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Weddings

Photo by Ric Latham

“Marriage is a holy estate, ordained of God, to be held in honor among all.”

Your desire to have a church wedding is indicative of the fact that you want to ask God’s blessing upon your marriage. The purpose of a church wedding is to share your joy with the congregation and enable the congregation to join with you in asking God’s blessing upon your marriage. The purpose is not to “put on a show” for your friends and family. This does not prevent you from having a beautiful wedding, but it does set certain limitations on what may properly be done.

We hope that your desire to be married in the church reflects a desire to be a continuing part of God’s family. Therefore, we invite those who would like to be married in the church who are not now members or who do not worship with us to come and join us on Sunday mornings.

Requirements

1.  The minister must agree to perform the wedding
2.  The couple shall meet with the pastor three or four times

And either 3 or 4:

3.

A.  One or both parties must have attended worship for at least six Sundays in the three months before the wedding

Or

B.  One or both parties must be members or from a family who are members

(Either A or B will be considered as members)

4.  Those who wish to use the church as a “wedding chapel” but who have no interest in becoming a part of the church should agree to pay reasonable fees for the use of the building and the pastor’s time.

General Arrangements

It is advisable to make wedding arrangements as far in advance as possible. As soon as a possible date for your marriage is determined, call the pastor to reserve the date on the church calendar.

It is expected that the pastor of the church will officiate at all weddings. When it is the wish of the couple to have other clergy participate in the ceremony, they are to get the consent of the pastor of this church. The invitation to another clergyperson will be extended by the pastor or by the session of the church. The division of the ceremony will be made by this church’s pastor in consultation with the guest clergy and the couple. It is understood that all clergy participating and that all ceremonies held in the church will be Christian.

The couple will arrange with this church’s pastor for the counseling sessions.

Decorations

It is not appropriate to overwhelm the church with decorations. Flowers may be placed on the communion table or on the flower stands at the front of the sanctuary.

The candelabra may be used. Also, there are candle holders in each window well. If additional candelabra are provided, plastic protectors are to be placed under them. No candles are permitted in the aisles or on the pews.

The use of nails, screws, and wire in decorating is not permitted. Bows may be attached to pews with masking tape.

Rehearsal

The time for the rehearsal should be set at the first counseling session. Where a rehearsal is necessary, approximately 45 minutes should be allowed. All members of the wedding party, including parents and ushers, should be present promptly.

Music

The music should be in keeping with the dignity, beauty, and sacredness of a service of worship. There is much secular wedding music which, though it may be beautiful and acceptable for use at a wedding reception, is hardly in keeping with the purpose of a church wedding. Music selections, particularly vocal selections, should be cleared with the pastor.

In making remuneration to an organist and soloist, bear in mind that you are purchasing professional services, just as you might hire a photographer or videographer. A musician does not spend merely the half-hour which the actual wedding takes, but the time required to select the music, practice, get to the rehearsal, the rehearsal time, plus the time before and after the wedding.

Photographs

The marriage service is a sacred service, which should have no intrusions such as come from the taking of pictures, particularly flash pictures. Therefore, no flash pictures are to be taken until after the recessional. Time exposures may be taken from the balcony. After the service is concluded, pictures may be taken in the sanctuary.

A letter of guidelines for the professional photographer is available. Friends and relatives should be informed of these guidelines and requested to observe them.

In order to expedite the taking of pictures after the ceremony, it is well to give the photographer a list of the groups or persons you wish photographed. By planning to take the first pictures of the group involving the largest number of people, some of the bridal party can then be dismissed to attend to other things.

You are welcome to have the service videotaped as long as the taping is done from one spot. If videotaping is desired, it helps to have the one who will do the taping attend the rehearsal.

Miscellany

Ring bearers and flower girls should be at least 5 years old or of a proven maturity.

The marriage license should be brought to the rehearsal.

If programs for the ceremony are desired, the wedding party is responsible for securing these and having them printed. The pastor will assist in arranging the program material, if desired.

Holy Communion is not proper at wedding ceremonies unless it is offered to the entire congregation.

If an aisle runner is desired, it must be provided by the wedding party.

All decorations and personal belongings must be removed immediately after the wedding is concluded.

Rice and confetti are not permitted. If bird seed is used, it should be distributed outside after all pictures have been taken.

If the pastor is invited to the reception, an invitation should be sent. Any invitation to the rehearsal dinner should be clearly extended in advance.

Financial Arrangements

It is not the policy of the church to look upon weddings as a source of revenue: however, there are expenses connected with the operation of the various areas used for weddings.

Our assumption is that members of the church and those who worship with us on a regular basis are involved in the ongoing support of the church. Couples who wish to come into the church only for a wedding are asked to recognize their obligation to contribute to the expenses related to the building use and the professional time of the pastor. Every wedding requires extra work for the custodian. Therefore, all couples are asked to pay a custodial service fee.

All fees should be paid at the last pre-marital counseling session.

1.  Building Use – Wedding Ceremony

A.  Members – No charge for use of the church

        Custodial service, $40 – paid to the custodian

B.  Non-members – Use of church, $100 (This is tax-deductible.)

        Custodial service, $40 – paid to the custodian

2.  Personnel

Pastor

A.  Members – No charge, but an honorarium is appropriate
B.  Non-members – $125 to be paid to the church for the pastor’s resource fund. (This, if made out to the church, is tax deductible.)

Organist: This should be paid directly to the organist. We recommend a $75 minimum.

3.  The downstairs may be used for a reception if desired. No alcohol or smoking is allowed.

A.  Members – No charge for use of the building

        $50 additional for custodial services

B.  Non-members – $100 for dining room, $50 for kitchen and $50 additional for custodial services.

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