“But My Little Princess MUST Have the Prettiest Church In Town”

by admin on March 10, 2010

I come from a family of very committed church-goers and volunteers.  From my grandparents on down to the youngest grandchild, everyone volunteered in some fashion at the church we all attended:  singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School and/or Bible School, providing food and clean up for church dinners, contributing to church publications, sitting on the board, playing the organ, you  name it.  In my small home town (I have since moved), your church is considered your church “home”, and all the members know each other to some extent.  When I was a young teenager, I stood with other church members as we watched with aching hearts while a devastating fire claimed the historic old building in which services had been held for almost 150 years, although the newer building containing the classrooms was saved.  With the other members, I pitched in and helped with all the fund-raisers and bazaars to help cover the cost of raising a new building beyond what insurance would pay.  Finally, four years later, a beautiful new building was completed, and I sang with other family members in the choir in thanksgiving for our first service in our new building.  What I’m trying to say is, this church meant a lot to me.  I was christened there.  When it came time for me to be married, of course that is where I wanted to hold my wedding and reception.  Where else?  It was my church home and my church “family” would be there with me.

Less than a month before my wedding– dresses done, invitations sent, tuxes rented, caterer set —  I received a phone call at home where I still lived with my parents. The caller, a woman whom I didn’t know, told me that the secretary at my church had informed her that I was getting married in the church on Saturday, Oct. 12th.  Wondering where this was going, I told her she was correct.  “Well,” she continued, “My daughter is ALSO getting married on October 12th, and she really wanted to have her wedding in that church.  It’s just so pretty!  I mean, we’re not members, but she really has her heart set on it.  I was just wondering if you could move your wedding to the week before or the week after the 12th. Or could you have your wedding somewhere else?”  (Let me insert here that my maiden name was unique in a small town — I’m sure the woman looked up my family in the phone book. I don’t accuse the secretary of giving her my number.)  I assured the woman that I could not possibly move the date, and that as a life-long member, I had no intention of changing the place, either.  “But only move it a day, then?  You could get married the next day.  She really wanted to use this church — it’s the prettiest one in town!”

I hung on to my manners, but just barely.  I refused again and again and finally got her off of the phone.  She wanted a life-long member to move the site or date — at the last minute no less —  of her wedding in a church she had attended all her life,  because her daughter wanted “the prettiest church in town” as her setting for her own wedding?  Who asks ANYONE to move a wedding at that point? Thirty years later, I still can’t figure it out, but that whole bizarre conversation has never been forgotten.   0725-08

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Andromeda March 10, 2010 at 7:51 am

Good for you for standing up for yourself and not moving your wedding date. The church may have been very beautiful, but if this lady’s daughter wanted to get married in that church, she should have booked ahead of time. In my old province, there was a church that had a two year waiting list to get in. If you want to get married in that church, you put your name on that list, or get married somewhere else.

I hope your wedding day was beautiful.

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N Harper March 10, 2010 at 8:35 am

I think this could have been avoided if the secretary didn’t give out bridal party names to anyone off the street. That being said, kudos for standing firm and not allowing this individual to ruin your day.

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NotCinderell March 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

I’m amazed at the double standard. The caller asks the poster to move her wedding date a week or a day like it’s no big deal for someone else, but of course, her daughter’s wedding date is set in stone and can’t be moved.

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Bee March 10, 2010 at 8:47 am

I don’t understand why her daughter couldn’t pick another date – that’s generally what’s done when a place is already booked. Surely, they didn’t send the invitations BEFORE they reserved a church? And who waits until a month before the wedding date to reserve a place?

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Rachel March 10, 2010 at 8:48 am

Some people certainly do have strange ideas regarding what is appropriate! We had the same sort of thing happen with our reception venue when I got married. I come from a small town so there aren’t many options when it comes to nice reception venues. When we got engaged my fiancé and I knew where we wanted to have our reception so we went and booked it 18 months in advance to make sure that we had what we wanted. In the months leading up to the wedding we received several phone calls from the same person asking us to change our date/location because they really wanted the venue. They even asked my fiancé if he was sure that we were going to go through with the wedding because if we weren’t sure then why not cancel our booking now….honestly, some people just blow my mind! Good for you on standing firm and refusing to cave to someone else’s selfishness.

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Liz March 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

If using that church was soooo important to her daughter, maybe she should have been a bit more flexible in her choice of day. Geez!

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Nicole March 10, 2010 at 10:29 am

I belong to a beautiful, old, historic church and many people who are not members of the church wish to be married there. Unfortunately, many do not seem to understand that a wedding, performed in a church, is a religious ceremony and our pastor requires all couples wishing to be married there to attend premarital counseling with him. We also have restrictions on the music that may be used during the ceremony. They also must pay a fee (which is much higher for non-member than members), many people are shocked that the church charges for weddings.

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J. March 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

Good for you.

Four days before my wedding I got an urgent call from my reception site. Fearing the worst I thought they canceled on me. So I called them back and found out that a couple wanted to get married in the gazebo at our reception site. The short notice was due to the groom leaving for deployment. I agreed to allow them the site as long as they were out by the time we arrived. Thankfully there are good people out in this world and you couldn’t even tell the couple had been there.

