Ellie
Devoted January 2020

1 Ceremony or 2 Ceremonies?

Ellie, on August 15, 2019 at 9:08 AM Posted in Wedding Ceremony 0 31
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We had our wedding timeline laid out for 1 stop venue with our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception taking place there. However, my FH who is Catholic (I'm non-denom) realized that he really wanted our marriage to be recognized by the church. Originally that’s what I wanted too but because of logistics (most of our guests will be coming from out of town) we settled on just the hotel/venue.


My FH decided to look into it though and honestly the preparation process has made me really step back and realize how big and amazing of a step we’re taking instead of just feeling like I’m planning a really expensive party where I get to wear a tiara! Now we’re trying to decide if we should have an immediate family only ceremony Friday evening at the church and then do a second ceremony on Saturday as planned. Or whether we should have one ceremony at the church followed by the reception at the venue.


We both feel sentimental about the idea of having one ceremony, but we’re worried about how much it will inconvenience our out of town guests, since the latest we’d be able to have the wedding at the church would be 3:30pm and of course hotel check-ins are usually around 3pm. Then I’d have to move the timeline of the reception to end at 10pm vs. the originally planned midnight. However, if I do the ceremony on Friday, I feel like I will have to spend money on another dress (even if simpler), hair, makeup, photographer, and etc. Only to do the same thing again the very next day which just feels weird to do. We would be exchanging the same rings twice... And of course we're dealing with a variety of opinions. Any ideas! 1 or 2?

31 Comments

Latest activity by Vicky, on August 17, 2019 at 11:36 PM
  • Hannah
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
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    I would go with the 1 ceremony. Have the ceremony at the church, then cocktail hour and reception at the venue. See if the hotel can offer early check in (I was able to check into my hotel at 1pm even though check-in time was 3:30pm). Why would you have to move the end time of the reception? You can always just have a longer reception, assuming you booked the venue for x number of hours.
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  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
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    I would do one ceremony at the church on your original wedding date. Many guests may choose to arrive the day before, that's what we typically do for out of town weddings. Having two ceremonies is going to be inconvenient for your immediate family and whoever else is invited to the church ceremony. It's also going to cause hurt feelings for those who are traveling and will only be invited to your celebration of marriage and not your real ceremony.

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  • Danielle
    Master June 2019
    Danielle ·
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    I would do one ceremony and one reception on the same day. If the church ceremony is important to y'all, then do that one...but do it on the same day as the reception.

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  • Sara
    Super October 2019
    Sara ·
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    I second the one ceremony plan. Doubling up might be more convenient schedule-wise, but it seems stressful, costly, and inconvenient for guests. I'd definitely look into early check-ins at your hotel(s).

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  • Ivy ORP
    VIP October 2019
    Ivy ORP ·
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    I'm going to go against other suggestions here. I don't see a problem with two ceremonies, but only if that feels right for you. Some may want to be there for your church wedding and will make arrangements to be there. My FW and I are going to be legally married on our anniversary in our favorite local town by a friend who is a Christian minister. (She's Christian, I'm Pagan) We plan to only have our sons with us, which we said that was all we needed. Since we also want to celebrate with our friends and family, we will have a handfasting ceremony by a friend of ours from the pagan community. We are being very open with our guests that we will be legally married by the time of this ceremony but no one seems bothered by that at all. For us it is the best way to combine both belief systems, have the private ceremony we wanted, but also celebrate with loved ones. Again, it comes down to what feels right for the two of you.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    Thank you so much for your response. Originally the venue ceremony was gonna start at 6:30pm (though I had considered moving it up an hour) but because of the distance of the church we looked into isn't too far away if it ends at about 4pm we didn't want a 2 hour gap between that an cocktail hour. So the thought it is to move it to 5 or 4:30pm. I think if we can get people checked in early that'll solve most of the stress for us.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    Yeah I definitely see it being inconvient to some degree for sure. I think my FH and I want one ceremony it's just the concerns about whether it would be insanely inconvient for our out of town guests.

    We're just dealing with so many contending opinions, complaints, and shrieks about the wedding being ruined or "ghetto" if people have to go from the church to the venue and so on.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    Yeah that's definitely the way we're leaning. Even though we have to restructure some things we like the idea of having one ceremony. I think he and I are pretty united on that front, we're just stressed out about out of town guests.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    I'm definitely going to look into the early check-in thing because that seems to be the biggest issue with doing it all on one day! Thank you!

