catholic girl, church wedding?

Well, I use the term Catholic lightly. I may be officially confirmed, but have I been to church once voluntarily since that day? No. As for my Jewish groom, does he love Fatty Crab's Pork Belly and Watermelon Salad even more than I do? Yes. We are very much post-religious; spiritual to a degree, but not interested in organized religion. Our children (which are still far, far in the future) won't be raised either Catholic or Jewish. I don't give up anything for Lent and Mike doesn't keep kosher. Our wedding won't be tied to either religious tradition.

Now, growing up, did I just assume that I would get married in a church? Of course. In fact, I had rather lofty goals of walking down the aisle with a 10 foot train in St. Patrick's, like any Charlotte York wannabe. In fact, even after Mike and I started dating, I assumed he'd be OK getting married in a Catholic church. It really didn't even occur to me that that would be an issue for the 50 percent or so of our wedding guests that weren't down with Jesus. Obviously the longer we dated and more I got to know his family, it became obvious that a church wedding would not be doing justice to not only our own wishes as a couple, but to our extended circle of friends and family. And, to be honest, I don't really much feel like supporting the Catholic machine, being as misogynistic and conservative as they are.

What I realized was that it was much more the traditional aspect of it -- the archetypal wedding ceremony, the organ, the stained glass windows -- that was appealing to me. I just hadn't been to that many weddings during my youth that weren't in a church. But as more of our friends got engaged and then married, I saw that marriage ceremonies are most certainly not cookie cutter. And they're beautiful indoors, outdoors, in a church or even in a restaurant.

Armed with that knowledge, we did try to look for venues that would be amenable to having both the ceremony and the reception on site (For more on how we chose our venue, see this post). Insider tip: Hotels do this all the time. They are very well versed in whisking people from the ceremony to cocktail hour and then to the reception. And if there's rain, you don't even have to walk outside! And once I saw the room, which actually has stadium-like pews on either side, beautiful lighting and just overall happy energy, St. Pat's flew right out the window.

Bottom line: getting your way isn't worth it if it means upsetting everyone else. And if you take a minute to really consider what you want, you'll probably find you want your groom, your family and your friends to be just as happy on your wedding day as you.

how we picked our photographer

choosing a spot: venue vidi vici