I know so many people who get married in a church or who see a church and what to get married because of how pretty it is, etc etc. I even know people who claim to be Hindu or Buddhist, but want that traditional church wedding- so they offer money to the church and hire a preacher.
I personally believe that if you are not a Christian and are not attending that church, then you should be married within your own religion at your own place of worship- OR at a court house by a judge. My father is a pastor, and it’s just so weird to have people who have no interest in our beliefs or attending our church, randomly stop in and if they can be married at our church. Sometimes they even ask if my father will marry them- a very ‘package’ deal, you might say. The question that normally follows is, “What about your own church?”
“Oh, we don’t normally attend any church. But we believe in God!”
“Oh. We only go to church on Christmas/Easter.”
“Well, we’re thinking about maybe something attending church here…”
My father’s normal response to these people is, “Tell you what. You come to this church for one month and attend four marriage sessions that I’ll give to you. And then I’ll let you know if I am willing to marry you in this church.”
That normally makes the people disappear right away. The serious and sincere ones- and yes, we have had a few who truly meant that they did want to start coming to church- followed through. Even more people pretend they are okay with it, come for one week, two sessions and… fall away.
Okay, can you please try to understand? This is our CHURCH. People come here to connect with God. It is a sacred, religious place to the people who attend. You cannot just adopt a church and a religion for a day just so your wedding pictures look nice. If you and your partner aren’t religious people or have no interest in Christianity, you have no business getting married in a Christian church. Go to a judge in a court house. Get married on the beach. Get married in a flower garden. There are plenty of beautiful locations to get married that are not the church.
And hey, I’m not just saying it happens in Christian churches. It applies to ALL religions. If you are not part of that religion, you have no business pretending you are for one day. It’s just rude.
Are there some exceptions where it is okay? Yes. If the couple is trying to find a location that is more accessible for family, or a similar situation, then we have no problem allowing them to use our church. Usually those people are so kind, and they ask if their own pastor can deliver the service, which is exactly the way it should be. We do everything we can to make it a special day.
And I’m sorry if this offends people, but I think I’m right. And the real reason that convinces me of this is that the majority of people who are religious and attend a place of worship regularly agree with me. The people who don’t follow a particular religion or are undecided, normally disagree. I’m interested to see how readers will respond to this, and if it will follow the normal pattern. 0123-11
I’ll start the “pattern”. In my church, you cannot use the building to be married unless you are a member of our church and attend 6 hours of premarital counseling OR you are a member in good standing in another church that has required counseling. We do not believe that a building is sacred but that entering into the covenant of marriage is a serious commitment that should not be entered into frivolously or lightly hence the requirement for extensive premarital counsel and a relationship to the church congregation who will help hold the couple accountable to their vows.
Count me among those who think it very bizarre that someone of different religion wants to use another religion’s place of worship as their wedding ceremony venue.