Paso Robles Weddings: Going to the Chapel

Melissa Fitzpatrickby Valerie Gilliss

Whew! We just had an awesome bridal fair at the Paso Robles Inn this month, and had so much fun meeting all the newly engaged couples (we hope you were one of them!). During our conversations we noticed a few interesting trends.

One was the HUGE range of colors that you ladies are considering for your weddings. This follows the trend towards personalizing your wedding, and while it's harder for us to design a bridal fair booth with general appeal, it also makes our job as your wedding designers a lot more fun! We love customizing and designing to your unique taste, and are excited at the prospect of working with everything from a peacock theme, to a rustic barn with full fall foliage. THE trend of 2012 is YOU.

The other interesting trend we noticed was a return to the church. Over the past 3 years we've had very few church weddings, with our couples choosing to exchange vows at their reception venue instead. However, this wedding expo gave us a great sampling of many different wedding visions and a large number included a traditional ceremony at church. Our guess is that current fixation with all things beautiful, antique, and vintage is well suited to the setting of church ceremonies.

If you too are considering "Going to the Chapel", check out our tips below.


Church weddingHow much room does your church have for your guests? Too little, and you have to cut your guest list, or only invite a portion of your guests to the ceremony and the entire group to the reception. Too big, and your ceremony and décor will be dwarfed by the space. Look for a balance – large enough for your guest count, plus a little extra room for your photographer and coordinators to navigate without disturbing the ceremony.

Marriage Prep Requirements

Many churches require pre-marriage counseling, classes and/or retreats. We are HUGE advocates for this (even if you're not getting married in a church!) but this can be time consuming, and may entail extra expenses. In addition, if you and your fiancé are not of the same religion or have been previously married, your church may place additional requirements or restrictions on you. If you are hoping to get married in a church, make sure you ask about the pre-marriage requirements and start working on them sooner rather than later – you don't want to be working on homework the week before your wedding!

Dress Code

While most churches have adjusted to our casual society (and the resulting attire), some maintain strict dress codes that will vary both between religions, and individual churches. In my opinion, the dress code shouldn't deter you from celebrating your marriage in a place of worship, but it is something you need to respectfully consider during the planning process.


Churches provide many services to many groups, and your wedding might be squeezed in-between Fitzpatrick 2a morning rummage sale and evening service, or even backed up to another wedding! Make sure that you have plenty of time for the setup, ceremony, photos, and cleanup! There can also be annual scheduling conflicts that could be easily avoided if you are flexible on your date. Most religions have seasonal celebrations and times of fasting, so make sure you check for conflicts before booking your date.

Dealing with the logistics of church weddings, really isn't very difficult, especially if you start the process with open eyes and a well thought out plan (or a wedding planner!). 

Photo credit to: Melissa Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick Studios (1st and 3rd photo).

Valerie Gilliss is a wedding coordinator and co-owner of Lavender Blue Events. Her company specializes in designing and coordinating custom weddings in Paso Robles and across the Central Coast. Follow her blog for the latest wedding trends, planning tips, and etiquette advice.

I love the idea of getting married at Paso Robles. Thanks for posting about it. :)
Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:02pm