Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church - WEDDING POLICY
Implications of a Church Wedding: Outside of the Church, a wedding is a social contract but within the Church a wedding becomes a religious covenant. The Church understands that marriage is part of God's will for people. (Gen. 2:24 & Mark 10:2-9). The marriage that takes place in the church is not just an act of the state, nor an act of the state and church together; it is an act of God. The vows are made to God. The wedding service itself is a service of worship, an opportunity to praise God for the union of the couple and to pray for God's help as the couple plan their life together.
Dates for the Wedding: Dates should be arranged with the minister and in consideration of the church calendar. If rehearsals are planned, or a reception, you will need to be sure that the buildings or rooms needed are available and reserved on the church calendar. Contact the Chairperson of the Worship Committee so the dates can be finalized. For a Saturday wedding - you may begin decorating on Thursday afternoon provided there is not a funeral scheduled for Friday. If there is a funeral Friday, you will have to wait until it is over to begin decorating.
Role of the Minister: The minister participates in the wedding ceremony as one who has obligations to the church which has called him [or her]. Therefore, normally, the pastor is the officiating minister. Occasionally, a couple may desire that a minister of another church assist in or perform a wedding. This request is properly made to the pastor who then issues the invitation to the other minister(s).
The minister should be contacted at least two months prior to the wedding. The minister will want to spend time with the couple in premarital counseling. His [or her] major concern during the counseling sessions is that the man and woman are prepared to take their vows meaningfully and with a sense of commitment to each other and to God.
Preserving a Proper Perspective: The Session is responsible to see that the church building and grounds are used in responsible and respectful ways. The proper perspective for all events in the sanctuary is an atmosphere of worship. Therefore, the following guidelines have been set:
The Wedding Service: The church wedding is an act of worship and the structure of any wedding service must be an appropriate expression of worship. Couples may write their own service or select from several printed services available. Whatever form the service takes, the heart of the ceremony consists of the vows which the couple affirms to each other and to God.
A wedding is seen by the Christian as the beginning of a new relationship. It takes years to become married. Only as a couple lives together and shares all that life holds do the vows take on significance.
A wedding in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is meant to place marriage in the context of worship, to acknowledge God as partner in the married life, and to prepare the couple to share a meaningful life together.
Decorations: Decorations are to be in good taste. Care should be taken to see that the decorations do not hide or obscure the Christian symbols which are part of a place of worship. Furniture and carpets in the sanctuary and other areas must be protected by clear saucers under plants and flowers. ONLY DRIPLESS CANDLES MAY BE USED.
Clean-up: The buildings and grounds are to be returned to their usual state before the next scheduled church function. All areas of the church property that are used for rehearsal, wedding or reception (including outside on porches and sidewalks) must be left clean. Please be careful to sweep-up all birdseed, etc. It is dangerous to walk on.
Music: Music should capture the mood of the occasion and awaken the congregation to a sense of the significance of marriage. The church organ may be played by the church organist or by someone approved by the church organist.
Pictures: provide a permanent legacy for the wedding but to avoid disturbing the ceremony, neither guests nor professional photographers are allowed to take pictures during the ceremony. Video taping without special lights may be allowed with permission from the pastor.
Receptions: may be held in the church fellowship hall. Furniture and wall hangings may be removed or rearranged provided they are replaced before the next scheduled church event. PIANOS are not to be moved. All furniture, carpets, and hardwood floors must be protected by clear saucers under flowers and plants. Use of the kitchen is permitted, however do not use things stored in cabinets or drawers without permission.
The use of alcohol, or drugs is not permitted in the buildings or on the grounds. The use of tobacco is not permitted in any building.
Fees: for the minister, organist and custodian should be negotiated with each of them individually. A fee of $400.00 will be charged to all non-members for the use of the building and the cost of utilities incurred during a formal wedding ceremony. This fee does not cover the services of the minister, organist or custodian. This fee should be paid in advance. $100 of this amount will be refunded if there is no damage incurred to the building, furnishings, or grounds, and if everything is clean and in its proper place when the event is finished. If there is damage to church property, the renters will be responsible for the cost of repairs above the $100 deposit. There is no charge to church members for use of the building. However, members will be responsible for damages to church property.
Non-members: A non-member is a person who does not belong to the church or whose immediate family does not belong to the church. Such persons may be married in the church with the approval of the Session at a regular stated meeting.
THE PULPIT MAY NOT BE MOVED FOR THE WEDDING OF NON-MEMBERS.
Someone should be designated by the bridal couple to be responsible for returning the church property to order after the ceremony and reception. This person should meet with the minister and the bridal couple to discuss this policy so there will be no misunderstanding of what is expected of them.
If you agree to abide by the conditions set forth in this policy, please sign below.
Other responsible Party Wedding Date
Date Fee Paid _______________ Key out__________ Key in_________
Building key given 2 wks. before wedding.
Most of the information here is from the pamphlet: "Weddings in a Presbyterian congregation" produced by the Department of Adult Education, Board of Education, PCUS.