• John C. Richards, Jr.

Wedding Planning Adventures: The Venue

Updated: Apr 30


I am not that guy. I thought I'd be that guy, but I'm not. You know, the groom to be who just wants to show up and say, "I do." Through this entire process, I've come to realize that this day is way too important to us for me to be that guy. Some guys may find being involved in the wedding planning process emasculating. Instead, I find it fulfilling. When Sheridan smiles as we ride down the freeway to visit a vendor for the wedding together, I realize that it is all very worth it. And in many ways, it affirms me as a man. So to all you dudes out there who think that participating in wedding planning is for the birds, a bit of advice, brownie points are collected in bunches when you are interested in the process. On the real, a brother has collected enough to last for at least two years. Today I wanted to share with you another highlight/lowlight of the planning process: Location, Location, Location.


The Venue


One of our first questions: Where do we want to get married? Church, beach, Vegas ;), garden...Well, that's easy enough. We're both seminary students and actively involved in ministry. It had to be a church, hands down. Besides, my people back home are quite traditional (i.e. weddings take place in churches...period).


Even with that in mind, Sheridan and I really wanted our ceremony to be more than that. In fact, I cringe at the idea of calling it a ceremony. We sat down one day and determined that we wanted our marriage to be a worship experience for all. Many people tend to overlook the overarching purpose and focus of a wedding. That purpose is worship. Worship is always God-directed. In the context of marriage, it involves worshipping God as a community of faith for bringing two lives together. Not only that, the attendees, by their mere attendance, are affirming their commitment to support the couple in prayer. So for us, receiving an RSVP back means that we have people who are dedicating themselves to praying for us, our future together, and our future ministry. It should have nothing to do with taking a vacation to visit California, enjoying the four-course meal, or dancing the night away (although, we will be dancing something serious...note on our "somethin' serious" playlist to come). It's much bigger than that. That's why we've decided to have our wedding ceremony at a church.


Rejected


Easy enough, right? Wrong!! Although Sheri and I are involved in ministry, the facility our church is located in would not accommodate the number of people we have invited. We thought, "Cool, we'll just find a church in the area." Man, we called like fifty-eleven places. So many rules and regulations. "You have to be married by our pastor." Ummmm, I don't know that dude. "You have to be members at our church." Ummmm, I'm not joining your church just to get married...sorry. Don't get me wrong, I understand the regulations in place. Like I said, marriage is serious. But, we weren't two people coming in off the street. We were ministers ourselves!!! Thank God for His sovereignty.


Our Sanctuary


The fiftieth-twelfth (I made that up) place we looked at was available. And we could use our own minister. The facility was immaculate. It's amazing how things start falling into place when you feel you've reached your last option. Oftentimes, your last option is God's first priority. Y'all don't here me on that. Let me stop preaching. Okay, so when I tell you this place is off the chain. Huge organ with pipes running up to cathedral ceiling, stain-glassed windows, the works. We also found out that Erica Campbell from Mary Mary and her husband Warren were married there several years back. I sure wish she would come back and sing for us. No really, we are elated that God would care enough about us to have strategically ordered our steps to lead us to such a wonderful place of worship for our ceremony. We can't wait!!!! I still have a few more issues to write about, so stay tuned as I give you my take on the whole wedding planning process.


Oftentimes, your last option is God's first priority.
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