Organising a wedding is a challenging and exciting time. With endless options and decisions to make, you want to go into every little detail possible. ‘Where is auntie Sue going to sit? What eyeliner should I wear?’
Those aside, one of the biggest decisions to make is whether to have a church wedding or a civil venue. Both have their own merits, which is why it is a very personal decision to each couple. Let’s go through the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Church Wedding or Venue
We live in a society that celebrate many different cultures and beliefs that form. This being said, a church wedding and venue weddings are both available options for couples. However, according to Church Times, traditional church weddings are on the decline, accounting for just a quarter of all marriages today!
The two main factors between the two are religion and location.
If you desire a religious celebration, you would go for a church wedding. For the couples that choose this traditional approach, saying their vows in a church is one of the most important parts of their big day. You may have a local church that means a lot to you, or you go to, therefore this should be an easy choice.
If you always dreamt of saying ‘I do’ on a hilltop, a beach, or if you simply prefer a non-religious occasion, then a venue is the alternate option.
What to Expect?
Religious weddings take place in a church, chapel or any other religious venue. This would be presided by a priest, vicar or holy person. Many couples go for a church wedding not just for religious reasons, this is because they enjoy the tradition.
In a Catholic church, both couples need to be baptised Christians, and one must be catholic. Marriage classes may be required, too. You do not need to be religious to marry in the Church of England. However, it is usual that you need to marry in a church that you have connection to, often determined by residence.
Married in a church against another venue means you can enjoy the traditional ceremony of a traditional wedding. This includes a bride wearing a wedding gown and the groom in a suit. Wedding church ceremonies are formal and include readings from the bible, hymns and prayers.
If you want a venue wedding but a Catholic blessing afterwards, this is possible. This is recognised as ‘convalidation’.
Church Wedding Planning
Speak to a priest or vicar in your church of preference is step one in organising a wedding church ceremony. They will likely sit down with you and discuss the marriage in detail.
It is important to book the wedding ceremony and suppliers before deciding the big day. Churches can be booked out months in advance, so aim to give as much notice as possible. We suggest six months to a year.
What to Expect from a Venue Wedding
Civil marriages are more popular than religious ones, believe it or not. Yet people still don’t know what it is.
Simply put, a civil ceremony is a non-religious legally binding marriage. This is officiated by a legal representative or civil representative.
Usually, these would take place in a registry office or town hall, but couples have freedom to marry in any approved venue. This appeals couples to say their vows in stunning locations, like a beach, mountain or countryside.
It tends to be a more relaxed gathering, where couples can dress as they wish, and the ceremony can be short or long as desired.
Civil marriages also lend themselves to same-sex couples.
Venue Wedding Planning
This can be organised in as little as a month. However, as with any celebration, it is best to book your venue as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Unlike churches, registry offices can take a number of bookings in any given day. Availability is unquestionably better here.
To register your intention to marry, this process will take 28 days in a registry office.
What is Right for Me?
Most couples will know what they want. Be it a tropical get-away with vows on a beach or a traditional church wedding ceremony. In some ways, their choice may already be determined before they begin.
Choosing a venue wedding is ideal for a relaxed, religious gathering, offering greater flexibility on availability. A church wedding integrates much-loved traditions in areligious context, that many feel underpins the constitution of marriage.
There are advantages and challenges with both. The most important factor when deciding between the two should come down to making the couple a happy couple.
After all, marriage is the union of two people very much in love, wishing to pledge their unwavering allegiance to each other for the rest of their lives.
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