Guidelines for the Marriage Ceremony

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The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is an occasion of worship, and the planning of the ceremony should reflect that. A number of church employees and volunteers will assist you.

Music. The parish Organist works with the couple to choose appropriate instrumental and vocal music that is beautiful and edifying of worship, and has final authority to select music. The parish Organist normally plays whenever music is desired.

Wedding Coordinator. A Wedding Coordinator designated by the church assists the clergy and bridal party at the rehearsal and wedding. The Wedding Coordinator will be present at the ceremony to attend to the bridal party.

Flowers. Flower and decorating plans are coordinated with the Altar Guild prior to the wedding. Please note these guidelines:

  • The couple or their families provide the flowers for the chancel. It is recommended that these flowers remain as a thank offering for Sunday.
  • The main arrangement is placed in front of the altar. Flowers on stands may also be placed on either side of the altar, if desired, but not on top of the altar.
  • Small flower arrangements or greens may be fastened to the center aisle ends of the front pews, using hardware provided by the Altar Guild.
  • Flowers should be delivered and set up during the wedding rehearsal or two hours prior to the ceremony. During warmer seasons, the latter is preferred because flowers fail quickly in desert heat. The intended time of delivery and setup should be communicated to the Altar Guild and to the Officiant.

Candles. In the church, candles are a sign of the presence of Christ, and not of the couple or their union. For that reason, unity candles and candelabras are not used.

Aisle Runner. Aisle runners are not allowed because they present a slipping and tripping hazard.

Ushers. Attendants often double as ushers and help seat guests. Ushers should be instructed as to their responsibilities before or during the rehearsal.

Ring Bearer. If a ring bearer is to be used, the couple must provide a pillow or other means of displaying the rings. Ring bearers are notoriously unreliable and clumsy, so if you’re having one, it’s strongly recommended that you obtain inexpensive alternate rings and attach them to a pillow with thread or safety pins. If not, the ring bearer will almost certainly drop and/or lose the rings. Let the best man keep the real rings and present them at the ceremony.

Seating Capacity. The worship space seats 904, including couple’s attendants. The chapel seats 50.

Photography and Videography. Because Holy Matrimony is a service of public worship, distractions from photographers and videographers are not permitted.

From the period beginning 20 minutes before the ceremony begins and ending when the last guest has left the worship space, flash photography and camera lights are not permitted, and movement by photographers and videographers may occur only behind the last pew and in the choir loft. Photographers and videographers may take up a position along a side aisle so long as they do not move from that position.

We recommend that more intimate photographs, including processing attendants, exchange of vows, etc., be staged before or after the ceremony.

If the Officiant is needed for staged photos, please discuss the time for these well in advance, prior to the rehearsal so that the Officiant can plan accordingly.

These directions apply to wedding guests as well as professional photographers and videographers. Please provide a copy of these directions to your photographers and videographers.

If the photographer or videographer does not observe these restrictions, the Officiant will stop the ceremony and remove the photographer or videographer from the property, and he or she will not be allowed to return for future events. This will disrupt your ceremony and be bad for his or her business.

Drugs and Alcohol are not allowed on church property at any time. If any participant in the ceremony exhibits the influence of drugs or alcohol at the rehearsal or wedding, he or she will be removed from the property and not allowed to return.

Smoking is allowed only in designated areas outside the building.

Wagons are not used in the ceremony.

Fireworks are not allowed on the grounds of the church.

Rice. No rice, seeds, or other items may be thrown inside or outside the church. Bubbles may be used outside the building only.

Last updated: July 22, 2015 at 14:52 pm

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