Data Shows Only a Quarter of Wedding Ceremonies in 2016 Were Held in a Church

When Monique Pope was engaged, she had no doubt that the wedding ceremony would be in her Catholic parish.

“It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Pope, who married her husband Mike in October 2012. “When you walk into St. Anthony you’re just overcome by the beauty and the splendor of the church.”

Marrying in St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church in Wichita meant marrying in a church and a faith she had a close connection to, Pope said.

Yet Pope and her husband are among a decreasing number of American couples who have their wedding ceremony in a church.

Only 26 percent of couples had their wedding ceremony in a religious institution in 2016, according to data from The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study. That’s down from 41 percent in 2009.

The Knot surveyed nearly 13,000 U.S. brides and grooms, finding that weddings in farms, barns and ranches had gone up, along with weddings in historic buildings and homes. Other popular venues are beach houses, public gardens, wineries and museums.

Weddings in Wichita

The trend seems to hold true for Wichita, according to both brides and people who work in the wedding industry.

“I think couples are realizing that especially within the Christian denominations they can get married and their pastor can come to them at a different location,” said Ashley Moore, founder of Events and Design by Ashley. “We don’t honestly do church weddings much anymore.”

Events and Design by Ashley has worked on about 30-40 weddings in the past year – and with the exception of Catholic weddings, Moore can only think of about two that were held in a church last year.

Increasingly, weddings are defined by the couple’s personality, Moore said. Brides want the ceremony to be in a beautiful location, whereas some more modern churches have plainer aesthetics, she said.

Another factor is that many churches now have Saturday evening services, making the sanctuary unavailable for Saturday evening weddings, Moore said.

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The Wichita Eagle