by J. Cassar
It is customary for the wedding to occur at the church of the parish the bride hails from. There are, however, other considerations that can play a big part in choosing a church, such as the size and location of the building.
In many ways, a church wedding is the easiest option. The picturesque building and religious ceremony give immediate seriousness to the event.
You have the weight of tradition behind you and a church ceremony is what many people envisage when they imagine the perfect wedding scene.
Most couples will opt for their local place of worship where they know the priest well and he knows both or one of the couple intending to get married. This is certainly one way to make your wedding day more special. Some of you may even have a priest in your family and by asking him to marry you can create a more intimate celebration.
A lot of our couples will have personal reasons for choosing a particular church. It could be that they were both baptized there, and so have something in common with each other as well as with the church.
To get married in a church or chapel you have to complete the marriage preparation course. They are held in various parishes around Malta and are available during January, April and October. They can be confirmed up to a month before but are usually booked from two years before the wedding. For more details on where they will conducted. Contact : Cana Movement at the Catholic Institute, Floriana.
Deciding on the right amount of decoration can become a nightmare so set a budget for flower arrangements and remember your guests will only see them for about an hour. The most obvious area to be dressed is the altar as this will be the main focus during the ceremony and photographs. Ask you local florist to show you samples of their previous work to get an idea of the style, colours and choice of flowers available.
It is also a good idea to check if there are any village feasts in and around the area you will be getting married. This could affect you and your guests should you get stuck in traffic, arriving late or have problems with parking. Should your wedding fall during a feast, the church would usually be highly decorated with fabric and floral arrangements and a colour scheme already allocated. This may reduce the quantity of flowers required and keep your costs down. Some couples may even pick a church/chapel that falls during a feast because of these very same reasons.
The altar is not the only area that needs attention remember the pews draw your eyes towards the altar. Now a day’s couple’s are opting for material such as tulle or ribbons matching the overall colour scheme and tied every second or third pew creating an effective design and again keeping costs down. Another suggestion is to use the pews to mark out the immediate family zones by dressing the first 6 pews on either side.
The Grooms’ guests will be seated on the right as you face the altar and the Brides’ guests seated on the left. Sometimes this rule cannot be enforced, as there are more guests on the grooms’ side for example. The solution would be to divide the guests equally as they arrive. As we already mentioned, the first pews should be reserved for the parents, grandparents, witnesses, maid of honour, best man, bridesmaid(s), flower girl(s) and pageboy. Behind them would be your brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles and behind them would be other family members and friends.
The choice of music has become increasingly important and with the vast range available you are spoilt for choice. But there is no point hiring a choir if the chapel is just about big enough for you and your guests! Or hiring a singer with backup whose voice is strained even when using a microphone because the church is so big your guests have a job filling it! Choose the music that suits you as a couple as well as the ceremony venue. Always ask to hear them play a selection of tunes BEFORE you confirm with deposits, this is also a good time to ask your friends and family for any recommendations. Sometimes they will have a wedding in the same church creating a perfect opportunity to hear exactly how they will sound at your wedding. If you have a particular piece of music you want playing and they don’t know it, you should provide them with a music sheet or CD allowing them plenty of time to practice and then ask them to perform it for you before.