5 Mistakes Not to Make if You’re Having a Christian Wedding Ceremony

It depends on your institution—and sect of Christianity—but these are the things to keep in mind if you’re having a traditional, religious ceremony at a church or chapel.
by Sophie Ross

If you’re having a non-secular wedding, great! It’ll be beautiful. But you should know upfront that you might not have the luxury of doing—or wearing—whatever you want, especially if you’re marrying in a house of worship. These mistakes may keep your officiant from marrying you when the day finally arrives, so you should take your religious restrictions seriously.

To avoid any day-of disasters, definitely meet with your officiant within one month of getting engaged so you know exactly what to expect and what to prepare. It depends on your institution, but overall, it’s safe to say these are the mistakes you should avoid making if you’re having a Christian wedding ceremony.

1. Skipping the Premarital Counseling (or Pre-Cana)

Nearly every sect of Christianity will require you and your partner attend premarital counseling prior to the wedding day. In Catholicism it’s called Pre-Cana—and the requirements of it may differ between sects. Either way, make sure you chat with your officiant about this ever-important aspect of Christian wedding preparation.

2. Wearing Inappropriate Attire

You wouldn’t wear a sexy, plunging outfit to church on a Sunday, would you? Well, the same rules apply to weddings held at churches, so be wary while wedding dress shopping if you know you’re getting married in a house of worship. (Pro tip: If you have your heart set on a dress that shows your shoulders, you can simply pick a chic cover-up or bolero that you can wear during the ceremony and remove before the reception.)

3. Picking Secular Music

We’re all for out-of-the-box processional songs, but unfortunately, you might not be able to walk down the aisle to “All of Me” by John Legend if you’re marrying in a church. Your institution may only allow live sacred music—so make sure to do your research and choose accordingly.

4. Writing Your Own Vows

Many Catholic priests or deacons won’t allow you to write your own vows for the ceremony, since Catholic churches typically ask that you stick to traditional ones. Luckily, there are tons of alternatives if you’re set on expressing public words of affection to one another—try printing them in the ceremony programs or exchanging loving speeches at your reception.

5. Choosing the Wrong Day of the Week

This is something that should be easy to avoid by knowing upfront what days of the week your house of worship will or won’t perform ceremonies (usually due to normally scheduled services). Makes sense, right? So just make sure you’re absolutely certain the day of the week works before you book any vendors or put down deposits.

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