Weddings are expensive, y'all. Between the cost of the dress, caterer, drinks, decorations, flowers, photographer, invitations, venue, and more, everything can add up fast. It's enough to make anyone want to call it a day and say "I do" on a playground if they have to. But if you and your partner are religious, and you've considered tying the knot somewhere meaningful to your faith, the cost of a church wedding can be refreshingly attainable. In fact, it might just make you reconsider that expensive, rustic barn venue you've been eyeing.
The cost of a church wedding can vary depending on where you live and the church you want to get married in, but on average, it's cheaper than something like a country club or hotel ballroom. "The average cost of having a ceremony in a [church] really depends on the church," Kia Martinson, owner of ESTOccasions in West Hartford, Connecticut, tells Elite Daily. "Most of them consider it a donation to the church and it can range anywhere between a few hundred dollars to up to thousand, depending on where in the country you are getting married." Compared to lavish, often overpriced, hourly venue fees, $1,000 isn't a huge price point.
According to WeddingWire, most couples spend between $3,000 and $11,000 on their ceremony and reception venues. But, if you consider a church wedding, you only really have to pay for the reception venue in addition to your $1,000 church donation (again, depending on the church). That's not to say a church wedding won't incur additional costs other than the donation. "The other thing to think about is what is covered with that donation, sometimes you may need to pay for the organist to be there as well and any other church-related fees," Martinson explains. "It is always a good idea to ask what is covered by the donation and what is required as an extra." Additionally, you will probably still have to fork up the cost of the dress, food, decor, DJ, and any other reception elements you'd like to include. Again, expensive.
If you find a church with a smaller wedding donation fee, you might have a lot more wiggle room, budget-wise. One chapel in Denton, Texas, The Little Chapel In The Woods, charges only $600 for a wedding. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Northeast United Methodist Church only charges a $200 deposit. If you want to cut costs on your wedding day, a church wedding may be the way to go.
Additionally, you can still have your reception at another location to create the aesthetic you want, without such a hefty price tag. After all, you're paying for fewer hours. "It can be a good thing for your wedding timeline to have the ceremony in a church allowing time for your venue to be ready for you," says Martinson.
However, if you do choose to have your ceremony at a church and your reception at a separate venue, you should ready your guests with all the logistical details, because "it is another location and moving large groups of people between locations gives more opportunity for someone to be late," Martinson explains. Make sure your formal wedding invitation lists all the information your guests will need, including accurate addresses for both venues, recommended lodging and transportation methods, and more. Give guests plenty of time to go from point A to point B.
If you go to church regularly, grew up in a certain church, or are close to a church community, a religious wedding can be lovely and meaningful. At the end of the day, you and your partner know what's best for you, whether that's a church wedding, a lavish event venue, or a Las Vegas elopement. There is no wrong answer.