Revised March 2016
By Church Council action
Welcome to St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church and our Wedding Guidelines. These guidelines were revised and approved by our Congregational Council in May of 2008. They were developed from notes and suggestions contained in The Manual on the Liturgy: Lutheran Book of Worship and from our own experience of providing wedding ministry over the year. We ask that you read over them carefully and prayerfully.
Marriage is a structure belonging to all humanity. Marriage is a covenant of mutual promises, commitment, and hope authorized legally by the state and blessed by God. (An ELCA Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, August 19, 2009; section IV, page 15) God’s abiding faithfulness is the model: as He is, so should we be.
Marriage is a glad occasion overflowing with joy. Those who celebrate marriage rejoice in the gifts of God: life, health, strength, sexuality, family – all that the Creator declared from the beginning to be “very good.”
Marriage is of interest to both church and state, and marriage is done in the presence of a representative of one or the other. It is not the minister who performs the marriage but the wedding couple. Two individuals marry each other, exchanging vows of faithfulness and commitment to each other, and the minister is the principal witness to their action. Family and friends gather with the couple to witness the exchanging of vows. It is in this community of prayer and support that the couple begins their new life together.
The marriage union is not complete until God is invited to be an active partner in the union. It is only through the power, presence, and grace of God in the marriage, that the promises of love and fidelity shared on the wedding day can have any hope of lasting a lifetime.
Requests for weddings to be held at St. John come from members, former members and those with no affiliation with the Church. It is the policy of St. John Lutheran Church that only church members may be married in the sanctuary. For the purpose of the wedding guidelines only, church membership is defined as a confirmed adult member of St. John Lutheran Church and his/her child. The pastor of St. John’s, presiding at the wedding, must approve any deviation from this policy. Exceptions include:
1. Individuals who have established a significant pattern of regular worship at St. John Lutheran Church.
2. Members of area Lutheran churches with a pastoral vacancy.
3. At the discretion of the pastor and with approval of the Church Council.
Planning Your Wedding…
A wedding is a time of special thanks and praise. You are asking God’s blessing upon your life together. In worship you join with family and friends in celebration. During your planning, remember every person involved in the wedding ceremony and every part of the wedding ceremony should be seen as adding to your worship of God and your celebration of joy.
The pastor and wedding couple will design the marriage service with the help of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book and other resources. The pastor will make suggestions to tailor the service to your needs, focusing on the true meaning of marriage and the close fellowship we know as God’s family.
Scheduling a wedding date one year in advance is not unusual. At least a four (4) month notice is required so that proper counseling and other preparations can be made.
After you have selected a date and time, it is important to call the pastor of St. John to ensure the day and time are available on our church calendar. No wedding date is reserved or final until approved by the pastor. When the wedding date is set, the pastor will arrange for pre-marital counseling.
Weddings are to be scheduled and placed on the church calendar only by the pastor in accordance with the St. John Wedding Guidelines.
To avoid conflicts on the days weddings are scheduled, no other activities in the church building will be scheduled without approval from the pastor.
All arrangements for the wedding music are to be made with our church organist. The organist is asked to submit all music titles to the pastor two (2) weeks prior to the wedding. All music to be used in the wedding ceremony must be approved by the pastor. It is the responsibility of the wedding couple to contact the church organist after meeting with the pastor.
Since the marriage service is a form of worship, the music must be carefully chosen. The music should be in keeping with the worship of God, the atmosphere of the church, and the capabilities of the organ.
The wedding music prior to the service, both instrumental and vocal, has the responsibility of setting the mood. This does not mean the music should be ponderous and dull! It should be festive and joyful. It does mean the music should direct one’s thoughts of God.
Any number of musical options are possible before the entrance procession: solo, ensemble, or choral pieces; organ or other instrumental music, or music using a combination of these options. Whenever music is employed in the service and by whatever instruments or voices, it should be within the ability of the performers at hand to play or sing with assurance.
The church organist is the custodian of our organ. Requests for a different organist must be made through the church organist. Any soloist or outside musicians may be of your own choice, but they should contact the church organist in ample time to arrange for rehearsals.
Please see page eight (8) of this document for details concerning organist’s fees.
Participation of Other Clergy
If you wish another ordained Christian clergy person to assist in the wedding service, share this desire with the pastor of St. John. However, as host in our church home, the pastor of St. John congregation will officiate at all weddings.
The marriage license is to be turned in to the church office on the day of the wedding rehearsal. There will be no rehearsal until the pastor has the marriage license in his/her possession. Following the ceremony, the pastor will sign the certificate and mail it to the county recorder.
We are pleased to provide you with the use of our sanctuary and furnishings. All chancel furnishings are dedicated items and are not to be removed or concealed by decorations. The altar paraments are seasonal and the color represents that part of the church year in which your wedding is celebrated. These colors are not changed for weddings.
Out of respect for the worship of God, the church property and our custodian, we request any birdseed be thrown outside of the church. We request rice never be thrown due to the nature of clean up and to prevent accidents.
St. John Lutheran Church is a non-smoking facility. There is to be no smoking inside any of our buildings.
Once a day and time have been finalized for your wedding, a rehearsal date and time will also be scheduled. The pastor will direct the rehearsal. It is important that only the immediate wedding party is present for the rehearsal and they are on time.
Local photographers and local florists have served weddings in our church for many years and are aware of our procedures. We do not permit flash photography while the wedding service is in progress. Please inform your guests of this as well. Any poses may be taken before or after the service and time exposures from the balcony are permitted
If you plan to have your wedding service preserved on video, the videographer must be present at the rehearsal to discuss video guidelines with the pastor.
Our church fees are listed at the bottom of this page. Payment of all fees must be made at least thirty (30) days prior to the marriage service. Payment by check must be made payable to: St. John Lutheran Church. Organist fees must be arranged with the organist and must also be made thirty (30) days in advance. If you secure the services of other musicians or singers, you are responsible for their fee or honorarium.
If the church fees and organist’s fees are not paid by the required date or if checks are returned for insufficient funds, St. John Lutheran Church reserves the right to cancel involvement in your wedding ceremony. Should that become necessary, we will communicate notice of cancellation by telephone or U.S. mail within two (2) business days.
Fellowship Hall Usage
Fellowship Hall Cleaning
As organist at St. John Lutheran Church, I hope to help make your wedding a special and memorable day. My fee for attending both the rehearsal and wedding is $150.00; this includes initial consultation with the couple to select music and discuss details. It also includes rehearsal with any additional musicians.
If I attend the wedding only, my fee is $100.00. This includes a phone consultation to discuss music selection and any other details to be considered. My fee is payable on the same day church fees are paid.
I look forward to serving as the organist at your wedding and making the music beautiful, meaningful and stress-free!