Dr. Alan Viau

I Want a Church Wedding Without the Religion

By Rev. Alan Viau

Do you want a church wedding but are not thrilled with the religious requirements that comes with it? Brides and grooms today can have a church located wedding without the religion. There are more options than you think.

For some couples, part of their dream wedding is to have a marriage ceremony performed in a church. It is considered traditional just like marriage is traditional. However, religious organizations can ask for all sorts of requirements from a bride and groom before agreeing to marrying them in their place of worship.

Some of the most common requirements are:

  • You belong to their membership and follow their religion
  • You both attend a premarital course
  • You need to pay for the church rental, their organist and custodial services
  • You can’t have pictures taken during the service
  • You need to use their standard wedding ceremony with little choice in personalizing it
  • You are faced with rules about using decorations

These can be show stoppers for couples. Luckily there are options available where you can have a church located wedding.

Rent a Church

There are some churches that let you rent their space to have a non-religious wedding. I have performed weddings at Southminister United Church for example. They let you rent out their venue and you provide the officiant, decorations, musicians and photographers. It is worth asking a church to see if they would allow to you book their space.

All Seasons Weddings has a church in Kenmore

There are also former churches that are available. All Seasons Weddings has a beautifully restored former church available. St. Brigids in downtown Ottawa is a converted Catholic Church that is available as well.

Book a Venue with a Church

Some wedding venues have a church available where you can easily move from the ceremony to the reception. Beantown Ranch has a charming country chapel on their site. Once the ceremony is completed, it can be converted to a cocktail area.

Chapel at Beantown Ranch

The Cumberland County Museum has an old country church as part of their exhibits. You can have your wedding there and easily move to a tented reception area on-site. At The Schoolhouse in Munster has access to a church across the street from its reception facilities.

With these possibilities, you can have your dream wedding at a church without all the requirements that come with a religious institution. It really is the best mix of traditional and modern weddings to be able to personalize your wedding including having your own church location.

Photos by Alan Viau

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