Fewer people are getting married in church nowadays.

Stats from The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study found that only 26 percent of couples in the U.S. had their wedding ceremony in a religious institution in 2016; down from 41 percent in 2009.

In most cases, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Popular wedding venues include: farms, barns, beaches, ranches, beach houses, public gardens, wineries, museums and historic buildings and homes.

CBN News reporter Caitlin Burke recently exchanged vows at a lake house.  

“I wanted to dictate the look of the ceremony and there’s only so much you can do in a church,” she explained.

She added, “I wanted to have the songs of my choice played during the ceremony, a lot of churches are specific about which songs you can play; i.e. acapella only, hyper critical of lyrics.”

Newlywed Trina Olson Keeny, who had a beach wedding, agreed.

“Our church did not allow wine at the reception and we wanted to dance to oldies.  Dancing was allowed but we wanted to respect the church,” said Keeny.

Religious faith–or lack of it–is a major reason why some young couples shy away from traditional church weddings.

Millennials are leaving church at record numbers and they are described as America’s least religious generation.

Pew found that young adults between 1981 and 1996 are less likely than older Americans to pray or attend church regularly or to consider religion an important part of their lives.

The Rev. Dave Fulton, pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, thinks that change in whether people are religious has affected weddings.

“I think it’s basically the sign of the culture, people are moving away from organized religion and churches,” Fulton said in an interview with The Wichita Eagle.

But some opt for different scenery, while holding on to their faith.

“I think couples are realizing that especially within the Christian denominations they can get married and their pastor can come to them at a different location,” said Ashley Moore, founder of Events and Design by Ashley. 

“We don’t honestly do church weddings much anymore.”

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