Free Church Wedding
If you're engaged and waiting until you can afford a wedding, take this idea to the prettiest church you know. In today's news, beautiful Espoo Cathedral, in Finland, has scheduled Friday night of the Valentine's Day weekend as a "wedding night." They will open the church to perform up to 100 weddings at no charge.
Anyone with the Finnish equivalent of our marriage license can invite guests and show up to be married. They can book a time in advance or wait their turn. The weddings continue from 7 pm until 4 am.
Espoo got the idea from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Lawrence in Vantaa, who first did this last September. They wanted to encourage cohabiting couples to get married.
I have known many couples here in the U.S. who have slid into a life partnership and put off the work of planning a wedding or who have accidentally added a child to their relationship and found it impossible to afford the wedding they had hoped for.
I think there is a lot to be said for a formal ceremony and celebration of your commitment to each other (and to any kids you've created together). So, print this page and take it to the most elevating church, temple, or wedding hall in your area and suggest a local wedding night.
Then, because this is the U.S., see if you can't find a local bridal store or thrift shop with weddings gowns to loan those who want them, and a dry cleaner to get them back in shape for resale at the thrift shop, and a wholesale florist with bunches of cut flowers people can make into their own bouquets and return for others to use after them. Find a couple chamber music groups or folk guitarists to donate their services.
There must be so many more groups that could help support such an effort and perhaps benefit from the publicity surrounding the event. Who could entertain the kids while they wait to watch their parents walk down the aisle? What could be donated to help these couples remember their special evening? And what can we do to help these couples keep their commitments to each other after the wedding? Please post your ideas in the Comments section. I know I have some very creative readers.
Thanks to Diane Sollee of Smart Marriages for the heads-up on what's happening in Finland.