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Amber March 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

While I have often been angered or amused by stories on this site, this it the first time I think I’ve simply been flabberghasted. What could this woman be possibly thinking? I hope I never meet a person who is so wrapped up with themselves that they honestly think it is perfectly proper to call a Bride, or anyone, really, to change a set reservation, attachment to the venue or not, so as to stage their OWN event instead. Absolutely thoughtless.

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Pam March 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

My reception was at a location that had a large ballroom that could accomodate up to 400 guests, and a smaller room that was suitable for 200. When we reserved the smaller room for our guests of 150, I was offered the larger room since it wasn’t reserved. I chose to stay with the smaller room as I thought it prettier and it gave me access to the garden and patio areas of the facilty. About 9 months before the wedding, I was contacted by a bride who reserved the ballroom. She was very nice and we discussed things like sharing valets, coordination of arrival times and how to make sure guests were directed to the right locations, and scheduling use of the lobby area for pictures, as its a popular place the photagraphers want to use for staged pictures of the families. About 6 months before the wedding, she called me because she was having a hard time staying under the 400 guests and would I be willing to move my venue to another location so she could have both areas. She even provided me with a list of places she had contacted that would be suitable for my “small” reception and that were still available, and was willing to fund any difference in costs. I said no, I didn’t want to change my plans. A few days later, I received a call from her father offering to pay for half of my reception costs if I would move my wedding. Now I’m offended. I contacted the director of the facility and jumped on him only to find out he had no idea they had been contacting me. He also informed me the entire facility was free the following weekend. He contacted the bride with the information and she immediately switched her date. I did receive a nice apology letter from her and her father sent a beautiful wedding gift as an apology and said they realized they were getting over zealous. The facility ended up winning to by getting the ballroom reserved for the same weekend as my wedding by another couple.

In shear coincidence, about 10 years later, I was at a party and learned one of the couples there had the same anniversary date. I also learned they were the couple who used the ballroom. She said she’d had her heart set on that venue and was crushed when she learned both rooms were booked for the weekend her church was available. She said she always thought it was a wedding “miracle” when the director of the facility called her up about 6 months before her wedding to tell her the ballroom was now available if she still wanted it .

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kingsrings March 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm

This story is exactly why so many churches today are strict about who can get married in their church. There are many people out there who simply want to get married in a church because of the aesthetics, or because it’s “the thing to do”, rather than having any kind of connection to said church or religious beliefs. Many will interview prospective couples, or require them to go through pre-marital counseling at the church before they can get married there.

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Kimberly March 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Would the church even let people book like that? I’m Catholic and you have a long procedure to be allowed to get married at all.

As far as the secretary giving out the info. Small town might not have been the source, or it might not of occurred to her not to say “Oh no that is OP’s Wedding”. Some churches require that those being married be posted in case of people having legitimate reasons to object.

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ladycrim March 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Kudos to you for not laughing right in her ear!

It makes me wonder if they didn’t go ahead and put the church on their invitations, then realized they hadn’t bothered to book it.

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Sherry March 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

While I understand that “The Church” is not a building, but the body of believers. I have never understood people wanting to be married in a church they were not a member of. I have seen beautiful Buddist and Sihk Temples close to my home but I don’t share their beliefs and would feel I had betrayed my faith if I was married in their place of worship. On the flip side I would also feel I had tarnished my own place of worship if I encouraged non-believers to perform a wedding in my church.

I understand it is rude behavior to ask a bride to change her wedding date for you. I find it odd to want a ceremony in a church you are not a member of though.

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Claddagh Lass March 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Good for the OP for sticking to her guns.

To ask for a sudden change like that is something else.

At the church I went to as a kid there were many weddings done there. The rule was first come, first placed in the datebook. If a person didn’t like it then it was just too bad.

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Ann March 10, 2010 at 7:24 pm

You know, sometimes it DOES hurt to ask.

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starbug56 March 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Religious or not, it takes some gall to try to wheedle a bride out of the site of her ceremony. Yikes!

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Joannie81 March 10, 2010 at 7:52 pm

When we went to pick our wedding date, we chose a couple of different dates just in case the church was booked. It was a historical site because the church was over 100 years old. The dates we picked were all booked, so I went through with the priest (I was a member of the church) and we found a date that had one time left. So, I booked it. I’m glad no one asked if I wanted to change my venue, but if they had, I would have said no. And it certainly never occured to me to try to get someone else to change their venue. After all, they had booked the church before me.

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PrincessSimmi March 10, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Bridezillas. We love to hate them, but if they didn’t exist, what would be the point of this website? :)

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Cooler Becky March 11, 2010 at 7:49 am

I totally sympathise with you, writer. Our church here in Australia recently burned down after 150 years in the same place!

Since I live next door to my church, I got to watch it go up in flames. It was… really… well… it was terrible to see. A real tragedy. I’m glad that your church got rebuilt! Ours will start rebuilding soon!

