Monday, March 14, 2011

Step 17 - Interview and Book your Ceremony Site

(9 Months to 24 Months before the Wedding)
For some, the ceremony site for your wedding is a no brainer, you belong to a church and your spouse belongs to a church and the house of worship you belong to is the place you plan to get married. You just have to be sure you get your officiant or find an officiant that belongs to the church and book your wedding day before someone else comes along and ruins your plans. Churches book on a first come first reserved basis.

There are dozens of religions and Christian denominations out there, there is Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Southern Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene and the list goes on and on. Whatever your religious affiliation is you want to seek out and contact a church of your affiliation. If you don't have a church that you belong to you want to identify and seek out the doctrinal beliefs of a particular church before deciding to become a member. Review the church's statement of faith and attend a couple of services before considering to become a member of that church.

Some churches have more of a formal structure such as Catholic, Anglican, and Episcopalian. Others have more of a relaxed informal worship service such as Protestant, Pentecostal, and Non-denominational Churches. Some families may consider the style of worship that the church utilizes at the service. Some churches have contemporary music as part of the program. For others, the parishioners sing hymns, others have full choruses, some have full bands, others have orchestras, some use organs and a chorus, some sing gospel, and some sing rock. Unless your religion is the rule, you want to find a church that inspires you and you feel you are part of the church family and a place to belong and have your wedding. Some churches offer classes, programs, and productions that you might want to check out in addition.

Once you find your church, besides finding an officiant to marry you, most churches have a wedding coordinator and you should seek out this person for advice. At some churches, the wedding coordinator works on a volunteer basis and at other churches they charge a fee. The coordinator is an excellent source of what you can have and do at your wedding service. They also can help find a musician; organists, soloists, choirs, pianists, guitarists, harpists, flutists, string quartets, and trumpets. They can help guide you through some of the semantics of the church and inform you of some of the decorations the church can provide such as candelabras or aisle runners.

In your discussions with the wedding coordinator, you want to identify a room or place where the bride and also where the groom can hide before the wedding ceremony so they are not visible to the guests. You also want to think about a place for the attendees and performers at the wedding. In addition, you will want to discuss the cleaning arrangements after the ceremony, which includes the returning the hymnals and bibles to the back of the pews, picking up programs, church bulletins and other papers as well as removing the decorations from the wedding.

Make sure flower petals, rice, and wedding sparklers are vacuumed or swept up as well. Some churches employ a janitor with a fee arrangement or the church may allow you a volunteer to clean the church after the service. The wedding coordinator can also put you in touch with other couples and combine resources, such as the case with decorations and floral arrangements. You might even consider forwarding your floral arrangements to your wedding reception where the decorations can be used again to dress up the bridal party's head table.

Besides looking for a house of worship to hold your wedding in the phone book and yellow pages, many wedding websites show churches by denomination. Do you need two churches?, one for your faith and one to get married in. Maybe your guest list is too small or too big for the church you are a member of.

If your budget is an issue for your wedding, or you don't have a strong church affiliation, you may consider getting married in a wedding chapel. Many wedding chapels are very charming geared to the wedding experience and provide a romantic place to get married in. Be sure to do an in depth interview with the chapel's coordinator, while some chapels are fantastic, others treat you as a number. They rush the wedding along, the ceremony flies by and you are not able to enjoy it, and there is a push to empty out the parking lot, no lingering allowed, so the chapel is ready for the next service. Make sure you fully understand the contract before booking a wedding in a chapel. Also find references with other couple that got married there.

Many four and five star hotels and resorts offer ceremony sites right on their premises. Weddings at these places have become a big hit in recent years. They have developed a scenic view for your wedding and provide a lot of different services because they bundle a number of services for your wedding. Besides room accommodations for visiting guests, they offer a ceremony site, a reception facility, they have experienced chefs that make the food and cater the wedding, they provide all the furniture, the tables and chairs and serving tables, they provide all the china ware for the wedding, the plates, flatware, beverage glasses, cups and saucers, they provide decorative linen needs with matching napkins, they provide decorations including table centerpieces and sometimes even special lighting, they even bake the wedding cake, have in-house musicians, and have rooms available for the bridal party. Many families think they can't afford a hotel wedding but in actuality, the weddings may be less or not much more than a conventional wedding.

If you do get married at a hotel, don't forget to book a block of rooms for your hotel guests especially for out -of-towners. Even some of these hotels are arranged so that the guest that is coming out-of-town can get shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport again and the shuttle service even includes trips to fine restaurants and other places of interest. A guest may not have to rent a car for the trip yo your wedding.

There are a ton of other wedding ceremony sites in your area that you may have never considered. You can get married in a art gallery, in a unique business banquet room, a bed & breakfast, a room in an office tower, a roof top over looking the city, a golf club, a country club, a yacht club, a museum, a government building, a national monument, a private estate or mansion, a ballpark, an upscale restaurant, a rustic building, or a building facility in a park.

You have outdoor wedding venues to consider too.  You can consider the beach, a botanical garden, an estate or mansion yard, a family's member year, a picturesque park, a mountain view, a plot along a river, a lakeside, romantic island, a farm, a yacht or riverboat, or an open field with a wedding tent.

All these wedding spots all can make your wedding into an elaborate and special event, some cost money and some not so much. The key is to find a ceremony site according to the size of your wedding party. Unless it's your place of worship check on a number of venues before deciding which one to book. Ask lot's of detailed questions on such matter's of seating, dangerous areas if kids roam around, or what can be backup plans in the event of foul weather.

Review the contract in depth before booking and make sure there are no hidden fees. Everything about the place needs to be spelled out. Are there any restrictions, parking, noise, time to shut down. Make sure you take plenty of pictures and roam and check out all the areas that guests may go to especially young children and all issues addressed.

Make sure you find a special place for your wedding day, be thorough on you interview and bring along a friend on your interview. So that's the story of Interview and Book your Ceremony Site. See you on the other side!

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