On Finding a Church, Part 1

Despite the fact that Mr. Manatee had very clear intentions of being married in a church, he didn’t really have any specifications of which church. Spoiler alert: This was the first time his mother and I had ever actually butt heads over anything. She wanted us to get hitched in a gorgeous church in his hometown (Southlake) that they attended on occasion, and I had my eye on a church about two blocks down from our reception location. Both of these churches were Methodist, but that’s pretty much where the comparison stops. Always eager to keep the peace between Manatee-In-Law and I, I usually would have just agreed to use White Chapel. However.

SL White Chapel

There were several roadblocks between us and wedded bliss at White Chapel.

1. The DFW Connector


DFW Connector Project


Image from City Data

The connector is actually the job site that my darling fiance receives his paychecks from. It is also the biggest pain in my road-rage-prone butt. Ideally, this three billion dollar fix cleans up traffic throughout the Metroplex and eases the cluster-truck congestion in Grapevine. In reality, it just fatally confuses any GPS that attempts to navigate it and any normal driver that comes across it.This job has been going on for years, has little chance of being finished by June 1st, and skyrockets my blood pressure every time I’m behind the wheel. It is also right smack in the main roadway between White Chapel and the Sanford House, and it’s the last thing I want to involve our out of town guests in. No. Bueno.

2. It’s HUGE. Or tiny.


Image via The Phonics Fables

We had a bit of a goldilocks problem with this venue. The Sanctuary holds…wait for it…2500 people! With a guest list of around 100-120, we were going to hear crickets. The wedding consultant half-heartedly suggested we could turn off the lights in the side wings. She did tell us about a small, historic little chapel that was part of the main building, and it was so adorable! The downside…it only held 65 people, and we were restricted to three BM and GM. At that point, we each already had four, and we couldn’t imagine asking anyone to step down. The walk down the aisle was, as you can imagine, about 10 steps, and that didn’t much fit into our vision either. It sure was cute though!

White Chapel

3. It was expensive.

When I requested the information be sent over about pricing, my eyeballs just about popped out of my head. Mr. Man and I started out on this search naive to the cost of getting married in a church. We ignorantly assumed that a holy house would be so thrilled for us to tie the knot before the eyes of the Lord they would just let us slip in with a hundred people on a Saturday. Not so! The fees to use the church were as follows:

Non-members Members
Sanctuary $2,400 $1,850
Chapel $1,500 $1,000

Holy Crap! Mr. Manatee’s family, thankfully, were members, which softened the blow…But not by much! In their defense, this included a pianist and the use of the minister. However. Considering that we had (just in case) allotted a pitiful $600 in our fledgling budget for the use of a church, even the tiny chapel was wayout of our budget. The Manatees were already financially helping us and my family out with the wedding more than traditionally called for, so we weren’t about to strain our budget any further.Thankfully, Manatee-In-Law saw that I really had given it a chance, but the cons to this option couldn’t be ignored. We agreed to put White Chapel behind us.

Did you have an established church at the time of your engagement, or did you consider a few before booking a ceremony space?


Miss Manatee

Fort Worth, TX
Wedding Date:
June 2013
We Start Today: The Processional
Gallery of the Day
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  1. Member
    starrynight 896 posts, Busy bee @ 8:23 am

    I was a member of a church (I married in DFW as well) but it wasn’t the kind of place I ever saw myself getting married. So we shopped around. We didn’t have much of a choice though because our engagement was so short and booked the first church that had an opening. We’d have paid any amount of money, we just needed someplace to have the ceremony!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Lone Star, Guest @ 9:19 am

    So funny– my husband’s firm designed the DFW connector! I wonder if our guys know each other.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    HeyKaraoke, Guest @ 9:22 am

    FI is a church member, and I attend sermons with him as often as I can, but it’s definitely not the type of place I saw myself getting married. It’s just a small brick building on a crappy road in a neighborhood about 30 minutes from our reception site. Not. Happening. Luckily, there’s a college campus just 5 minutes from our reception site that has an absolutely beautiful chapel that fits 120 – perfect for our 100-person guest list. And the school lets anyone rent it, not just students/faculty/employees/alumni. So we got really lucky there! It costs $800 for 6 hours of use, which includes our set-up and tear-down time for decor, so that was a bit more than we’d wanted to spend, but for the size, the location, and the perfect look of the place, we knew it was our best option. I’m really happy with our choice!

  4. manatee Bee
    manatee 31 posts, Newbee @ 9:33 am

    @Lone Star: So funny! I’m willing to bet they do! Is he with the ‘Zachary’ side of Northgate or the ‘Kiewit’ side? Mine’s on the Kiewit side!

  5. bluewhale Bee
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 10:28 am

    $2400?!?! Just for the ceremony! That’s crazy! We didn’t look at any churches, so I had no idea they would be that expensive!

  6. manatee Bee
    manatee 31 posts, Newbee @ 11:06 am

    @Miss Blue Whale: Isnt that insane?!

  7. mspony Bee
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 11:07 am

    Holy cow! I’m all for pleasing your in laws, but I would draw the line at that kind of cost too!

  8. msdragon Bee
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 11:42 am

    Oh jeez, just seeing those traffic photos makes me shudder!

  9. Member
    FutureMrsAP 21 posts, Newbee @ 2:06 pm

    Wow! I had no idea a church ceremony cost so much! That church is beautiful, but $2500 is insane!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Lone Star, Guest @ 3:20 pm

    @Miss Manatee: Apparently both– it was a joint venture with both of them! My husband’s firm does design build, so they produced half of the construction documents. I’ve given him crap because it’s so hard to see signs to exit for DFW airport but he said signs weren’t their design. 🙂 So many different levels of people on these projects!

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