Phillip and I loved the idea of being married in a church. To us, marriage is a sacred commitment we wanted to make before God--so we followed the tradition while adding a dreamy little twist of our own.
We found Mt. Zion Church while searching for old churches in Georgia. When I saw it, I fell in love.
Here are a few tips I picked up along the way that might be helpful to remember when searching for the perfect locations:
1. Timeless vs. Trendy
When choosing a location, don't allow what's trending in the wedding world to take over your big day. In the end, you'll be glad you selected a place that speaks to your heart rather than what speaks to pinners. By choosing locations that are true to your personal style and vision, you are guaranteed to celebrate timelessly.
2. Driving Distance
Although you want your wedding to be the one of your dreams, if no one can make the trip--it won't be. Be considerate when dreaming up destination weddings. Phillip gave me a three hour rule because he thought anything further would be too much to ask. Another way you can be considerate towards your guests is by choosing a sensible time of ceremony. We chose 11:00 AM so that most of our guests would be able to make a day trip out of it, rather than having to stay in a hotel. Also, you want to make sure your reception site isn't too far from the ceremony site. This allows less of a chance of guests getting lost, and more time celebrating rather than sitting in a car. Ours ended up being only 5 minutes away, but I realize we got lucky. I would say to definitely keep it under 30 minutes travel time.
3. Venue Size
When considering a venue, be sure to keep your guest count in mind. You want to ensure there will be plenty of room for everyone. For the reception, you'll want to keep things like tables, chairs, food tables, decorations, band, dancing, etc. in mind. You will also want to make sure there is ample parking available. We almost had this problem, but with a few volunteer parking directors we avoided any possible issues.
If you're like me, staying within your budget is the most important factor. My mom has worked very hard throughout her life to provide me with the things I need, so we planned a budget and I was determined to stick to it. I have read that the venue (both ceremony and reception) cost shouldn't be more than 10% of your entire budget. We came in way under that amount since we were technically paying for lodging and the Historical Society only asked for a donation of $250.00. When you are able to save in one area you can splurge in another!
5. Keep An Open Mind
I know I stated earlier to lean towards timeless rather than trendy, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep an open mind! My mother sure had to keep an open mind when I showed her the paint-peeled walls. Pinterest can be a wonderful source to get your creative juices flowing. Who doesn't plan a wedding with the help of Pinterest these days? If you aren't getting married in your local church, then there are endless opportunities out there. Think about places you love to go together, things you like to do together, and locations that are just plain beautiful. Don't be afraid to try something different. As Mark Twain says, "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is."
I went out on a limb by asking family and friends to drive three hours to this abandoned church, I stayed well within our budget by finding unique and reasonable venues, I made sure both spaces were roomy enough to hold my guests, and I chose places that I will love at the end of every day--even when I'm ninety.
I hope this was a fun and encouraging read to help you have the wedding of your dreams.
Click HERE to read more about our wedding!
Photography: Lindsay Cox, Letters + Light