Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Wedding - Choosing Our Venue and Church Drama

It's one month until our one year anniversary! I can't believe it's almost been a year since our wedding last Spring. In honor of our upcoming First Anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share some of the details of our wedding. Not too many, I promise, just the high notes!

I had a lot of fun planning our wedding. It was also a lot of work, and even with the help of my sweet mom and our wedding coordinator, there were times that the whole process just felt overwhelming. This time last year, we were in the thick of things with just a month to go before the big day. K and I just wanted to be married, but there were so many details between us and the finish line. Looking back on our wedding day, we are so happy with the way things came together and we know that all the work was worth it. The ceremony was formal and God-honoring and the reception was elegant and fun - exactly the way we had hoped to celebrate the beginning of our life together.

So with that, let's talk about choosing our venues . . . (thankfully this was the only drama filled part of our planning process)

I can honestly say that I've never been one of those girls that dreamt of her "dream wedding." Don't get me wrong, I definitely looked forward to meeting the man I would marry and getting married, but I never really focused too much time or energy thinking about the details of my future wedding. That said, I have always hoped that I could have my wedding reception at the Ca d'Zan Mansion in Sarasota.

A beautiful wedding location at Ca-D-Zan in Sarasota

Isn't it lovely? Image found here.

Almost immediately after getting engaged, we contacted the Ca d'Zan to book it for our reception. We were looking at dates a year out - a YEAR out - and it was completely booked. What!?! Who plans their wedding over a year in advance!?! Apparently, a lot of people. We were put on the waiting list for April 16, 2011 and told to wait. And so we did - we waited and hoped and prayed and waited - and then, my mom got the phone call . . . WE GOT IT! Yay!

Once we had the date secured, we coordinated with our pastor to make sure it would work for him and got to work reserving the church. We knew that we wanted my college RUF pastor to marry us, so reserving the church meant finding a church that would allow him to officiate. My parents' home church is a lovely and historic church right on the bay front, but Episcopal churches don't allow weddings during the Lenten season and our wedding date fell on the weekend of Palm Sunday, so we hit the pavement to find a Presbyterian Church that would allow us to borrow their space for the day. We somewhat naively thought that it would be a cinch to find Presbyterian Church that would allow our Presbyterian pastor to conduct a traditional Presbyterian wedding ceremony in its sanctuary.

This is us at my parents' church the weekend we got engaged.
We were truly disappointed it didn't work out for us to have our wedding there.

Unfortunately, finding a Presbyterian Church that would allow us to have a Presbyterian ceremony became a little bit more of a challenge than we initially anticipated. And this is where the DRAMA begins (drama should really be a four letter word, don't you think?) It all started when the church that we initially booked asked to review a sample of what our pastor would say. We thought this was a somewhat strange, but innocuous request and complied. After reviewing an outline of his remarks, we were told the church would be happy to let us use their space, but we would need to change the entire content of our ceremony/vows. What?! Does this sounds ridiculous to anyone else? Apparently the charge from Ephesians 5 that a wife should honor and submit to her husband and a husband should love his wife as Christ loved the church is radical. So radical that one pastor would not allow it to be spoken in her church. We were floored. We were even more floored when this same pastor suggested that perhaps I should learn to submit by compromising about what would be said during our wedding ceremony. W-H-A-T!?! Did that really happen, did she really say that!?!

[If I had a picture of K hitting his head against a wall, I would insert it here.]

At this point all we could do was laugh. Laugh, and be thankful that we had not yet printed our invitations (which were in the "proofing" stage) inviting our friends and family to our wedding in this church.

Perhaps it is radical to consider marriage to be a life-long covenant that reflects not only your relationship with each other, but also your relationship with Christ. And maybe it is radical to say, during your wedding ceremony, that you will put your spouse first, that you will love them sacrificially. But you know what? If that's radical, sign me up! And if that's what being radical looks like, I hope K and I will be radical for the rest of our lives.

We were so fortunate that Church of the Palms allowed us to use their sanctuary for the day. Without restrictions, without censorship, and without DRAMA. What a blessing to be welcomed so warmly by a church! And with that, the drama portion of our wedding planning was over and we were able to move on to the fun stuff: invitations, flowers, food, and nailing down the details for the ceremony and reception!

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