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SammyHammy March 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

Cooler Becky-what a shame! I’m so sorry that you had to witness your place of worship burn down. I’m sure the new building with be beautiful.

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Xtina March 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Insane! Some people’s rudeness knows no bounds. The very gall to think that your event is more important than anyone else’s…..

Agree that I don’t see much of a point of marrying in a church if you’re not religious, or a member of that church. I would feel like a big hypocrite if I did that. But maybe some people just view a church as the traditional place to marry and it’s just another venue. That’s sort of sad.

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AS March 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I am still flabbergasted! What could that mother have been thinking? It wouldn’t even occur to most of us to try and call up a bride we don’t know and tell her to change her wedding date, that too just a month before the wedding! If our (or our daughter’s) dream venue is not available, then – Oh! well too bad! Change the date or settle for another venue. I have read several bridezilla stories on this site, and as bad as they are I can see a lot of it as being oversight on the part of the bride, or she or her relatives are troubling people they know or have to deal with. But this mother surely takes the next step!

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Fanboy Wife March 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I knew some girls in college who selected their churches for their weddings based purely on aesthetics. I never understood that. I figured most people would want to get married in a location that had meaning to them.

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Kileigh7 March 13, 2010 at 7:44 am

Holy garbage! this sounds like my cousin who got married in a church she didn’t belong to, because the aisle in the church she belonged to was too short for her to walk down! The asthetics weren’t pleasing to her, and therefore she went somewhere else she didn’t belong! ARGH!

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Nekolove March 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I got married in a church I didn’t belong to…..I was raised Catholic and husband was not (he was Lutheran). We married in my home town. Husband didn’t want to convert to Catholicism, and I would never have dreamed to demand he do so.

I had attended services from time to time over the years at a small Lutheran church in my town (the pastor there had two daughters my age, and we became good friends when they moved to town), so I called him to see if they would allow us to be married there. We went through counseling (had to drive down several times to complete it from about an hour and a half away), paid a small fee, and everything came off swimmingly.

So, sometimes, I think it can make sense for a bride and groom to be married at a church they’re not members of. It was very important to both me and my husband to be married by a pastor in a church, and the above situation seemed to make the most sense.

However, shopping for a church solely based on aesthetics does seem a bit tacky.

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Pinky830 March 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

My DH’s bro and SIL (who figure in more than a few stories on the forum) found a beautiful church that they wanted to get married in, but there was an issue-I don’t remember whether they didn’t allow non-members, or charged them a huge fee.

Their solution was to *join the church,* going through the whole charade of shaking hands with everyone at the end of the service and making nice with the pastor. After the wedding, I don’t think they ever set foot there again.

Nobody else in the family seemed to think there was anything wrong with this…

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Brian March 18, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Good grief, the nerve of some people. And a month before the wedding and they hadn’t confirmed the location?

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Katy March 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I agree with Sherry.
Our biggest problem when planning the wedding was where to have it because my boyfriend wants beautiful photos taken on site, but in the UK the building has to be liscensed which severely limits the choices. Many people suggested just picking a local church (they’re all beautiful) and having it there but as we’re both atheists neither of us was comfortable with that idea, both because it’d make us uncomfortable and because it’s extremely disrespectful to the church. Fortunately a bit of digging turned up a wonderful Victorian mansion near by where we’re now booked.

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librarianinhell March 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

This reminds me of an ep. of AbFab. Besides that, the gumption of the mother, to think your wedding isn’t as important as her pwecious.

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Baby March 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Apparently this happens more often than I thought!
My best friend got married last April, and a newly-engaged bride-to-be that also went to our church not only asked her if she could please change her wedding date, but if she could also change the date of her couple’s bridal shower, because she and her fiancee wanted to have their shower and wedding on the dates that my friend and her now-husband had been planning on for *months*. Um…how about no? What kind of person expects you to change your wedding date — and who would even dream of asking, especially after the invitations have already been sent! What nerve.
My friend had her shower and her wedding on her originally planned dates. The other couple had their wedding the week before hers. Tacky, tacky, tacky request, people!

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essie August 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Baby, it really IS more common than you know! Same thing happened to us. My husband insisted we be married in my hometown (“It’s tradition!”). Naturally, if it’s going to be in [my hometown], it’s going to be AT the church where my family has been active members since my grandparents moved there, right after WWII. Two months after he proposed, we had to be there for my family’s reunion. the first morning after we arrived, we went down to the church office and selected our wedding date, based on when the church was available in our time frame – 18 months out.

The only differences were that (a) the “others” asked us to move our weding date 2 months out instead of 1 and (b) it was the church receptionist who called, not the MOB. My mother (who took the call) pointed out that we had been members of the church for many years (the “others” were not – again, they just wanted the aesthetics), that we had made our reservation well over a year in advance, and that, if the church staff could handle the schedule, the church was still available for a morning wedding – if the “others” HAD to have it that day.

The church itself IS beautiful – nearly 300 years old – and when special services are held (weddings, funerals, etc.), they place a sign on the door saying “Service in progress”, so tourists don’t wander in at inappropriate moments.

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