Your Ceremony: Church or Outside the Church?

So, you've got the ring... you've relaxed and basked in the glory of engagement... and now it's time to start the planning!!  In addition to having a rough estimate of your guest list (small and intimate or large and inclusive?) and an idea of what type of budget you are working with, you will need to make some very important decisions!! 

The biggest decision (in my opinion, at least) is where your actual ceremony will take place!  As much fun as it is to plan the reception and all the exciting details, you will be marrying the person of your dreams and the ceremony is super important!! 

First off, you need to sit down with your fiance and discuss your religious beliefs.  Are you both Church-going people?  If so, will you have the ceremony in a Church- his or hers?  Are only one of you Church-going/religious?  If so, is the other okay with having a Church ceremony?  Or is the Church-goer open to having a ceremony outside of the Church?  If neither of you are religious/Church-going, would you both prefer a ceremony outside of the Church?  Or would you prefer to have a ceremony in one of your Churches because of family history and tradition?

These are all important decisions.  The answer may come quickly or it may involve further discussion.  For instance, if you decide to have a Church ceremony- will it be a Full Mass?  Or just the ceremony portion?  If you decide to have a ceremony outside of the Church, will it literally be outdoors?  Or indoors at another location?  If this is a Jewish celebration, will you have a Chuppah? 
Once you decide the type of ceremony you and your fiance envision, you can immediately begin narrowing down your options!!  You will either begin by contacting the Religious Director at the Religious Institution (Church, Temple, etc) you decide on and checking their availability... or you will begin to research other locations for your ceremony (an indoor location at your reception venue?  Outside ceremony at your venue (but be sure they have a "backup" location in case of :::gasp::: bad weather!)?  On the Beach?  In a Park?)  And don't forget to contact local ministers to perform your ceremony!!  Be sure to get referrals from them and ask their former clients what they thought of their specific ceremony and the Presider.

If your mind isn't already racing with ideas and questions, don't worry- you can get started on the fun floral ideas for the ceremony, programs, ceremony layout, song and reading options and aisle runner ideas in a few months once you have all the "basics" booked!! 

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