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  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
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    By "ghetto" I'm assuming you mean trashy, although that's an extremely rude term to use, there's nothing wrong with having two venues. That's how every single church wedding I've been to has worked.

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  • Danielle
    Master June 2019
    Danielle ·
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    What about the out of town guests has you stressed?

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    That's a very sweet way to make sure both your faiths are represented and I definitely see the beauty in the intimacy of a ceremony with just family. I can view the 2 ceremonies in that lens if I think about it but I know for my FH he feels differently about it which I get because he feels like the suggestion of 2 ceremonies (from others) didn't come from a desire of us having a private intimate ceremony so much as not wanting to ruin the original vision of what the day before we considered doing a church ceremony... but he's willing to do whatever makes sense in the end.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    Believe me I know it was extremely rude and disheartening and really did nothing but add on to the overall stress I'm dealing with trying to sort things out. I agree with you there's nothing "ghetto" about it especially considering I'm pretty sure that's how Duchess Kate / Megan did their weddings. Doubt anyone considers those weddings ghetto... but this is the kind of attitudes I'm running into from some relatives primarily on my side because I'm considering changing the 1 venue for everything to the church + venue for reception. And it has me thinking is it really that inconvient?

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  • T
    Dedicated September 2019
    Teresa ·
    • Flag

    I'm not sure how much time you have to actually make any scheduling changes. If you've already printed invitations and confirmed with venues then i'd suggest doing a Catholic ceremony for close family either a day or two days before the hotel ceremony. Or you can do it the morning after...that's up to you. You can also have a deacon come to the hotel and do a formal blessing. It's not as official as a church wedding but it may be a worthy compromise.

    Just a note planning a Catholic Ceremony takes some time too...so if you do decide to scrap the ceremony in the hotel give yourselves ample time to go through the steps required of doing a Catholic Wedding.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    Thanks for your response! We still have some time to switch things up, only because January is such an unpopular time for weddings. Haven't gotten to the invitations yet because we're stuck trying to decide on this but once we do that's next on the to-do list. I'll definitely look into your suggestions and get some feedback from my FH as well.

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  • 2d Bride
    Champion October 2009
    2d Bride ·
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    You may also want to talk to your priest. My understanding is that the Catholic church typically does not want you having a second ceremony, because it suggests that the Catholic ceremony is not enough.

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  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    So in my culture it is normal to have multiple ceremonies on the wedding day. We call them tea ceremonies in addition to the usual church ceremonies. I don't know what your timeline looks like but it could be something like 1p Catholic ceremony. Gap in between. 330p regular ceremony. I mean not everyone has to go to the Catholic ceremony right?
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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    Yeah see this is the sort of sentiment my FH has as well about 2 ceremonies which I completely get. We both feel like once we have a church ceremony plus they are doing the legal stuff, we'll officially be married...and we're sentimental that way too. The venue ceremony would almost be like a faux ceremony just for the sake of giving guests a show except it would have the date that we wanted for our actual wedding. It's just some people feel like it'll be easier for guests that way. We're just weighing what we feel and what will be better or easier for guests and it's hard to decide on that since many will be coming into town. Hence the stress, but I do think in the end I feel like maybe we should just do what we feel is right...which is 1 ceremony and everything on 1 day. I guess I'm needing some reassurance that it's not totally crazy to do it that way as some seem to be suggesting.

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  • Ellie
    Devoted January 2020
    Ellie ·
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    That's an interesting way of doing things! I'm always curious about the different ways people celebrate weddings because I know other cultures do, do multple weddings. I was wondered how that worked.

    I guess the only issue is I feel like my FH would feel like his faith was somehow being diminished in a way in that the Catholic ceremony would seem like the optional / aka unimportant one which I think is his sticking point with the 2 ceremonies thing which I get. Sometimes I wonder if we shoulda just eloped, haha.

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  • Ivy ORP
    VIP October 2019
    Ivy ORP ·
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    I think many people still see the ceremony and reception to be in different places. While many couples are doing all in one, there is something to be said for that classic church wedding and the drive to the reception. Whatever you choose, I hope your day is magical.

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