This week’s tip is only for those that choose to go indoors, and deals specifically with the question of, “In a church or not in a church?” And while I’m going to try and be balanced in the informations shared, I’m a pastor – so it will be obvious where my preference lies. But here are a few details to consider as you make the decision between a church (or synagogue, temple, etc) and hotel banquet room and the like…
Churches are built for music and acoustics and often have built in sound systems that can make amplification much easier. Most banquet rooms have poor acoustics because of all the carpeting and the architecture of the room, and they usually require some kind of sound system to be put in place just for the wedding to amplify. Many hotels have speakers and a sound board available, but it will cost extra. In churches it is often included in the modest rental fee.
If you are planning to have a lot of music in your ceremony, or if you want the music you do have to sound good, a hotel may not be a good fit.
The Bridal Entry
I have a whole post dedicated to the bride’s entry later in this series because I believe it is that important in the ceremony. But for now I will simply say that most banquet rooms aren’t well suited for a great entry. Churches often have a long aisle with a large door at the back which sets the congregation up for some serious excitement as the wedding begins. Hotels or other banquet style rooms usually aren’t designed well for a dramatic entry (and yes, it should be dramatic! that’s not just personal preference but good theology).
A lot of couples choose a hotel banquet room or something like it because you can host the wedding and reception all in the same place, you might be able to get some kind of discount on the room because you are holding the reception there, and if some of your wedding guests are staying at that hotel, it doesn’t get much simpler.
This value shouldn’t be undersold. Long drives between a wedding and reception aren’t fun, especially for your guests with small children. A quick turnaround between the wedding and reception can be a great feature of your wedding. (Note: this can also work in a church building with the reception in the fellowship hall, though many fellowship halls aren’t in the condition couples want for the celebration of their marriage)
Also, hotels often have staff that are there to help which can offer added convenience.
Advantage? Clearly hotels
As a Christian pastor I believe weddings to be sacred events ordained by God. And given the nature of that kind of event, I tend to think that you want to host it in a physical space that suits the occasion. Churches provide this (as does nature if that is your preference), but hotels rarely do.
Hotels are places for short-term stays where you check-in, use what you want, leave a mess, and pay for the service of someone picking up after you – so basically the exact opposite of what marriage is. But churches are places of worship, of commitment, of long-standing sacrificial teaching and relationships. That seems to me a better atmosphere to surround yourselves with on the day of your covenant that declares, “I won’t leave until one of us is dead.”
There are, of course, many other considerations. And every couple and their wedding are different. But if there is a beautiful sanctuary that is affordable and available for your big day, I suggest that you seriously consider it.