It is always a delight for the church to share in the marriage of couples who are seeking to make a lifelong commitment to each other in the Name of Christ and in the Presence of God and God’s People.
Throughout the planning process and the wedding itself, it is good to remember that the Marriage Service belongs to the Church, and is a liturgy in praise of God, seeking God’s blessing upon the bridal couple and the assembled congregation.
A church wedding is, first of all, a worship service. In this worship, we praise God and we celebrate the gracious gifts which God grants to those who enter into marriage. The entire service is to give glory to God. This sense of praise to our Lord is the theme that is the foundation for all our wedding guidelines and practices here at St. John.
The Church Council of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church has adopted the following as a foundational statement for all weddings that will take place in this congregation or by its pastors in other locations:
“Resolved, that all marriage services should reflect our Lutheran Christian understanding that they are services of worship. Thus, all texts, music and decorations will reflect our concern that the primary purpose of such a service is to give clear witness to what God has done, is doing now, and will continue to do for those who live in marriage. The marriage service will focus on our praise to God, our thanksgiving offered to God, and our receiving of God’s gifts of grace and blessing.”
All couples who choose to schedule their marriage worship service here at St. John Lutheran Church should do so with a willingness to abide by the above foundational statement.
Those who plan to marry shall contact the church office to confirm, and reserve the date and time of the wedding. Members (bride, groom or parent of either) may reserve their desired wedding date at any time, while, non-members may only reserve six months prior to the desired date. A reservation for non-members must be accompanied by a non-refundable $100 deposit.
Pre-marriage counseling is required for all who are married at St. John. A minimum of three sessions with the pastor will be expected of all couples. These sessions will include: a Biblical overview of marriage, the completion of a Pre-Marriage Awareness Inventory, a review of basic communication skills, as well as planning for the marriage worship service.
All weddings scheduled for a Saturday must begin NO LATER THAN 2:30 PM and NO EARLIER THAN 7:00 PM to avoid conflict with St. John’s Saturday evening worship service which begins at 5:00 PM.
At no time will the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages be permitted in the building or on church property. Failure to observe this rule will result in the immediate cancellation of the wedding service.
For those who will be married here, and are not members of our congregation, we strongly encourage you to attend a Sunday worship service before you schedule your wedding.
All participants in the wedding service are expected to be present, and on time, for the rehearsal. The Pastor of St. John will conduct the rehearsal.
Following state regulations, smoking is NOT allowed inside the building.
The throwing of rice, bird seed or any form of confetti (basically anything that goes up and then comes down) will not be permitted. Confetti may not be used inside the worship area. For your information, the throwing of rice is an ancient pagan symbol of fertility. It has no place within the Christian community.
No chancel furnishing and vestments will be removed or covered in any way. Any decorating of the church is to be accomplished at least one hour prior to the service. Decorations are to be removed immediately after the photographs have been taken. The Custodian will be able to answer your questions about what is allowed, and will advise and assist you in the placement and removal of all decorations and flowers. Decorations must be placed so as not to damage walls or chancel furnishings.
To preserve the atmosphere of worship, no flash pictures will be permitted during the service by professional photographers, guests or members of the wedding party. The following line will be printed in the wedding bulletin: “In the spirit of worship, guests are asked to refrain from taking pictures during the service. All photographers and videographers should be in communication with the Pastor and/or Custodian prior to the wedding to be clear about what is permitted. One suggestion to save time and inconvenience to your guests, is to schedule all or most of your photo session before the wedding to avoid long delays between the service and the reception.
All those who schedule afternoon weddings must vacate the worship space no later than 4:00 pm, so that preparations can be made for our 5:00 worship service.
You will need to obtain a marriage license either in the county in which you reside, or the county in which you will be married. There may be a waiting period between the time that you apply for the license and the day you pick it up.
The marriage license and all fees and honorariums are to be brought to the church the week before the wedding or no later than the day of the rehearsal.
The altar candles and candelabras will be used for all weddings. A Unity Candle may also be used, but it will be the responsibility of the bridal couple to provide both the Unity Candle and the individual candles. We do have a stand for the Unity Candle that you will be able to use. Aisle candles on stands with globe covers are available for your use. There is an extra charge for setting up and taking down these candles, see Custodian honorarium.
Only guide (or service) dogs are permitted in our worship space.
All marriage worship services will follow the pattern for the Service of Marriage in the EVANGELICALLUTHERAN WORSHIP, (ELW). There is a great deal of flexibility which will allow couples to include various options in the service. Options might include: Lighting of the Unity Candle, Holy Communion, The Apostle’s Creed, and other options with the approval of the Pastor.
Marriage vows will be selected by the bridal couple from a number of options from the Resource part of this document.
There shall be lessons from the Scriptures read, and a homily proclaimed, celebrating God’s blessing and empowering of marriage. Appropriate passages are available in the Marriage Resources Section.
Music that will be included in the service must reflect the praise of God, witness to God’s steadfast love in Christ, and seek God’s blessing upon those who enter into marriage. All music must be approved by either the Pastor or Organist. The Organist and Pastor have many resources to assist you in the selection of music that is appropriate for worship, and will work with you in this process.
The inclusion of at least one congregational hymn is encouraged. A list of appropriate hymns can be found in the Marriage Resources Section.
St. John’s Organist shall normally be the organist for all weddings. If St. John’s Organist is unable to play, another may be invited to play, with the approval of St. John’s Organist and Pastor. If the bridal couple desires to have another organist play for their wedding, permission must be secured from St. John’s Organist, Pastor, and the Worship Committee.
The bridal couple may invite a soloist to participate in the worship service. As previously stated, all music must be approved by the Pastor and the Organist. Also, other instrumentalists may be included in the service.
All weddings at St. John’s shall include the Pastor of St. John as the Presiding Pastor. Another ordained Pastor may be invited to participate in the service at the request of the couple, and with the consent of St. John’s Pastor and the Church Council.
A wedding worship service may not be scheduled during Holy Week (from 6pm on the eve of the Sunday of the Passion, through 6pm on Holy Saturday) because of the solemn character of that time.
If Holy Communion is celebrated within the marriage service, it must be open to the assembled congregation, and not limited to just the bride and groom, or the wedding party.
Wedding bulletins, listing the order of the worship service, music and wedding party, et., can be provided, if you so desire. The bridal couple will purchase the bulletins, normally at a Christian book store. The congregation will print them through the Church Office at no charge.
Click here to download St. John Wedding Guidelines and Resources including the Wedding Fees & Honorariums in Adobe™ PDF format.