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Choosing your Rochester ceremony site

For you and your fiancee, the ceremony is the most important part of your day. It should be a reflection of the two of you, and your new life together.

The formality of your wedding

There are three options for your ceremony, although you may wish to combine some aspects of each. Your Rochester ceremony can be formal, semiformal, or informal. The degree of formality, and number of attendants, will help to determine the site of your wedding.


The bride wears a long, white or ivory gown. Bridesmaids wear floor-length gowns. Groom and attendants wear tuxedos. Bride has a maid of honor, and three to seven bridesmaids. Groom has a best man, and one usher for every 50 guests.


The bride wears a long, white or ivory gown. Bridesmaids wear floor-length gowns. Groom and attendants wear tuxedos. Bride has a maid of honor, and three to seven bridesmaids. Groom has a best man, and one usher for every 50 guests.


The bride wears white or pastel dress or suit. The bridesmaid wears a dress. Groom and his attendant wear dark suits. Bride has maid of honor. Groom has a best man.

Selecting the site

Since the bride and her family traditionally host the wedding, the ceremony is usually held at a site close to her home, or her parents’ home. The site of the ceremony should suit the style of the wedding. A very formal wedding is better suited to a cathedral than an open field.
If you do opt for an open field, prepare to spend extra time organizing the event, providing seating, etc. You should also keep in mind the number of guests. If you are having a very large wedding, a small intimate chapel may not suit you. But most of all, the site of your wedding should be someplace special to you and your fiance.
Wherever you decide upon, you should reserve your wedding date as soon as possible. Many locations are booked far in advance. Also, if it is an unusual location, make sure that everyone involved with your wedding is provided with a map so they can find it easily.

Site options

Most couples choose a church or temple for the site of their ceremony, but you don’t need to be limited to that. You can have the ceremony at the reception site; the hotel or party house. You may want to be married in the intimacy of your own or your parents’ home. You may even want a garden or outdoor wedding at a park or other scenic location.
The site may depend upon the officiant for your wedding. Some clergy will only perform a wedding ceremony within their own house of worship, and may not officiate at a wedding at an alternate site.

Choosing the clergy person

If you and your fiance are of the same faith, this may pose no large problem. If you are of different religious denominations, choose the one you are most comfortable with, or ask both of your clergy if they would co-officiate. If you can’t agree on the clergy person, consider a nondenominational church or a justice of the peace.
When you choose the clergy person, ask about any prerequisites to your marriage. Some require that you both have premarital counseling before you can be married. Ask about choices you have for the ceremony. Although religious denomination dictates many details, many may still be left up to the couple.
Remember to invite the clergy person and his or her spouse to the reception after the wedding. They should be seated at the parent’s table.

Who pays the fees

When you have decided upon a site and clergy person, ask what fees are involved. There may be a fee for the officiant, site, organist, sexton, singer, etc.
The groom traditionally pays the officiant. If the clergy has not told you the fee charged, you should consider giving him or her at least $50. Other fees, such as for the site, or others involved in the wedding, are separate from the clergy’s honorarium.
The groom may wish to make the best man responsible for actually giving the money to the officiant. An envelope with the money in it can be given to the best man, who gives it to the clergy person after the ceremony.

Questions to Ask

  • Is my wedding date available?
  • Are there other dates available near it? (Even if the church is available on the date you want, you may need to change dates to get the reception site you want as well.)
  • Is membership required?
  • Are we required to use the local clergy person?
  • What are this church’s requirements for marriage?
  • Is permission required in the case of different religions?
  • Is permission required in the case of divorce?
  • Is there time available for rehearsal?
  • What are the fees for the clergy?
  • What are the fees for the use of the site?
  • Are there any other fees?
  • When are these fees due?
  • May we write our own wedding vows? Do they need to be approved?
  • Are there special ceremonies available, such as candlelight services?
  • How many people will the site hold?
  • Does it have an organ?
  • Is an organist affiliated with the site or should I find my own?
  • Is there any restriction on the size or placement of floral arrangements?
  • What decorations are allowed (or prohibited)?
  • Where can we place decorations?
  • Do you provide the aisle runner? If so, is there a charge?
  • Are there going to be more than one wedding on my date?
  • If so, how much time is there between weddings?
  • At what time may we enter the church (to set up flowers, decorations)?
  • Is the a place for the bride and the groom to wait before the ceremony?
  • Are there restrooms available?
  • Is the site handicapped accessible?
  • Are there any restrictions on photographers, videographers during (or after) the ceremony?
  • If it rains, is there enough room indoors to greet guests?
  • Who is responsible for cleaning after the ceremony?
  • Are there restrictions on throwing confetti or bird seed?
  • Are alcoholic toasts permitted if the reception is held in the church’s hall?



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