The last thing you want to do is plan out an entire reception for a specific day only to discover that your church can't handle a wedding ceremony on that same day.
This could throw off your wedding plans and make it impossible to get married in a church.
Make the Proper Preparations for Getting Married in a Church
Getting married in a church often involves doing more than just showing up on your wedding day and saying "I do!" You and your spouse will also have to go through some type of marriage counseling sessions in the months leading up to your big day.
In the Catholic Church, Pre-Cana preparations are mandatory for all those couples getting married. In other churches, the pre-wedding preparations aren't nearly as extensive.
When you pick out a date for your wedding at your church, check to see what kind of preparations you'll be expected to take care of beforehand. It'll ensure that you don't put off any necessary preparations that could prevent you from getting married in a church as expected.
Put Together the Plans for Your Wedding Ceremony With Your Church
When you plan a wedding ceremony outside of a church, it's pretty much up to you to map out every aspect of it.
You can customize the ceremony in almost any way you want.
Weddings in the church operate a little bit differently. There is a format to them that you'll need to follow when you're married inside a church.
That being said, that are some small plans that you'll need to make for your wedding ceremony in a church. For example, you'll have to pick out songs and readings used during the wedding ceremony.
You'll also be in charge of decorating the church for your wedding ceremony, provided the church allows you to do it. You'll have to bring in flowers and other decorative touches to make the church look more festive on your wedding day.
Pay Your Church for Your Wedding Ceremony or Consider Making a Donation
Getting married in a church is not free. You'll usually be asked to pay a small fee to use the church for your wedding. You'll also have to pay for someone to sing, play the piano, etc.
The good news is that most churches are willing to work with those who are going to struggle to pay for these things. There are even some that will ask for donations to their church as opposed to creating set fees for wedding services. This allows couples to donate what they can instead of being obligated to pay a certain amount of money to a church.
Make sure that you work the church fees associated with a wedding into your overall wedding budget. It'll help you and your spouse stay on track with your wedding spending.
Attend Church With Your Spouse Following Your Wedding Ceremony
Getting married in a church is a great idea for couples. It solidifies their bond in the eyes of God and sets down a solid foundation for their marriage.
It also gives couples a good reason to continue coming back to the church throughout their marriage. They can keep building on their faith together and utilize the church as the backbone of their relationships.
Would you like to get your hands on more tips for getting married?
Browse through all the wedding-related advice in the articles on our blog to make sure that you're able to put together plans for the wedding of your dreams.