The thing most people are surprised about when they ask about the wedding is that we’ll be getting married in a church.
I guess church wedding’s aren’t as common these days. Especially for couples that appear as “nontraditional” as me and Jack. People see the dreadlocks, assume I’m a hippy, and never think that a hippy would get married in a church.
In truth, not even I was convinced I’d get married in a church. Years earlier I would have told you I’d be a hypocrite if I got married in a church because I wasn’t religious, and I’d had mini fantasies of getting married in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion because, let’s face it, it’s stunning and as equally beautiful as Buckingham Palace.
Image via brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk
But the Pavilion has it’s downside…the room in which all marriage ceremonies take place holds only 40 guests, and there was something else that wasn’t quite right about it that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Something in my mind changed, though, when I walked into a book sale in the church down the road from our house. It was huge. And beautiful. And it made me mouth “wow” when I looked around it. But that was over a year earlier and I hadn’t really thought about it since, I mean, I didn’t want a church wedding.
But when we got engaged, it became clear just how important a church wedding was to Jack. He had quite a religious upbringing and to him it didn’t feel like a wedding if it wasn’t in a church. He firmly stood his ground with me on this one, and I thought about that church again.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, and that Sunday we decided to go to a service to see for ourselves what it would be like in there when it wasn’t covered in books. I have never been so nervous in my entire life as I was walking in there at 10:00 AM one Sunday morning. I thought the people there would be like dogs smelling fear—they would be able to sense I wasn’t one of them! I sat at the back quietly and listened awkwardly to the service. But something happened to me in that hour. I listened to the sermon and I laughed, thought, and considered what was being said. The Vicar spoke about normal things, like his daughter’s birthday party and what he’d watched at the cinema the night before. It wasn’t at all what I thought church was going to be like, and it surprised me in the best way possible.
We continued to go to church every Sunday for the next few weeks, and I heard about a coffee morning they were having one Saturday. So I baked a cake and took it down! They were delighted I’d decided to help, and it felt great doing something for a community that I’d never even known existed on my doorstep.
I began to feel better and less guilty about getting married there, and then one Sunday as I entered the church, I started walking to the back row and I realised what it was about the Pavilion room that had unsettled me so—the aisle. Or should I say the lack of an aisle—the entrance to the room was at the side and there was a tiny walk down past a couple of guests and then along the front. I just couldn’t get over it. The “walking down the aisle with my dad” bit was a huge factor to me, and immediately I changed my mind about what I wanted. Jack was right—church it had to be.
I mentioned it was beautiful, right? Royal Pavilion or not, I think this church definitely has the “wow” factor, don’t you think?
Image via Beyond
Did anyone else go the church route when they initially thought they wouldn’t? What do you think you’d have done if you lived in a place where you couldn’t legally get married outside, like England?