Bride-to-be Blogger Alyse: My Church Wedding

St. Monica's in Berwyn, where Alyse and Kevin will be married.

I’ve mentioned before that my preppy and earthy side have been in a fight since I got engaged. At one point, when the earthy side was in the clear lead, I pictured my ceremony to be outside, maybe with some fresh flowers in my hair instead of a veil. My parents, especially my mom, mostly kept their opinions to themselves as we visited rustic farm and outdoor venues from Philadelphia to Lancaster. The reality is, though, that Kevin and I met in grade school—a Catholic grade school—with a Catholic church … a church we attended together for years. Oh, and did I mention that the church is very pretty with high vaulted ceilings and a long aisle? My barn wedding never had a chance.

I slowly came to this realization myself—well, and with the help of a few side comments by my mom. One of her more convincing points was that, one day, looking back, I might regret not having that moment walking down the aisle in a church. This struck a chord with me. It wasn’t necessarily about the past, and what getting married in that particular church meant to my grade school-self—it was about the future, decades later, realizing that I made the right decision.

Now that I am in the midst of planning, I can already see that the church was the right choice. There are, however, some added elements to planning a church wedding. One requirement is that couples attend Pre-Cana, which is like pre-marital counseling administered by the church. The priest that is marrying us suggested that we complete Pre-Cana as soon as possible, so that we can use the skills we learn during the wedding planning process. I was skeptical of this reasoning at first, but we signed up for the September program and began our sessions this week.

From what I’ve heard, all Pre-Cana programs are different, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Ours was a big group, about thirty couples. The first part of the session was a lecture on conflict resolution and then we broke into couples to do some exercises. There are three more sessions, so I can’t give my full opinion yet. But so far, I can see what our priest meant about completing the program early. At the very least, it will be one more experience we go through together before getting married, and at the most, we will learn how to avoid those inevitable wedding-planning disagreements.

How did you decide where to hold your ceremony? What went into making the decision? How do you feel about the decision you made?


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