Real Rixey: Cynthia and her Catholic Wedding
How and why did you decide to get married off site?
We knew that we wanted to get married by a Catholic priest, but we were told that we could only have an official ceremony done in the Catholic church and not at a non-church location. We considered being married in the church the Thursday beforehand, and then doing a blessing Saturday at Rixey. In the end, however, we decided that we didn't want to have a bunch of ceremonies leading up to the wedding-day. The whole wedding-planning process is long and we didn't want to be tired of wedding ceremonies by the time we got to the wedding day. That's why we decided to do it all in one go, in the church, the day of the wedding.
What extra costs, and decisions you have to make?
Having a ceremony at the church added more costs than we had anticipated. We hadn't realized that the Culpeper hotels where guests were staying were about 40 minutes from the church. We didn't want guests sitting and waiting at the church for too long, so we rented two shuttles in the morning for 4 hours, rather than just having one shuttle do multiple trips. Everyone was picked up before 12:45 and were at the church by 1:15 for the 2pm ceremony. The estimated costs incurred with a church ceremony are outlined below:
Prices for non-parishioners:
Fee for use of the church: $1,000
Fee of required ceremony church coordinator: $50
Alter Flowers (Good Earth): $160
Premarital Course: $285
Church Organist*: $435
String Trio: $490
Ceremony Programs (optional): $50
Officiant Fee/Donation: $150 - $200
Total Estimate: $2,570
What was the best thing about getting married in a church?
Getting married in the Catholic church was very meaningful and important to us and our families. The best part for me was that the ceremony not only united us in marriage forever, but also united us with the Lord, and we were able to share that very special and sacred moment with everyone.
What do you think you lost out by getting married off site?
We lost very unique experience and a certain degree of flow in the day. The wedding day itself would have been easier if it didn't start so early (hair and make-up started at 6:30am due to having a large bridal party) and if there was only one location and less moving parts. We also sacrificed having the ceremony photos with the beautiful view at Rixey, but our guests enjoyed the Manor during cocktail hour and the reception.
Did anything surprise you on your day for better or for worse?
I was surprised by how many people enjoyed the ceremony. We incorporated Latin American ceremony traditions, such as the lasso and arras, which our guests enjoyed to seeing and which also meant a lot to us. One thing that I wish I could change would be ensuring that the church coordinator closed the front door prior to my walking down the aisle. The coordinator had started to close the door as I was standing at the top of the aisle, but some guests arrived late and re-opened the door. The opened door caused there to be a lot of light behind me so my husband couldn't really see me until I almost all the way down the aisle.
Would you make the same decisions again?
I will never regret having had the traditional church ceremony. Yes, it can be costly and more difficult to plan, but if it's important to you as a couple then it's worth doing it. If we hadn't done our wedding day ceremony in the church, we would have done a smaller ceremony during the week leading up to the wedding and we would have regretted not sharing that very special moment and experience with all our friends and family. Don't let the logistics scare you. If you and your fiancé want to do the ceremony in the church with your dress and all of your loved ones, then do it. When you look back on it you'll be glad that you did it!
*Most Catholic Churches do not allow the use of any pre-recorded music within the church, and some require the use of their organist. We felt that the organ by itself sounded a bit harsh, so we choose to also add a string trio to the mix for the ceremony music.
Photo from Nugen Media