Your ceremony–the actual exchange of vows–will be the single most important part of your whole wedding. It marks a lifetime commitment to one another and will be one of your relationship’s greatest milestones. So, deciding where that ceremony takes place can be a wonderful start to celebrating your lives together.
Although most Canadian couples today traditionally opt to have a ceremony performed in a house of worship, there really are no limits to where you can say “I do,” whether or not you’re planning a religious ceremony. Consider a private home or garden, a public park, a yacht, a farmhouse, a theme park, an island vacation getaway, a museum or gallery, or for that matter, take the plunge literally and bungee jump into your vows together!
It goes without saying that the location you choose must reflect the level of formality you’ve chosen for the actual ceremony. A traditional formal wedding suggests a place like a house of worship or a lavish hotel, whereas a semi-formal wedding may be held within a private home or garden.
Some Helpful Hints
Get Personal: Choose to be married where you both feel most comfortable–in a place that will reflect the personality of each of you.
Ask Your Officiant: Possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination and in some cases, your religion. Check with the person who will be performing the ceremony for suggestions.
Think Comfort: Make sure the location you choose will not only be comfortable for you, but for your guests as well. If it’s to be a larger event, you’ll need to consider whether there is adequate parking and seating. For a summer ceremony, you might want to think about making sure the venue has air conditioning, or else be prepared for a sultry event.
Reserve Seating: If you choose a place that has formal seating, reserve the first two or three rows for family members and close friends.
Pay a Visit: Go to your ceremony location together before the rehearsal and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. This will allow you and your partner to be more relaxed and focused on the rehearsal and the ceremony.
Deals to Look for
Two for One: Consider having your ceremony and reception at the same location and rent one facility instead of two. Get married outside by the water at a lakeside resort and have your dinner and dance inside so there’s a change of scenery. Your guests, especially those from out-of-town, will appreciate a one-stop wedding.
Get Outside: Have your ceremony outside in a naturally beautiful setting, whether in a park or on private grounds. Just make sure to check with the property owner, or your local municipality if it’s a public space, to ensure you and your guests will be welcome.
Membership Benefits: A family member or friend who is a member of a church congregation, country club or legion may be able to rent the sanctuary, clubhouse or hall at a discount.
Questions to Ask
•How long is the ceremony space available for?
•On top of the fee for the officiant, will there be charges for the facility rental, the caretaker and the musician(s)?
•Are decorations permitted? (Some churches won’t allow it.)
•Can the foyer of the facility be used for a receiving line following the ceremony?
•Are there restrictions on confetti, candles or photography?