A wedding is a sacred occasion. A wedding at St. Andrews is a statement that the bride and groom want Jesus Christ to be Lord of their new life together. Any other rationale for a church wedding is secondary and, by itself, insufficient to justify the use of church facilities.
The following standards for a church wedding at the St. Andrews and have been developed to assist in your planning.
Who May Be Married Here?
The fact that you are interested in getting married here suggests that you want more than a beautiful building in which to be married; you want a distinctively Christian wedding ceremony and marriage. We encourage and support that desire.
- ONLY CHRISTIANS
The wedding ceremony is considered an act of worship. It is necessary that either the bride or groom be a professing, practicing Christian. If there is no evidence of an authentic Christian faith, it is the responsibility of the pastor with support of the elders not to allow such a wedding in the church.
- THOSE WHO AGREE TO THE PREMARITAL COVENANT.
This church asks that those who desire to be married here sign a premarital covenant indicating your desires to work hard in preparing for marriage and live a God-honoring life, including a commitment to sexual purity, up to the day of your wedding.
- MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS.
Ordinarily, those getting married in the church are to be active church members. The ceremony is then, as all worship services are, an expression of worship by this particular community of faith.
In some circumstances, such as Christians belonging to other churches whose sanctuary will not hold the number of people anticipated for the wedding, non-member Christian couples may be married in this church. The session of the church (the elders and pastors) approve all weddings, including those of non-members. This approval takes place at a regular monthly session meeting and will only be approved after consultation between you and one of the pastors.
Because certain days of the Christian year are set aside to remember specific, mighty acts of God or because some days the staff of the church needs to spend time with friends and family, the following dates are excluded as possibilities for your wedding.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Day
Living with another person is tough at times. Many people leave a marriage as soon as things get tough. Many stay but find themselves far from the “one flesh” principle of Genesis 2:24. Neither are God’s desires for a married couple. In order to help your marriage get off to as strong a start as possible, premarital counseling is required of every couple.
The couple may opt to see a counselor of their own provided that counselor provides a written report to the officiating pastor at least a month prior to the wedding. This report should include:
- Qualifications of the counselor
- Number of hours of counseling (minimum of four hours required)
- The nature of the discussions held
- A summary of strengths and growth areas for the couple
- An assessment of couple’s readiness for marriage
If one of the pastors provide premarital counseling, know that much time will go into this. Not only does this help prepare you for a lifetime of living together, but it usually makes the wedding ceremony itself more meaningful. Topics covered include communication, conflict skills, faith, finances, sexual expectations, role relationships and family.
The pastor or other counselor may, as a result of meeting with you, recommend further counseling or even decide that you should postpone the wedding.
IMPORTANT: It is the responsibility of the couple to schedule all sessions with the pastor. All sessions are to be completed prior to the wedding. Also, there are expenses associated with premarital counseling with pastor as well.
The Officiating Pastor(s)
Ordinarily a pastor of this church or denomination will officiate at all church weddings. If the family chooses another minister to officiate or assist who is not of our denomination, the wedding plans should be approved by one of the St. Andrews pastors, or in his absence, the director of worship. A copy of these guidelines will be furnished to the visiting pastor who shall consult with the St. Andrews pastor at least one month before the wedding.
With so many details to think about on the day of the wedding, the couple may decide to use a wedding director or coordinator. This church encourages the use of such persons in order to allow the couple to be present to the moment and not distracted by worry over details. The wedding coordinator may be paid or a family member or friend who volunteers. For the rehearsal and wedding day, this person is usually responsible for the details such as
- Deciding where and how the wedding party will stand in the ceremony
- Making sure all wedding party members are dressed and in place for photographs, the start of the ceremony, and events at the reception
- Providing refreshments for the wedding party prior to the wedding
- Where to stand for the ceremony
- How to walk and when to enter for the processional and recessional
- Timing for events at the reception such as cutting the wedding cake
The officiating pastor will gladly work with the coordinator but it must be clear the pastor remains the final authority on all that happens in the wedding ceremony and around the church.
Music and Audio-Video System
Keeping in mind that the Christian wedding is a worship service and a joyful Christ-centered experience, all music selected to be played or sung shall be in harmony with the spirit of worship. All music shall be approved by the organist and/or pianist with final authority resting with the officiating pastor.
ORGAN OR PIANO MUSIC. Ordinarily, the organist/pianist of this church will be organist/pianist for all weddings. In cases of conflict of schedule or if the family chooses to use another organist/pianist, the church organist/pianist will approve the guest organist/pianist. If a guest organist/pianist is used, arrangements must be made to obtain the organ key from the church administrative assistant.
OTHER MUSIC OR MUSICIANS. For weddings in which music or musicians other than described above are desired, such as a friend of relative singing to taped music or a song played from a CD, the music and/or musicians must be approved by the church organist/pianist or the pastor.
SINGERS. This church has highly skilled singers who would be available to sing at the wedding ceremony. If these people are desired, contact the pastor or administrative assistant for further information.
SOUND SYSTEM. Weddings that involve only the officiating pastor to speak require no sound system operator. Qualified sound system operators are required for weddings in which singers or other speakers, such as people reading Scripture or sharing a message, are used. These people work the church sound system during regular worship services. Contact the pastor or administrative assistant for contact information.
It is important to capture your wedding ceremony in photos or video. This will be a time over which to reminisce in the years ahead. Making a photographic or video recording of the wedding is allowed in this church as long as it does not detract from the atmosphere of worship. This means that cameras must not be used by anyone in the sanctuary during the ceremony. THE OFFICIATING PASTOR MAY TEMPORARILY STOP THE WEDDING UNTIL FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY OR DISTRACTING PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE NO LONGER DISTRACTING.
If desired, during the ceremony time exposures or available light exposures may be made. The wedding party may take pictures before the ceremony or return to the sanctuary to make posed pictures after the ceremony. Flash pictures of the bride and her father coming in may be made at the door. Flash pictures may be taken during the recessional. The photographer must consult with the minister at least one month before the wedding.
The Wedding Rehearsal
The wedding rehearsal is a time to go through the ceremony with the entire wedding party. The rehearsal is important because most people in weddings are amateurs under pressure. It helps calm any worries and prepare everyone for as smooth a wedding as possible.
The rehearsal is usually done the night before, usually on a Friday night. Note that whatever time is agreed upon for the rehearsal to begin, we will begin at that time regardless of whether or not the entire wedding party has arrived. As long as the bride and groom are there, the wedding rehearsal will begin on time. The rehearsal typically takes about 45 minutes. Some take longer, some are shorter. A rehearsal dinner arranged by the bride and groom usually follows.
After the Wedding You are responsible for restoring the church to its original condition after the wedding. Since most weddings are on Saturdays and Sunday mornings are the main worship times, it is important that this clean up effort be done timely and well. Even though there is a custodial fee for cleaning up and the custodians will do the fine cleaning, we expect all wedding party members and guests to treat the church with respect and pick up after themselves. This is, after all, a house of worship.
The custodial service that regularly cleans this church is responsible for final cleaning and straightening after the wedding. There are two fee structures for custodial services—one for having just the wedding here, and the other for both the wedding and reception here. This service is for cleaning up the church and resetting the furnishings. It does not include removing personal belongings, flowers, rented candelabras, or other items brought in for the wedding. The removal of such items is still your responsibility.
For more information contact the church Administrative Assistant.