Talk of weddings always inspires images of wedding gowns, rings, and of course church. Although recently, wedding venues have taken a more modern trend, the church remains a favorite venue for couples. But when and where did the idea of church weddings start? Looking back in history, there is little information about formal church weddings.
A Brief Look in History
Marriage in ancient times did not include romance. Marriages were more of an arrangement between families. Conditions were made and a bride price was set. Marriage was arranged at a young age, sometimes as early as their birth and often within the clan or neighboring clans. From the time of the betrothal, the couple was considered married and the woman could not belong to another man. The actual wedding was merely the woman being led in a procession towards her husband’s home.
The birth of Christianity extended the church’s influence on the family. Eventually, church and state extended their involvement over relationships and marriage. It was only in the year 1164 that marriage was established as a sacrament by the church. With this, the process of moving the wedding ceremony into church started.
It was a slow start, initially with the priest conducting the ceremony at home attended by witnesses. Then, it was held near the church far from home. Eventually, it was held at the steps of the church with the wedding party in attendance and the priest blessing the couple. By the 12th century, wedding ceremonies were held inside the sanctuary of the church. From the Middle Ages through the 20th century, churches were the expected venue for weddings in North America and Europe.
Best Catholic Church Venues
There are many catholic churches around the United States, and choosing the best Catholic Church for a wedding needs thinking and planning. You cannot just choose randomly like picking food in a supermarket. You need to consider what features you want for the venue of the most important day in your life. These include cost, availability, location, and facilities. Based on these, here are your top three picks:
Cathedral of Saint Mary, Miami, Florida – 1957
This Spanish colonial revival-style building was built in 1955 and was completed in 1957. St. Mary’s is the seat of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Miami. If you are looking for an inexpensive and non-extravagant wedding, St. Mary’s is one you should consider.
$1,000 donation plus $550 for organist and vocalist (a must) and $200 booking fee (to be deducted from the standard donation)
Friday at 6:30 pm
Saturday at 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 6:30 pm
Other schedules may be booked with just cause.
The package includes:
Wedding rehearsals to be held in the church on schedule.
Cathedral Master of Ceremonies who can coordinate with your wedding coordinator.
Wedding ceremony including choices of readings, mass, and inclusion of cultural traditions (veil, cord, candle, aras, etc.).
Use of pews and church sanctuary for flower decorations (no other decors and runners are allowed).
20 minutes photo session after the wedding but the use of a photographer should be coordinated with the master of ceremonies.
St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco, California – 1914
St. Ignatius Church is a Jesuit Catholic church under the Archdiocese of San Francisco, California. The church not just displays its baroque style architecture but also its transformation from amber colored glass window to its stained glass window that evolved over several years. The church has celebrated many wedding ceremonies over the years and invites you to celebrate yours with them.
The wedding fee is $2,500 plus a $15 to $20 fee for FOCCUS, pre-marriage personality inventory, which is a prerequisite for couples who wish to be married
Friday afternoon/evening until 6:00 pm
Saturdays at 11:30 am, 2:30 pm, 6:30 pm
Sunday and weekdays are scheduled upon request
The cost includes the following in the package:
In-house organist/piano player during the wedding mass/ceremony
In-house cantor or singer during the wedding mass/ceremony
A half-hour before the wedding, use of dressing rooms for the bride and the groom
30-minute photo session inside the church after the wedding
A pre-scheduled one hour rehearsal time before the wedding
In-house wedding coordinator to help facilitate the ceremony planning and contract details, to coordinate and assist in the wedding rehearsal, and to help organize and coordinate details at the mass/wedding ceremony
Flower arrangements are allowed but should be pre-arranged and coordinated with the church to match the church’s current flower and color theme.
The assistance of a church sacristan staff during the wedding mass/ceremony and the rehearsal
The assistance of parish staff in ensuring the couple meets the required Archdiocesan guidelines.
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, Michigan – 1915
This Catholic cathedral is neo-gothic in style. It was built in 1915. It is the seat of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. It was listed in the United States National Register of Historic Places. Aside from its beautiful and historic structure, the cathedral has enough guarded parking area, a long aisle, which is reminiscent of a royal wedding, fully air-conditioned, and the church’s famous stained glass windows. The church has been the venue of many weddings and hopefully yours too.
The cost varies depending on your preferred wedding schedule:
Regular schedule on a fixed timeslot costs $1,400
Between January to March on a preferred timeslot – $1,600
Between April to December on a preferred timeslot – $1,800
All Holidays and all Holiday weekends – $2,500
The schedule all year round on regular days is every 11:00 am except on holidays and holiday weekends. You can choose a preferred timeslot for an additional fee.
The fees may look enormous but it provides the following:
Use of its 850-capacity area
The couple has the option to arrange for their own parish priest to officiate the wedding.
Permission to use existing pews and additional pews for flower decorations but the height should be lower than the altar. No runners for safety purposes, this means no scattering of rice, confetti, or flower petals.
You can use unity candles provided you bring your own candles and candle stand.
Choir and music are provided by the church. Using guest musicians is not permitted.
The wedding rehearsal is done 1 to 2 days before the wedding. Couples are asked to schedule their wedding rehearsal date upon confirming the wedding date.
A wedding is a celebration of love between two people and when choosing a church, their main consideration is if the church they chose shares their vision when it comes to matrimony.