I'm Catholic and Didn't Get Married in a Church For This Reason

When my husband and I got engaged, we entertained the idea of getting married in the church. After all, we were both raised Catholic. Up until high school, he attended a Catholic private school. And I started every Sunday with mass and then picked a Catholic university.

Charla Storey Photography

There was no way around it. We were engulfed in religion.

It was the primary reason we were even considering incorporating the ritual in our wedding day. Even though during our two-year relationship, and one-year engagement we had never attended mass as a couple, we felt like it was something we had to do.

So we began calling churches to inquire about pricing. I was shocked to discover our first pick required a $1,200 mandatory donation for 45-minute use of the church (more than 10 times the cost of our wedding venue for the evening). And from there, our options got less and less attractive.

A wedding symbolizes the start of a life together. The planning process is one of the first official steps in working as a team, and deciding what's best for you as a couple. Getting married in a church is a beautiful tradition, but we had to look at our options objectively to decide if this was something worth sacrificing for and potentially going over budget for.

We decided it wasn't.

Elizabeth Messina

The church had played no part in our relationship. We honored and respected the traditions held by family and friends, but realized we had to make a choice between what we 'should do' and what was right for us. For us, that meant promising to honor, love and respect each other every day. A pledge requiring work from both parties and not a religious deity to do the heavy lifting for us.

It was not a decision made out of spite or as a protest statement. But rather as a practical look at our finances and interactions with our religion. Not everyone was thrilled and it took time for some people to accept our decision. But ultimately, upon hearing our explanation, everyone understood our approach to the situation and welcomed it wholeheartedly. It helped that we were paying for most of the wedding ourselves, because it gave us the liberty to do what we wanted.

In the end, it all worked out. We got married without any church drama or protests. And that's in large part because we analyzed the situation and did what was best for our relationship.

Family members still ask if one day I'll get married by the church. Being Mexican and Catholic is part of my identity so the answer is yes. One day it'll happen when we're ready, not when someone tells us to.

Style Me Pretty Contributor - Ximena N. Larkin is a writer and publicist. She lives in Chicago with her husband and dog.