Help! The Whole Congregation Wants to Come to the Wedding!

by Brenda

How big will your guest book be?

How big will your guest book be?

Our daughter is getting in married to the son of our preacher.

Our church holds about 200, and just inviting family and close friends, we will fill the church.

How do we handle church members who will expect to come when we cannot possibly accomodate our congregation.

We realize that they want to have a special part of this event, but our church membership is about 400, and if even 25% come, that is totally not in our budget.

Answer by Diane:

Hello Brenda,

Welcome to the site and thanks for asking your question.

First of all, congratulations on the upcoming nuptials up your daughter and her fiancé.

This is definitely a time to be happy and it sounds like your congregation also would really like to participate in the wedding.

I'm just wondering, if it would be possible just to accommodate some of the members of the congregation during the church ceremony service, so that they still feel a part of the day.

I would definitely make sure invited family members and friends are properly seated in the church prior to any congregational members who would like to attend.

One great way to do this is by having certain church pews decorated so that everyone would know that they're reserved and you can even put on a little reserved sign at the end of the pews.

If you wouldn't want to do that, you could also have enough ushers on hand to individually seat all guests, making sure that invited guests are given priority seating.

I'm also wondering, if it would be possible for the minister to make an announcement to the congregation saying that he recognizes the happiness and joy of the congregation with the marriage of his son to your daughter, but must point out that space is limited and therefore, they could not be guaranteed a seat at the ceremony.

I don't think extra people at the ceremony would cost you anything, so I can't see that taking a toll on your budget.

As for the reception, if a guest wasn't formally invited, then it would be rudeness on their part to invite themselves.

If both sides have already agreed on an invited guest list, then those on the list are invited to the reception and ONLY those.

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Dec 31, 2011
how to manage
by: Anonymous

Two suggestions:

1. I am in a similar situation and we are going to make/email an announcement that the "congregation" (in may case, students/families at our religious school) are invited to the ceremony, though the reception will be limited to close friends, family, and those helping out. More people watching the wedding is typically Free!

2. If your church physically can't hold all of the people, (and you are obviously tied to that church), consider offering an alternative event that the congregation can participate in: maybe a prayer-service the week or two before or after the wedding. Or maybe the bride and groom can share their "testimonies" at a Sunday service (depending on the type of church). Or maybe you can simply have an after-church cake and punch event or even a potluck in honor of the new bride and groom on their first Sunday back after the honeymoon. The potluck means you don't have to pay, and a happy congregation will be thrilled to bring food and celebrate. This is also easy if your church has a hall or gym for such gatherings.

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