Photo by Jason Domingues Photography
Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder
Christian marriage is a solemn and holy covenant between a couple made in the presence of God. The marriage ceremony is a public ratification of this covenant in the presence of witnesses. When the Church presides at the marriage ceremony, it serves as the witness of the covenant and through its priest bestows blessing on the union, with prayer that the parties concerned may receive grace to fulfill their vows of fidelity and to create a Christian family and home.
The intention of marriage means not only a lifelong relationship of personal commitment; being married also means collaborating with God to create a means to spiritual growth and ministry. The couple intend to nurture each other’s relationship with God and, together, they seek to find ways to support and nurture family and community life. To these ends, a couple seeking marriage come to the Church for counsel and God’s blessing on their union.
We are providing you this information as a convenient means of answering many questions you may have about marriage in this parish and to acquaint you with the norms at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. We want this to be your wedding; therefore, please feel free to discuss with the clergy any questions or concerns you might have.
At least one person of the couple must be an active, pledging member of record at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church or another Episcopal Church, or he or she must be a close family member of an active, pledging member of record.
Notice of Intention
No weddings at St. Andrew’s will be solemnized with less than ninety (90) days notice. Please see the requirements for pre-marriage counseling.
Clergy for the Wedding
The presider at a wedding will be one of the clergy of St. Andrew’s. Guest clergy (Episcopalian or otherwise) may participate only with the permission and invitation of the rector of St. Andrew’s. It is standard practice for a priest to preside at a wedding, since deacons are not permitted to offer the nuptial blessing. Deacons may participate fully in weddings at St. Andrew’s within their proper functions.
If either party has been divorced, one (1) year must have elapsed prior to marriage at St. Andrew’s. A copy of the last page of all divorce decrees, containing the date of divorce, court, and judge, must be provided for the wedding file. In addition, an application for a judgment of marital status must be filed with the bishop. The bishop requires 30 days to issue a judgment on the application.
The Church requires that there be counseling with clergy prior to marriage. At St. Andrew’s, counseling is provided during a marriage preparation day that takes place annually in March and August. Couples gather for a full day on Saturday to learn about themselves and about being a couple, and to share fellowship within the Church community. If you live out of state yet intend to be married at St. Andrew’s, you must engage with your local Episcopal priest who must A) contact the rector of St. Andrew’s to propose the counseling plan and receive authorization to proceed; and B) write a report to the rector, prior to the intended date of marriage, detailing the number of occasions that counseling occurred and recommending that the marriage take place. Secular counseling may also be used to fulfill this requirement.
The fee for a wedding at St. Andrew’s is $1,200. This fee includes clergy, organist, Altar Guild, sextons, and all other fees. Additional fees will be charged for soloists, musicians, and extra musical rehearsals. A deposit of $600 is due when you schedule your wedding, and the balance is due 10 days prior to your wedding.
You will need to contact the music director/organist at St. Andrew’s, via email (email@example.com), to help you select music for your wedding. A list of music will then be sent in response. Please review the music options (title, composers and links to audio files), make your selections, and return them to music director/organist. If you have other requests, send those as well. If we can accommodate those requests, we will. Music selections other than those recommended will need to be approved by the music director/organist and the clergy. Because a church wedding is a sacred rite, all music during the liturgy must be sacred in nature, appropriate to the sacrament that is to take place. Popular, secular music or music from the theater is not permitted during the service, prelude (10-15 minutes), or recessional. If there will be a pew dismissal, an additional fee for additional music will be incurred. Additionally, prerecorded music or music from a CD is not permitted.
The following guidelines for floral arrangements must be honored.
- Flowers may be placed on the gradine (shelf behind the altar), the credence shelves to the left and right of the gradine, or to the sides of the altar. Flowers may not be placed on the altar itself.
- Because the flowers are to be left at the altar for the Sunday worship services (notice of the marriage will be printed in the Sunday bulletin), the florist is responsible for obtaining the vase liners from the Church ahead of time.
- No decorations other than flowers are permitted inside the altar rail. You may arrange for whatever flowers, greenery, ribbons, etc. you like in the rest of the nave.
- Typically, the Altar Guild places and removes flowers behind the altar rail.
