The Ultimate Traditional Church Wedding Guide
Whether you are religious or not, a church wedding is something anyone should be able to experience if they want to take on the western traditions of a church wedding. When we think of marriage we often think of a sacred building with high stone walls, columns, candles, an altar, and a large mosaic window looking out over it all. Nowadays, however, more and more people are starting to get married in a variety of different ways and places. It might seem boring, but a wedding kept traditional can just be as entertaining as an event getting hitched online or in a sci-fi-themed romp!
Choosing A Church Venue
You might have a range of churches in your area and so you will have to decide how grand or intimate you want your ceremony to be.
Do you want to stand before the altar in a massive cathedral? It could be a fun experience and would give you enough spaces to house all of your guests and then the bells would ring rather gloriously at the end.
If you want something smaller and more modern as a building it is likely most of the churches in your region fit this type. It is likely that the service in one of these churches would be cheaper, better fitted for a smaller wedding service, and quite possibly also has space for the reception after the wedding itself. However, the downside to these smaller buildings is that they likely look plainer than a larger cathedral. Do you want the spectacle of an old grandmaster?
If you are already part of a church community then the logical choice would be to have the wedding at the church you go to on a regular basis. You would likely know the priest and those organizing the service and so it would make it that little bit more special and personal.
Most weddings to be considered legal need a registered wedding celebrant and in the case of a traditional wedding the priest at the church! They will be the director of the ceremony when it comes to the script passed between a priest, and the couple getting married. Often dressed in traditional robes, and when at a church will perform certain rites relevant to the religion that they represent.
The more traditional you want to go the less freedom you might have with changing up the script to best suit the couple. However, with the rise of modern wedding traditions, more freedom has been granted to the couple to decide how their ceremony will pan out. You can talk with the wedding celebrant during the planning process to see what options are available to you!
Traditional Rules For on the Day!
There are soo many unspoken rules for a wedding. For one, a traditional wedding dress should be white as it represents purity and the rite of passage of a woman as she is transformed from a single woman into a married one. But what about some others?
The bride and groom cannot see each other on the day, before the wedding ceremony. She is dressed by her bride’s maids and spends time with her side of the family, whilst the groom spends time with his best men and arrives at the church before the bride. Only when she is walking up the aisle at the very start of the ceremony do they get to see each other!
After the reception, if the bride has a bouquet she may choose to toss it into the crowd of unmarried women and the one to catch it is the next one to get married! Even if you don’t enforce this rule, it could be fun to throw it as part of the traditions.
You will need to decide who will fill what roles for the big day! Firstly you’ll need to find the best man and bridesmaid of honor. You can have as many of those as you like if you have more than one person in mind for these! Then you can have the bridesmaids and groomsmen as your backup army.
For your extended network of wedding roles, you might want some flower girls (or boys) and then a ringbearer which both might suit the younger children of your family. If you have a friend that wants to be involved in some way, let them! Even if you have to get creative to give them a meaningful part of the ceremony. The bride's father or mother for instance might want to walk up the aisle with their daughter. Or your brother wants to make a funny speech but isn’t part of the bridal or groomsmen roles.
Via: Martha Stewart
The most traditional thing you can do at a wedding (of course) is dress in a signature white dress or a smart black and white suit. You can dress in elegance and can make your wedding truly special under the holy walls of a church. A must is the addition of a matching flower or badge which you both can wear so you fit together like a cute matching pair!
Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
As the saying goes, if you want to follow something more than simply a traditional wedding at a church then you have to find something ‘old, new, borrowed, and blue’. You can get very creative here and create your own special ornament to fit this old wife’s tale. Wear an old family heirloom, a new chain to hold it secure around your neck, a bow of blue, and a ring borrowed from a married member of your family. It's all up to interpretation and you could even try and challenge yourself to find one object that is all four!
So you are wanting a traditional wedding, what about a catholic one? If you consider yourself part of this subcategory of Christianity then it could be the perfect wedding for you. Part of the traditions that make this stand out from other wedding types is the Mass followed by the ceremony which can make it a longer event than looser ‘modern’ ones. You will fully be immersed in the love and world of god before he brings you forth into this new stage in your life. If praying and religion are an important part of your life then this would make the marriage super special.
For a protestant wedding, the relationship between a man and woman is the same as the love between a person and Jesus Christ. For those that want to stick to the scriptures of the religion then a wedding that fits these rules would be useful when planning around the day. There will be worship sewn throughout the service as hymns, songs, and spiritual readings will be throughout. Then under the cross and the holy eye of the Celebrant will bring the couple together as they declare their love and tie them together in marriage. Like with a lot of traditional weddings there will be scripts to be memorized and a rehearsal before the big day.
(Eastern) Orthodox Wedding
This type of Christian wedding is perhaps one of the most dramatic discussed in this post. It seeps into ritual, rules, symbolism, scripture, and costume. As a spectator, this would be truly an event to witness indeed if you were not part of this religious community.
- It begins with the blessing of the rings by priests as prayer and careful recitation are made throughout the entire ceremony.
- The rings are placed on the couple’s fingers as they are betrothed.
- Following this is the lighting of the candles through hand-holding.
- Then the crowning.
- The blessing of a common cup which the couple drinks from three times.
- Then the couple walks three times around an altar in which a bible sits.
- And then it ends with blessings for the future and union of the now-married pair.
Decoration at A Church Wedding
Decoration at a church wedding should be kept simple and to a conservative theme. Keep in mind the type of church you are standing in and speak with the church leaders about the options for adorning the space. Some churches might take care of this aspect for you and already be willing to ask questions about what you want, whilst some might prefer a standard plain reception. For those that can go all-in flowers and white cloth is a simple way to go!
Food, Entertainment, and the Afterparty
You will unlikely be able to eat in the chapel room, but some churches nowadays have rooms in the church large enough to set the stage for an afterparty following a wedding. You can then hire a company to sort the food and catering equipment from decoration to tables or chairs. But with church weddings still being popular the church might be able to provide traditional options for this as well.
So planning a traditional wedding is dead simple. It is perhaps the easiest way to get married as a lot of the time they will take care of the ceremony and location itself. It is also cheaper than going out and spending thousands more on a more ‘modern’ venue and you know what you will get before you even arrive for the big day!