March 10, 2010

going to the chapel?

Anna and the ring posed an interesting argument about church weddings. I feel like I'm in a similar place but for different reasons.

Fiance and I are both believers. I was raised Catholic, though now attend a non-denominational christian church. My dad's side of the family is Catholic, but my father doesn't really practice anymore, my mom is christian and they're both really supportive of my beliefs.

Getting engaged posed a weird situation for me. Where to have the ceremony? Part of me (that people-pleasing side that i'm working on) kind of just assumed we'd get married in a catholic church. because that's what my parents did, and it would make my grandpa happy. but then I realized I didn't want to. It would definitely be a faith based ceremony, but we want it to be personal, we're all for tradition, but we want to truly believe the vows we are speaking, in the community we are making them in. I would love a church wedding, but there must be some architecture involved because a)i'm trying to minimize the amount of decor that I have to provide and b)i just love architecture, I'm an engineer and almost became an architect. so...yeah!

Well California is only about 150 years old. The town we're from is less than 50. We don't rank super high on the cool ancient architecture list. Much less pretty churches. The only pretty churches, ones that actually look like churches with stained glass and pews, are catholic. the non-catholic ones look like warehouses and gymnasiums (or actually are such), with white folding chairs and projector screens.

My parents are very supportive of our decision to not do the catholic church thankfully. They said it's our decision and it's our life. That they love us and we shouldn't be trying to make everyone else happy. In the end we shouldn't do something that we might regret.

so I did a search, because within a 20 mile radius of our hometown are some historic sites older than the state itself. But I didn't want to go too far, or too backwoodsy (We're kinda in the sticks, 20 miles south could take an hour on one lane, sometimes unmarked, curvy roads, and most of our guest are from out of town. Bad combination). So then I found the most darling little white chapel in an old gold rush town, about 20 miles north of fiance's mom's house. It had a capacity of 150 (perfect) and a rustic look. it is owned by the park service, which means we pay them money and sign a contract and we're in (sweet). So I called to get info. Stupid CA economy. Budget cuts must have affected this tiny little state park because they rent out this little 150 year old chapel for $750 for 3 hours. That seems a little excessive to me. but considering we really aren't paying a site fee for the reception, it could fit in the budget.

Then my parents drove past it to check it out. They said it kind of looks like a...dump. Great. Looks like it hasn't been painted in years. There's no landscaping, just wild brush. there's parking lot that will hold a maximum of 60 cars ("if parked correctly" we'd have to designate a parking attendent?)...but it's a block away and not paved. and the path to the church is dirt and uphill. um...February in northern california=rain. dirt+rain=mud. AND it's not handicap accessible and we've got some elderly relatives. I just don't think it's going to work out.

Unless some beautiful non-catholic church springs up out of nowhere, we're thinking of just doing the whole thing at his mom's house. They have a beautiful large living room with french doors and windows along the sides and a huge stone fireplace at one end. I'm praying it'll be big enough to hold everyone. If the weather is nice (aka not raining) then we could do it outside, but we can't count on it, it'll be a plan B.

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