- The couple is responsible for cleaning up all the decorations outside the altar rail immediately following the liturgy. This is not a responsibility of the sexton or the Altar Guild. Check with your florist. An additional fee may be charged if the parish staff or sexton needs to provide extra cleaning in any area of the church after the wedding.
- You may attach floral arrangements or bows to the ends of the pews or to the sconces. However, please do not use any kind of tape since it leaves marks.
- During seasons such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, the Church is to remain decorated with the seasonal flowers and arrangements; therefore, if a wedding is scheduled during these times, no special wedding flowers will be permitted.
Dates Without Weddings
The Season of Lent is a penitential time. No weddings will be scheduled from Ash Wednesday through Easter Day. Weddings typically are not scheduled on Sundays.
- The Church has available four options for candles. You may choose any or all of the options:
- Gradine Candles — two 7-branch brass candelabra, typically placed on the gradine (shelf) behind high altar.
- Standing Candles — two 5 ft. high, 7-branch candelabra that stand on the floor on either side of high altar.
- Eucharistic Candles — two pillar candles used on the altar when there is Communion at the wedding.
- Wrought iron sconces — 12 sets of sconces, each with five candles, located on the pillars in the nave. The sconces may be decorated.
- Unity candles are not part of the marriage liturgy in the Episcopal Church and are therefore not permitted.
In order not to distract from the wedding and the solemnity and beauty of the worship, flash photography is not permitted during the service. The service begins when the wedding party walks down the aisle.
Photography (without flash) is allowed during the service only from the following locations:
- Behind the pews at the back of the church
- From the side chapel behind the pillars
- From the columbarium behind the pillars
- From the doorways at the altar rail
Photographers may not come into the center aisle of the nave to take pictures of the bride coming down the aisle. Flash pictures may be taken from the end of the aisle as the couple leave the Nave. Flash pictures may be taken in the chancel up to 30 minutes prior to the wedding and 15 minutes after the ceremony is finished and the guests have left. If requested, the clergy will be glad to participate in the reconstruction of any part of the ceremony for photographic purposes. No one is permitted behind the altar rail at any time except clergy, acolytes, and Altar Guild members. Rearrangement of altar flowers and candelabra for photographic purposes is not permitted. The Church will be opened two hours prior to the wedding by the sexton assigned to the wedding. The Altar Guild will arrive one hour and 15 minutes prior to the wedding in order for the altar to be ready for photographs one hour prior to the service. The Altar Guild will leave the flowers and candles on the altar for 20 minutes after the guests leave for additional photographs.
The Jewell Room is an ideal setting for wedding photographs. We suggest that the photographer and the couple agree on the arrangements in advance. No furniture is to be moved under any circumstance.
Eucharist (Holy Communion)
It is appropriate for the Eucharist to be celebrated at the wedding. If you choose to have Communion at the wedding, all guests will be invited to receive Communion.
Your presider must approve the wedding program 2 weeks prior to the wedding, should you choose to have one.Communion at the wedding, all guests will be invited to receive Communion.
The couple and their attendants may dress at the church. The church will be open for two hours before the wedding to provide ample time for dressing and taking pictures. Outside wedding consultants are welcome to assist the wedding party, but the clergy assigned to the wedding will direct the wedding rehearsal, the procession, and the service.
A State of Missouri Marriage License must be delivered to the clergy at the rehearsal. Please allow sufficient time for obtaining the license, bearing in mind state as well as federal holidays.
- The wedding guidelines at St. Andrew’s Church do NOT allow for throwing of any rice, birdseed or confetti in the church or on the church grounds. Flower petals are permitted.
- Please inform your wedding party and guests that NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES are allowed on church property at any time during the rehearsal or the wedding. This includes the parking lot! We want you to enjoy your special day, but please ensure that all members of the wedding party avoid alcohol consumption prior to the liturgy.
- We suggest the guest register be closed five minutes before the wedding so that all guests may be seated in time for the beginning of the liturgy.
- It is very appropriate to ask family members or friends to read lessons at the service. The reader should be someone who can read Scripture clearly and one for whom it has meaning in faith. Readers normally sit in the chancel, behind the lectern, and come to the lectern to read the lesson. The reader should attend the rehearsal.
For questions about scheduling a wedding at St. Andrew’s, please contact Mary Sanders at 816-523-1602 or firstname.lastname@example.org.