Whether you imagine walking down the aisle in a church, temple, etc., there are many things to consider when planning any religious ceremony. First of all, be sure to meet with the priest/pastor/rabbi/officiant prior to telling all potential guests your wedding date – it is very likely that many dates will have been taken or a time your prefer may not be available. The date should always first depend on the location of the ceremony (rather than your reception venue). Each religion has specific rules to be followed, some more strict than others. But, it is important to know exactly what is expected of each couple.
Questions to Ask: (Most locations will already have a marriage packet prepared for each couple – but in case you need additional information, here are some questions that are important to ask)
- If you’d like to incorporate any cultural traditions into the wedding ceremony, be sure to ask the priest/pastor/officiant immediately to assure that you will be allowed.
- If both the bride and groom are not the same religion, the church may have different requirements, so be sure to confirm.
- Get any information for the photographer or videographer – some churches will not allow these vendors in certain sections of the church such as the altar.
- Is there a private room for the bridal party to freshen up prior to the ceremony – or get ready completely? Groomsmen? Restrooms and Mirrors?
- Parking availability
- Floral Arrangements – what types of floral arrangements are normally ordered and where do they go in the church? Will church already have florals (will have holiday florals for Christmas and Easter that many churches will be willing to leave if you’d like to use)?
- Decoration Requirements – Pew Decorations, Candles, Aisle Runner, etc.
- Music System – Microphones, Speakers, a person to play a CD if necessary
- Picture restrictions or time constraints following the ceremony
- Restrictions for throwing items following the ceremony
- At what time can florists bring arrangements?
- At what time should the photographer and videographer arrive at the church?
Things to Share with the Religious Location (Many will have forms to fill in requiring this information)
- All Music Selections and any musicians taking part in the ceremony
- All Wedding Party Members (in walking order)
- Parent Names
- All Ceremony Options (Readings, etc.)
- Will you be having a receiving line or not?
Things to Consider
Fees/Donations: Every location will be different, but some locations REQUIRE certain people to participate. Many locations require a donation of your choice, but some locations charge a specific amount that is still considered a donation (especially any church in the city of Pittsburgh – many range from $500-$1,200). Normally, a donation is also given to the officiant, any Altar boys, and any musician, etc.. Sometimes, payment is not optional.
Signing of the Marriage Certificate: If you would like a picture of the signing, make arrangements to do so immediately following the ceremony (the officiant may have an exact location) – contact your photographer and videography to give the aforementioned time and location so that they can capture this special moment.
Immediate Family Seating: Although grandparents are being escorted to pews, they should not have to sit alone. Beforehand, let the immediate family members know where they are to sit (explain to groomsmen as well). You can choose to use a different color pew bow or flowers to represent the “saved” seating.
Lining Up: Be sure that the wedding party and grandparents understand the order of lining up (Wedding party may practice at rehearsal, but grandparents may not be at the rehearsal).
Wedding Rings: On day of wedding – the actual rings should be in the possession of the best man – if rings are needed on pillow for ring bearer, place plastic rings for effect.
Corsages/Boutonnieres: It is proper etiquette to provide wedding party, parents, special guests (readers), and grandparents with a corsage or boutonniere.
TIPS – Choose a person that will be able to attach both the corsages and boutonnieres on the selected people on the wedding day. Consider the women’s outfits when choosing between a pin-on versus a wrist corsage. Wrist corsages should be on the left wrist (should not be on the arm that is holding the escort’s arm).
Epic Event Planning by Jessica & Kourtney can be on site to organize your wedding ceremony rehearsal as well as your wedding ceremony. See our site for package details!