You finally got the “This is it” feeling after visiting several churches. You got so excited you paid the 50% down payment right away only to find out later on that they don’t actually allow reciting personal wedding vows during the ceremony, that one non-negotiable thing for you. Now what? Cancel your reservation and find another church? How about the 50% non-refundable down payment? That would have been enough to pay for a really nice wedding shoes.
So to save time, money and effort, here are some questions you may want to ask the parish officer before booking them.
1. What are the inclusions of the package?
Priest and Stipend – Is the officiating priest included? If yes, do I still give him stipend, considering that I have settled the full amount to parish whose package indicated “priest included”.
Flower Arrangement – If the flyer says “basic flower arrangement”, please do ask for a photo of an actual set up. Or better yet see an actual wedding in that church. You wouldn’t want to settle for the “basic flowers” and end up having just ferns and fillers and a few small buds on your aisle come your wedding day. Now if this is not part of the package, ask them if you can hire any florist to set up the church flowers, as some churches have accredited florist and only they can set up. Also, inquire how many hours or minutes are allowed for supplier ingress should they allow you to outsource a florist.
Pianist/ Soloist/ Choir – Ask which part of the ceremony is covered in the package. Some churches have pianist and/or soloists for the entire mass only, not covering the part of the pictorial and recessional. Also, ask for the point person’s contact number so you can coordinate your songs directly with them. If this is not provided, ask if you may hire any musician and if the sound system requirement would also be supplied by the parish.
Ushers/ Usherettes – Though it is a trend nowadays to hire a coordinator, it would also be convenient if there is a point person from the church who would assist the coordinators during the ceremony should a problem arise (i.e mics not working or the gate to the choir area is closed). If there aren’t any ushers provided, will there be a go-to person should urgent assistance is needed.
Lectors/ Commentators – Most churches require the client to provide their own lectors and commentator, while others already got this in the package.
2. Can we have special effects? – Sure we’d like our wedding to be memorable and unique and picturesque, hence the special effects. But before we get so excited with the fireworks during recessional please do ask them if you may have this at their church.
Closed Door – Some churches charge clients for closing the doors for the bride’s entrance. Yes I know it may sound unreasonable, but if their doors are too old and big and heavy, they may need to pay someone to do that, otherwise your petite coordinators would look tormented in the video while she tries her best to open the door for you.
Petals, Confetti, Bubbles, Butterflies – They look really nice in the picture but if you’d be required to clean up afterwards, you may want to opt to not throw anything 🙂 Bubbles, butterflies, balloons, or ribbon on sticks are your other best options
Sky Lanterns and Fireworks – Some cities and municipalities would require you to secure a permit from the Bureau of Fire Protection for these kind of special effects. Check with the church if they are covered by such policy.
3. Are there other (Hidden) charges – The word “hidden” is indicated because there are a few churches that will deliberately have you settle the full payment for the package first before they disclose the “other charges” like per socket charge for electricity, per light unit fee, per ID fee for your photo/ video and coordinator’s team and the list goes on and on. So make sure you ask right away if there’s anything else you need to pay for other that the standard wedding package.
4. Is there a limit for the number of entourage members? – Don’t forget to ask this if you don’t want cutting a few names from the list the last minute. Also ask for the age limit for flower girls and bearers. This way if the minimum age is 6, you have a very good reason to refuse your neighbor who has volunteered her daughter to be one of your flower girls.
5. What can my entourage wear for the ceremony? – Dress code should not only be imposed to entourage members but to guests as well. No need to follow your color scheme, just something appropriate for the event. Of course, we know backless and see-throughs are not allowed, but what actually is their limit to this. How low is the low neckline and how short is a short dress for them.
6. How about…? – These are other items that may or may not be a big deal to couples. It’s your call whether to ask these questions or not. But I guess it wouldn’t hurt if you would.
Bringing your own priest to officiate the event – Do they allow this or not? What are the requirements or documents that you need to prepare to make this happen?
Requested songs – Can you request for any song from the provided musician? Do they allow non-liturgical songs to be played during the bridal march?
Personal Vows – As the name says, it gives your event that personal touch and this is actually one of the moments your guests are waiting for and probably the moment you have been dreaming about, so ask them if you’d be allowed to have a short personal vow for each other.
Offertory – Ask if you are required to offer goods. Inquire for their preferred list of offerings if there’s any.
As for the documents needed, these are given so we didn’t include it in the list, because you would really have to be clear about these otherwise, there won’t be any wedding if you don’t get the requirements right, as simple as that.
So there goes our long list of questions for your parish officer. This maybe a long read, but you’ll definitely have a stress free event if you have taken care of all these important items prior to your event.