GUIDELINES FOR WEDDINGS
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Dallas, PA
You have come to a Christian Pastor seeking to plan a Christian Wedding. The Church holds that marriage is holy and that the wedding is a service of worship to glorify, thank and praise God before whom a couple pledges its marriage vows. For Christians, marriage is the will and purpose of God. Presumably, therefore, you take this step because you see your particular marriage as God’s will for you both, because you desire God’s blessing upon your marriage and His presence with you in the years to come, and because you wish to join with God’s people in loving praise and thanksgiving to God in holy worship.
Some rather secular aspects and practices have become popular in wedding ceremonies which detract from the mood and intent of Christian worship. Flash pictures and movement during the service, singing of popular love songs that have no religious content or basis, and some traditions from our culture are inappropriate for a Christian wedding. If these kinds of practices are your steadfast desire, perhaps a wedding in the Church is not your real intention.
The following guidelines are to be considered when making arrangements for a wedding at St. Paul’s. They should be shared with the appropriate parties involved in your wedding, including photographer, florist, outside musicians and your wedding party.
The bride and groom must be baptized Christians.
Four pre-marriage sessions with the Pastor or the Pastor’s designate will be expected.
A minimum of three attendances at worship prior to the wedding are expected so that the congregation may come to know for whom they will be praying and offering their support.
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the church or on church property (including the parking lot) at any time. Any member of the wedding party or guests who belittles the sanctity of the church and worship of God by arriving at the rehearsal or wedding inebriated may be asked to leave.
Throwing rice is not permitted; bird seed is recommended and must be thrown outdoors.
The marriage license should be received in the church office by the Monday before the wedding to properly complete the certificate. The license MUST be in the possession of the office or Pastor by the time of the rehearsal.
The Pastor reserves the right to refuse to preside at any wedding if the Pastor feels the marriage is not in the best interest of the couple, the church, or the community. Failure of the couple to abide by the guidelines may also provide reason to refuse to preside at the wedding.
DATE AND TIME FOR THE WEDDING
The date and time for the wedding should be set at least three months in advance to allow for proper planning and scheduling. Because of the Saturday Holy Communion service at St. Paul’s, Saturday weddings should be at morning or early afternoon hours, with all persons and activities of the wedding out of the church by 4:30 pm (including the photographs).
Weddings are not appropriate during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent and will not be scheduled during Holy Week.
PLANNING YOUR SERVICE
The Service for Marriage from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pages 286-291) is the order of worship for weddings at St. Paul’s. There are a variety of ways which a couple can personalize the liturgy, including the selection of liturgical options within the service, scripture readings, music and hymns, and special personal rituals consistent with the Christian view of marriage. Vows may be composed by the couple, in consultation with the Pastor.
The Service for Marriage may be included within a service of Holy Communion. All members of the congregation who are baptized Christians will be invited to commune; it is inappropriate for the bride and groom or the wedding party only to commune. Therefore, it is important to consider the religious character of your guests in deciding whether or not to include your wedding in the context of Holy Communion. Family members or friends may be invited to make the bread for Communion.
Family members or friends may serve as worship assistants (e.g. acolyte, crucifer, lector, communion assistant), but must attend rehearsal for training if they are untrained in the service.
The Pastor of St. Paul’s is responsible for presiding at all weddings held in the church. Other clergy may be invited to participate in the service. Their participation, however, must be approved by the Pastor, who will extend the proper invitations. Only under special circumstances does another clergy person preside at a wedding at St. Paul’s and only with the Pastor’s approval.
Flash pictures are permitted up to and including the time of the processional and then again at the recessional and after; no flash photography is permitted during the rite. Still and Video photographers are not permitted on the predella (the step area) during the service, and movement by photographers anywhere in the nave during the service should be minimal if at all. A port in the back wall is a good location for videotaping the service. Any portion of the service may be staged or re-enacted following the service for photographs.
Bulletin covers can be purchased
through the church office at least two months prior to the wedding date. Total
cost is $10 for 100 bulletins. You may
purchase your own bulletin covers and provide them to the office for printing
at least one week prior to the wedding date.
Cost for printing only is $2. Information for the bulletins (e.g. the
wedding party names and details of the service) should be given to the church
office at least one week prior to the wedding date. You may provide your own
FLOWERS, CANDLES, AND OTHER APPOINTMENTS
The color of the paraments is determined by the liturgical color of the day. Paraments will be not changed for a wedding.
Only real flowers will be used on the predella (the step area) and are preferred throughout the nave.
If the candelabras are used for evening weddings, the church will provide the candles and charge the couple the cost of the candles.
The use of an aisle runner is prohibited.
MUSIC AND MUSICIANS
The organist of St. Paul’s is normally the organist for weddings at St. Paul’s. Another organist or any other instrumentalist(s) invited to play will be approved by the organist in consultation with the Pastor and Worship and Music Committee. Selection of appropriate music for prelude, solo or ensemble, congregational singing, and any other service music is done in consultation with the organist and the Pastor. Music selected should embody high standards of quality and, in general, reflect praise of God, God’s steadfast love in Christ as the foundation or model for marriage, seek or celebrate God’s presence and blessing, or find their origin in scripture.
Rehearsals are generally held the evening before the wedding, and will begin promptly according to the time mutually agreed upon by the Pastor and couple. Those required to be at the rehearsal generally include the bride and groom, the parents, all members of the wedding party (maid or matron of honor, bridesmaids, flower girl, best man, ushers, ring bearer, and any other attendants), any service assistants (acolytes, crucifer, lectors, etc.), and musicians for the service. Musicians playing for prelude or postlude music only need not attend.
Suggested gratuities, due at the rehearsal, include:
Administrative Assistant $50
Organist As per the organist’s contract with the couple.
Worship servers, acolytes, etc. A gift of your choice
For non-members only
Building Use $200
Rev. November 2002, May 2007