It’s important for prospective brides and grooms to look at their wedding plans from a parish and pastor’s viewpoint, as well as their own.
A practicing Catholic couple is (unless one is an active member of the armed services) active in their parish or respective parishes. Either the Brides’ or the Groom’s parish is therefore the place where they should be married: in the presence of their own parish community. In such cases a faithful parish member is charged nothing, or a nominal amount just for the utilities.
When a non-practicing Catholic shops for a beautiful “photo-op setting” church, they must remember that they are, with their wedding rehearsal time, decoration time, and ceremony and photo time, taking up valuable space in a parish’s regular calendar, and using a large chunk of that parish’s monthly resources of manpower, utilities, insurance, clean-up, and time. :coolinoff:
Each parish has standards of decorum re music, floral decoration, and even fashions (I know a couple of great churches who nix low-cut strapless bridal gowns, :dts: more power to them!)
Proper Catholic churches refuse to allow pop music during the ceremony and it is indicative of the selfishness of some couples that they are offended by this . An organist is retained by the parish church on the understanding that he/ she is paid for music at all events in accord with parish guidelines; and if that organist is shoved aside :imsorry: for the wedding couple’s imported musicians, it is only right that the organist be recompensed for their stipend whether the wedding couple thinks this unfair or not.
Wedding couples rarely stop to consider that they are probably only one of many engaged couples vying to occupy the “desirable” church on their rehearsal and wedding-days-- and each “non parishioner” wedding is a disruption of regular parish life :hypno:. Many magnificent churches must in “self-defense” charge very stiff stipends to discourage excessive numbers of non-parishioner weddings from frequently displacing the regular congregation on week-ends when the church should be availible for quiet prayer, public novenas or rosaries, or other occassions (such as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or day retreats which usually must be scheduled on Saturdays, the popular day for weddings.)
I know one pastor :ouch: of a gorgeous, historic church who has told me that his Saturdays often see three weddings a day --morning, noon and night-- :eek: to the detriment of the parish’s life. The (expensive ) stipend charged by that parish is no real great obstacle to wealthy people who are spending $ tens of thousands on that one day, and who have no intention of becoming active parishioners at that church. (I told him he should raise the fees until they effectively discouraged such people ! However In the case of serving active military getting married far from home, most churches are glad to waive all fees.
The Wedding Day is important, but less important than THE MARRIAGE according to the mind of Christ; and shallow couples :onpatrol: who regard a church building as venue for a glamorous photo-op should be charged a stiff venue fee accordingly.