CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
AT GRACE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
. . . adapted from the Book of Order,
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
“But from the beginning of creation,‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father
and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’… Therefore what God has joined together,
let no one separate.” ~ Mark 10:6-9
Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man. A Christian marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage a lifelong commitment is made by a woman and a man to each other, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith. (W-4.9001) (Book of Order)
We are pleased that you have chosen Grace First Presbyterian Church in which to celebrate your marriage and begin your life together. In the spirit of reverent worship, our congregation has adopted policies for the celebration of weddings in our church. It is our hope that the information contained in this pamphlet will be of assistance to you in the planning and conduct of your wedding in a spirit of joy and in accord with those policies.
INITIAL CHURCH CONTACT
The church office should be contacted initially to determine a tentative open date on the church calendar and availability of the pastor. A meeting with the pastor is then scheduled for consent of the wedding and to confirm an agreed upon date.
CHURCH WEDDING LIAISON
The church provides the services of a church wedding liaison who is knowledgeable of the church’s wedding policies. We request that, after the initial meeting with the pastor, all further contact with the church be through the church wedding liaison. The liaison will be responsible for assisting with wedding plans and arrangements and for scheduling all meetings with the director of music/organist, custodians, and others.
Premarital counseling between the pastor and the engaged couple is required. In preparation for marriage, the pastor shall discuss with the engaged couple the nature of their Christian commitment, the legal requirements of the State, the privileges and responsibilities of Christian marriage, the nature and form of the marriage ceremony, the vows and commitments they are asked to make, and the relationship of these commitments to their lives of discipleship.
If the pastor is convinced after discussion with the couple that commitment, responsibility, maturity, or Christian understanding are so lacking that the marriage is unwise, the pastor shall assure the couple of the church’s continuing concern for them and not conduct the ceremony.
At Grace First, the Christian marriage is celebrated in the sanctuary, as this is the place where the community gathers for worship. As a service of worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the pastor and the supervision of the session. The wedding will ordinarily be a special service which focuses upon marriage as a gift of God and as an
expression of the Christian life. Celebration of the Lord’s Supper during the service requires the approval of the
session, and care shall be taken to extend the invitation to the Table to all baptized present. present who are baptized.
The A pastor of Grace First Presbyterian Church will ordinarily conduct the marriage ceremony. A pastor from another church may be able to participate in the service, with consent of the pastor of Grace First and the session.
Music suitable for the marriage service directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the church. The congregation may join in hymns and other musical forms of praise and prayer. Music needs to be selected a minimum of 2 months in advance of the ceremony. The Director of Music maintains an extensive list of music suitable to the wedding ceremony and will be available to assist in the selection of music. The Director of Music has final approval on all music, text, instrumentalists, and soloists to be used in the wedding ceremony. If a soloist or instrumentalist is to be used, rehearsal time must be scheduled with the director of Music/Organist as soloists do not rehearse during the
wedding rehearsal. In compliance with the policies adopted by the Session, no secular music and no recorded music or recorded accompaniment tapes will be permitted.
FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS
Flowers, decorations, and other appointments will be appropriate to the place of worship, enhance the worshipers’ consciousness of the reality of God, and reflect the integrity and simplicity of Christian life. No arrangements will be placed upon or obscure the baptismal font, the pulpit or the communion table. Ribbons and greenery may be used on the center aisle, but no fastenings are to be used that will mar the pews. Only votive candles or drip-less candles with floor protection may be used in the sanctuary. Only silk flower petals may be thrown by the flower girl to prevent real petals from staining the carpet. Aisle runners are a safety hazard and may not be used.
The wedding is a service of worship; therefore photographs of the ceremony are to be limited to an entrance shot and an exit shot taken from no farther into the sanctuary than the back pew. No other photographs, flash, time or otherwise may be taken in the narthex or sanctuary immediately prior to or during the ceremony. The choir loft may be used for video cameras or other silent equipment without flash or special lighting only when not occupied by wedding guests. While in the choir loft, the photographer must not interfere with the musician’s work or the organist’s view of the wedding party downstairs. Arrangements for the use of the choir loft should be made in advance. Following the ceremony, the wedding party may pose for pictures in the sanctuary. If preferred, pictures may be taken in the sanctuary before the service. They must be completed at least one hour before the wedding is to begin. Ushers will inform all camera carrying guests not to take pictures during the ceremony.
For more information on weddings, please click here to review our Wedding Policy and prices.