Over at the Deacon's Bench Blog, there is a rant about a church in New York and its strict wedding rules and how it turns off nominal Catholics who simply want to have a wedding in beautiful church building.
Personally, it is important to have rules for weddings because some Catholics today are so crass and lack reverence for the Church and her sacraments, much of it having to do with the casual and silly experiences they have had and only have had with the Ordinary Form of the Mass.
I do not allow "destination" weddings in my parish in Richmond Hill. There must be some connection to St. Anne Church, like living in the parish boundaries, registered or not, or family connection. Proximity to Savannah as a tourist venue doesn't cut it. The destination weddings that I have allowed have been nightmares and turns weddings into a product for the bride or her mother who approach the parish as though we were Walmart or, should I say, Neman and Marcus.
For registered parishioners, the "donation" for the Church is minimal an usually covers fees for our wedding director and the organist.
What requirements does you parish have?
You can read the Deacon's Bench Rant HERE. But my problem is with the wordiness of one aspect of this parish's rules and here is their wordiness and how I would correct it:
The use of “unity candles” is strongly discouraged. Experience has consistently demonstrated their clumsiness. For instance, they often do not light properly, or they spread wax, or they can even set other decorations on fire. More importantly, the Catholic marriage rite does not allow for such a lighting ceremony. Therefore, if desired, unity candles belong best at the wedding reception, where they can be incorporated into the first dinner blessing of the newly married couple. Floral decorations should not be extravagant. Our beautiful Gothic church needs little extra ornamentation. The priest will discuss with you the options about where the flowers can be arranged. Candles in the body of the church must be enclosed in glass globes. Due to past experiences, runners are no longer permitted.
Why give an apologetic for their rules or anticipate objections as the above "guideline" does? Just write it this way:
The "unity candle" is not a part of the Catholic wedding liturgy and is not permitted at this church.
Aisle runners are not allowed in this church.
The wedding director will discuss with you where floral arrangements may and may not be placed as well as where additional candles may or may not be placed.
Saint Anne Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia can be read HERE.