Yes, Your Church Has Wedding Guidelines and Restrictions

photo credit: marcp_dmoz via photopin cc

photo credit: marcp_dmoz via photopin cc

You’re in the planning stages of your wedding preparation, and have envisioned the most beautiful ceremony.  You are asking the vendors all the questions and sharing your ideas, but have you spoken to the church Officiant?  Have you given thought to the actual wedding ceremony? Do you know the church’s restrictions/guidelines?

Ask your church if they allow wedding aisle decor like this or pew bows.


Many couples aren’t aware that the churches have guidelines, and these guidelines could affect your plans.  You don’t want to wait until the final week or the day of the wedding to findout what you can or cannot do in your church.  When you meet with the Officiant to select the date of your wedding, make sure they give you the sheet with the guidelines/restrictions.  If they don’t have anything in writing, ensure that you ask them what can or cannot be done during the wedding ceremony and take notes.  Whether you are considering getting married at the church you attend or at a church you have always envisioned to have your wedding, consider the following:

Basic church guidelines:

  • Pre-Marital Counseling/Meetings
  • Pre-Wedding Preparation Classes
  • Church fees
  • Music/Organist reserved


Other (sample) church guidelines:

  • No confetti/rice
  • Birdseed, bubbles or rose petals allowed outside only or not at all
  • Flower Décor only
  • No décor allowed
  • Insurance
  • Vendor must sign agreement with church
  • Age restrictions for flower girl or ring bearer (e.g. must be older than 5 years old)
  • Photography flash restrictions for photographer and/or guests during wedding ceremony
  • Videographer restriction to be stationary
  • No candelabras in the aisle
  • Wedding Party attire must be appropriate (e.g. no shoulders exposed for bridesmaids)
  • No décor on pews (pew bows)
  • Allowed time to set up prior to ceremony
  • Only fresh flowers allowed in Altar area
  • Interfaith or commitment ceremonies not allowed
  • Wedding Planners not allowed to lead lineup during rehearsal or day of wedding
  • Designate someone to ensure all items that are set up and removed immediately after the ceremony.
  • And the list goes on.

It is important to find out all the information you need to plan a successful and beautiful ceremony.  You don’t want to find out the day of the wedding that the draping you want from pew to pew is not allowed.  You not only loose the vision you dreamed of, but money as well.  If you are working with a wedding planner from outside the church, you may be informed that the planner cannot direct any rehearsal or day of lineup.

Important Note: Please consider the architecture of the church before bringing in too much décor.  Some churches are beautiful just “as is”, especially some of the older churches.


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  1. Marilyn Lockwood

    Brides may be under the impression that the planner will verify these issues Jacqueline, so it’s important that bride and planner have that conversation.

    Many couples may not realize that they have the option of getting married by a professional officiant. The service of an officiant frees you of many of the restrictions of a traditional church and you can still have a spiritual or God centered ceremony.

    For couples without a church, a professional wedding minister offers a non-judgmental, non-denominational ministry that will allow you to express your spirituality in a very personal way and doesn’t limit you to a city hall wedding.

  2. Jacqueline

    I agree Marilyn, if a couple decides to hire a wedding planner the planner should explain this process, but sometimes couples opt out of hiring a wedding planner or they decide to hire a wedding planner to only coordinate the flow wedding day.

    Also the services of a minister outside the church offers so many different options for couples these days, that they can opt to not do their ceremony at a church or city hall. They can have their ceremony at the beach, historical site, museums, catering hall, etc.

  3. Writing By Terri

    It’s so funny that you post this now. As a bridesmaid, in an upcoming wedding in Trinidad, I’m currently experiencing retrictions. A family member is getting married in August and chose beautiful strapless gowns for the bridal party. She recently found out that the Seventh Day Adventist church won’t allow uncovered shoulders during the ceremony. For a while, we were all scouring stores looking dresses with either sleeves or a bolero jacket that was moderately priced.

  4. Top Wedding Sites

    Don’t get rid of the bridesmaids’ dresses if they were already purchased. Just find some lightweight cover-ups like a beautiful pashmina or shawl. They make nice bridesmaids gifts too.

  5. Jacqueline

    I definitely agree, don’t get rid of the dresses. You need not spend a lot to cover up since it’s only for the ceremony which won’t last long. Thanks for your comment, there are so many details involved in wedding planning that needs attention.

  6. haydee9

    In our church there are strict guidelines for the ceremony including the kinds of songs to be sung and the gown of the bride. Outside wedding singers or choir are also not allowed.

  7. Marilyn Lockwood

    Like I mentioned, I don’t think many couples realize the option of a professional minister or officiant is open to them. The sky’s the limit!

  8. Writing By Terri

    New dresses were already selected. The problem was that it was difficult finding cover ups that were modestly priced and were able to ship international. I am the only bridesmaid living in the US and the only one with immediate access to the original dress. All the other girls lived in Trinidad so on top of dress alterations, the actual dress, and a cover up, they had to cover shipping costs.

    It was all getting a little too pricey for the bridesmaids living in Trinidad and it would’ve been too much for me collect all the dresses and take them with me when I traveled for the wedding. Hence the reason, new dresses were selected entirely. Luckily for me, the new dress selected is much cheaper than the original dress and comes with a cover up.

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