Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The power of the purse

Meg wrote yesterday about ways to be an LGBTQ ally while planning a wedding, and I thought it was an appropriate time to talk a bit about our church and the process of finding the place we wanted to marry in.*

Part of the weirdness of this blog is that I started it a full year into our engagement, so most of you missed out on the intense decisions about locations and such, all of which happened before I started writing. Let me tell you... it's not a time I wish to revisit. D. and I do not attend church with any kind of regularity, so the challenge of finding somewhere to marry was at once wide open and surprisingly limited. We needed to find a space that would take us for this ceremony, even without membership, but also somewhere that fit what we (as non-church goers) wanted out of a church wedding. The decision to marry in Boston (and not, for example, where my parents or extended family live) was, in large part, based on convenience and cost effectiveness for our guests. Most of the young (read: poor) people invited have strong connections to this city (of the "I can crash on your couch" variety), if they don't live here already. D. and I don't drive, and it was important to us both that our guests not have to worry about that on our wedding day either. Those were our practical concerns.

I started in the center of the city, and seriously almost had a heart attack when I learned it could cost you $5,000 for a 30-minute ceremony in some of the beautiful spaces downtown. The conversations about churches quickly changed from convenience to more important issues. It does not cost any space $5,000 to host 100 people for an hour or so, and so the money you spend on a church (particularly one that comes with a fancy location)** is not about the cost of the service, it's about donating to a community.

Meg's call to arms yesterday was such an important reminder that, at least in this country, our wallets have power. From a personal standpoint, it was important to us both that we marry in a place we felt reflected us and our values; but, when we saw the price point, this became even more important. We chose the most ecumenical church we could find, one that has been celebrating same-sex marriage for 30 years, and that hosts and supports arts organizations across the city. It also just happens to house a seriously beautiful "lady" chapel that will fit our 85 or so guests just perfectly.

Lindsey Chapel, Emmanuel Church

Seriously, you know when you're reading a wedding blog or magazine and you see a venue and think, "Wow, why don't such amazing places exist wherever I live?" Well, that's how I feel about this church and its community, except that it's right here were we live.

Emmanuel Church houses an Episcopal worship community and a Jewish synagogue. It is also home to one of the city's best music programs** and an art gallery. They allow anyone to be married in their space, and marriage services can be officiated by whomever the couple chooses. It is the most ecumenical church community I have ever witnessed, and it's long-standing commitment to marriage equality sealed the deal for us.

D.'s mom is a union organizer, so we're used to promoting our values with our wallets, but it's so easy to overlook or forget about altogether in the stress of wedding planning or even every day purchasing decisions. Like Meg, I was struck in the conversation surrounding Becca's series of posts on wedding photography that so few industry professionals believed that there was power in liberal or progressive or allied dollars. I am so excited to welcome our communities into this community in the heart of the city that we love, one that stands for what we hope our wedding will be about. For me, the value of the wedding blog community has been the swell of support for intentional weddings, and purchasing decisions like these are as intentional as the personal details that crowd blog-worthy and DIY weddings.

*Also because D. and I have done approximately nothing wedding related in the last month, so, you know, I don't have any news to share.
**For the record, $5,000 is so not what we're spending, but it is a real-life cost around here.
***Seriously, when D. and I went to a service there (before meeting with the Priest-in-Charge), we were there for TWO AND A HALF HOURS because, each time there was something to be played, AN ENTIRE ORCHESTRA would set up, tune, and play the most incredible music.

1 comment:

  1. It really is a fantastic church community. It . . . almost . . . makes me want to go. (The feeling doesn't last.)


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