We have a wedding website. Go us! We also have a wedding-planning/communicating email address, and I’ve requested email addresses from friends and family so that Mr and I can start 2014 communicating about our wedding with those who want to/will witness it.
Yesterday was obviously a rather productive day!
My hope is that April 2014 will be another month of hyper-activity. It’s the month I plan on trying on dresses. It’s the month I hope to send out announcements/save the dates. It’s the month I hope to secure a venue too. Some brides are all about the ring. Others all about the dress. It appears that I’m a location, location, location bride.
Now that my heart is set and my soul at peace with a church wedding, I’ve got a list of “nice-to-haves” in order of preference for the church we select to have the ceremony:
1) Flexibility/cooperation in ceremony customization. I know what I want. I know what I want this wedding to be about. I know why people gather before friends and families to take these vows and I value the moment more now than I did months ago. Too many churches open their doors to “non-members” to have wedding ceremonies in their sanctuaries under the stipulation of several rules and regulations. (This is exactly why I didn’t want to get married in a church.) The bride shouldn’t wear this. The groom comes in at this point. This is when we pray. This is how we pray. Then we’ll say this and you’ll respond with that. Then it’s over. No thank you. So the flexibility to be contributors to the creation and customization of our ceremony is actually a “must have.” I don’t want to just follow the prayer book or whatever other cookie-cutter, tinkling cymbal, and sounding brass program. The ceremony is the heart and soul of our wedding day, and there won’t be much else going on but this ceremony. We want to get it right and follow our hearts.
2) Stained-glass windows in a grand space. Sanctuaries should look like high and holy places to me. I shouldn’t have to decorate anything if I come into a church. I don’t need a bunch of flowers. I don’t need tulle. I don’t need candelabras. Generations of parishoners have given their tithes and offerings to capital campaigns to build beautiful cathedrals in which they worship God. And New York is full of them! I should be able to benefit from that…
3) Pipe organ. I need a pipe organ. Nothing sounds better in a church than an organ – pipe. There are no more words, just listen:
… I rest my case.
4) Balcony… for the pictures (and late-comers). Look. I’m late. I know people who are late. I am doing everything in my power to ensure that no one is late to the wedding, but just in case a train breaks down, your shoe gets stuck in a sewer drain, or a meeting at work runs over (we’re getting married mid-afternoon on a Friday)… the ushers will usher you right on up to the balcony where you get a great view of the ceremony below AND where photographers can get decent shots of the ceremony without being all in my face. In hindsight, I always appreciate the product that “in your face” photographers deliver, but… no… this is a ceremony. Reverence above all else.
5) Speaking of being late because of train issues, the venue has to be walking distance to a train stop. It’s NY. Why not? This rules my church in Mount Vernon, NY all the way out. (Also, its architecture is a little too contemporary for my liking.) You see this? You see First Baptist Church on NYC a mere 5-10 steps from the 79th Street train station? That’s giving me life!
6) Reception hall or gathering space. This relates to the flexibility and appeases my mother who has recently become obsessed about not having to travel from one venue to another. OK. The church has to have a hall or reception space. Since we’re not throwing a big party nor having a meal (There will be light fare!), the space just has to be there – available for our use. You have no idea how little I care about the reception. I asked Mr if we can just kinda leave the church after the ceremony and take off. I was told I was being selfish and rude. 😦 Bad bride!
So our churches to get to know better in the new year are: Riverside Church of New York, First Baptist Church of New York City, Calvary Baptist Church on 57th Street, and as many United Methodist Churches that my mom can identify with stained glass windows, near subway with balcony in Manhattan or Brooklyn because this is my mom, and that is her contribution to the wedding since I’m not completely sure how engaged she will be in dress-shopping. (We don’t shop well together.) 😦 Bad daughter!