Country Club Christian Church
The name Country Club Christian Church may not ring a bell to you, but the Church’s bells never stop ringing for Kansas City weddings. If you live in the area you have probably driven by this stone clad church with its large stained glass windows and never-ending green lawn on many occasions. It is on Ward Parkway, just south of Kansas City’s famous Country Club Plaza.
Since 1921, Country Club Christian Church has had open doors to the people of Kansas City. The church was was founded by Dr. George Hamilton Combs. Combs arrived a 28 year old to Kansas City in December of 1892 from Shelbyville, Kentucky. He spent a good 26 years pastoring a church at 6th and Prospect, but when the first World War broke out, he felt compelled to go Europe and do his part as a YMCA chaplain. In 1919, he came back to Kansas City physically, mentally, and emotionally drained and turned in his resignation. Though after spending a few peaceful near Lake Jacomo in Lee’s Summit, he decided to rejoin the ministry as the founding minister of Country Club Christian Church. In just 20 years, the church had 3,000 members!
Weddings at CCCC
Country Club Christian Church is one of the most popular and desirable wedding venues in Kansas City. With over 100 weddings being performed annualy, for both members and non-members alike, the fight to reserve the church reminds me of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving – or Black Friday as it’s known in the retail world. There’s nothing quite like rushing through the doors at 6 am trying to beat out the 20 other customers to grab the last iPod at Best Buy. Though at least with Country Club Christian Church you have two targets to aim for, the main sanctuary and the Combs Memorial chapel.
All the weddings are scheduled on Saturdays. You can get married in the sanctuary, which seats over 800 guests including the balcony; or you can get married in the George Hamilton Combs Memorial Chapel, which is located just north of the main building and seats 130 guests including the balcony. Both the sanctuary and the chapel have center aisles leading to the front and both share certain stylistic and architectural features Other than that, they are quite unique, and the choice between the two can be difficult.
Cathedral vs. Chapel: a Sidenote
It’s very important, when considering a ceremony space, that you take in to account the size of your wedding party, the likely number of guests and the overall atmosphere you wish for the ceremony. You might find a beautiful sanctuary that you simply adore, but if it’s a bad fit for your wedding size and goals, you really should move on. For example, let’s say you are getting married in the UK and you fall in love with Canterbury Cathedral. You love the history, the architecture and everything else.
Let’s also assume that you like lush floral arrangements. You aren’t looking for anything crazy in flowers – just something appropriate for the cathedral. Unfortunately, your chic British florist tells you it will be at least 20,000 US dollars to do anything remotely appropriate for the cathedral, so you decide that the cathedral looks fine in its plain state. You go ahead with your plans, hire the photographer and invite your guests… all 50 of them. They come dutifully, and appropriately attired. They stand in a line at the first row and admire you as you parade past the miles of empty pews. They turn to face the vicar as he gives his message and they are struck by the beauty of the architecture and the history and mostly by how insignificant the wedding seems in comparison to the cathedral itself.
Of course, there are couples who want their wedding to feel very small and humble. After all, weren’t these cathedrals built to inspire us at the majesty of God and remind us our own frailty? Most of the time, though, when a couple chooses a large sanctuary or cathedral, they are envisioning something much more grand. They see overflowing flowers and rows of gushing guests. Frankly they would have done better to choose a smaller venue.
Back to Kansas City: Small vs. Large
Now, I know that Canterbury Cathedral is an extreme example, but it’s the principle that matters. Let’s get back to earth and talk about Kansas City. Every month we do weddings at great local cathedrals and sanctuaries like the Redemptorist, Our Lady of Sorrows, or Country Club Christian Church. Some of them work brilliantly and others seem quite empty. Many of them would have been better suited to a more intimate setting like the Combs Memorial Chapel.
“Don’t we look so beautiful in our wedding photos. Wait, where’s the flower arrangements. I don’t see them. Oh…. There they are…. The little colorful bits beside the altar.”
I can’t tell you how many brides want traditional altar arrangements to sit on either side of the stage of the main sanctuary – the type of arrangements that cost a couple hundred and look quite grand when placed in the Combs Memorial Chapel. You can imagine how disappointed they are when they look back at their wedding pictures and say, “Didn’t we look so beautiful. Wait, where’s the flower arrangements. I don’t see them. Oh…. There they are…. The little colorful bits beside the altar.”
How sad, that the bride could have taken the same arrangements, along with some simple pew greens and had enough to make the little chapel look simply stunning. Big space means either no décor or big décor. Undersized arrangements are easily overlooked or worse, look out of place. Many brides who have a guest count of less than 150 and a ceremony décor budget of less than $1,000 find it worthwhile to consider the chapel over the sanctuary.
Country Club Christian Church Facts:
Here’s a few key bits of information that may be of use if you are considering Country Club Christian Church for your wedding. To really get the picture, though, you’ll have to call them and schedule a time to go in and look at the space.
- The main sanctuary seats 800. The chapel seats 130.
- Fees are $1,400 for the Sanctuary and $1,300 for the Chapel.
- CCCC’s wedding package is “all-inclusive,” including 3 hours at the church on the wedding day, a wedding facilitator during rehearsal and wedding day, minister fees, organist, custodian, 45-minute rehearsal, couple communication classes, wedding workshop, candelabras, hurricanes, and kneeling bench.
- On the wedding day, each wedding party has use of the church facilities which include either the chapel or sanctuary, dressing rooms and outside gardens for a total of 3 hours. Two hours prior to the start of the ceremony and one hour from the start of the ceremony. Additional time may be purchased at $50 per hour if scheduling allows.
- To secure the facilities, you must return a request form with a $100 non-refundable deposit.
- CCCC only performs weddings on Saturdays with rehearsals on Friday evenings. December weddings are for members only.
- Any music used at the wedding must be appropriate for a worship service. Also, CCCC does not allow any recorded music for the wedding.
- No flash pictures are permissible in the Sanctuary or the Chapel after the Processional and before the Recessional.
- No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the church or chapel premises at anytime.
- Unity candles and holders, the guest book, aisle runners, and bread or juice for communion must be provided by the bride & groom.
- Call 816-333-4917 or go to www.cccckc.org for more information
Country Club Christian Church is one of Kansas City’s most popular churches to get married in. It is in a great part of the city, it has a deep spiritual history, and it offers not one, but two areas to hold your wedding ceremony. If you think it may be the place for you, call 816.333.4917 or go to www.cccckc.org for more information.