What You Need to Know About Planning a Religious Wedding at a House of Worship

These essential details may not be on your officiant’s check list

Updated 02/04/17

Photo by Julia Elizabeth Photography

If you’ve decided to have a religious wedding in a house of worship, you may think most of the work for your ceremony has been taken care of, but think again. Even with a set format for the proceedings and a list of requirements every couple has to meet, there are still details you’ll want to think about that may not be on your officiant’s check list. Our experts have a few things you should keep in mind when planning a ceremony in a house of worship. Add them to your list!

Song Selections May Be Limited
Depending on how strict the house of worship is, you may have limited choices when it comes to processional and recessional songs. In some cases, that might just mean instrumental music with no words, while in others you may have to pick a song off of their approved list in order to meet religious requirements.

There Could Be a Dress Code
If you’re marrying at a church or temple that you regularly attend, you’re probably pretty familiar with the dress code. Make sure you review it with your officiant or the venue’s representative to ensure that both you and your guests are properly dressed. That could mean purchasing a jacket to wear over your wedding gown or providing shawls for women wearing sleeveless or strapless dresses, as well as head coverings like yarmulkes for men if necessary.

You Should Encourage Participation
There’s nothing more awkward than a totally silent church during a call-and-response portion of the ceremony. Encourage your wedding party and family members who are of the same faith to participate (and loudly!) whenever it is indicated by your officiant. They should join in for any prayers or songs they know, and make sure to sit or stand at the correct times. This will cue your other guests, as well as help fill the space so your ceremony truly feels like a community experience.

Connect Your Planner and Your Venue
If you’re planning any sort of decor for your ceremony, make sure your wedding planner and florist are in touch with your venue’s representative. Each space has different rules for things like candles, aisle runners and where you can and can’t have flowers, so make sure the design you’re planning (and paying for!) follows those guidelines.

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