Interested in getting married at First UMC? Here's what we believe and what you can expect.
Marriage is an institution of God, and this church rejoices with you in this approaching event. We hope that this will be a meaningful and lasting covenant between both of you.
The wedding ceremony, when performed in a sanctuary dedicated to the glory of God, is a sacred service; and its symbolism is among the most significant in human experience. Like all other services performed in the church, the entire marriage ceremony should be an act of worship in word, in spirit, and in music.
To prevent any confusion or misunderstandings, all preliminary arrangements should be made with the senior pastor of our church. If you desire him and/or one of the other staff pastors to perform the ceremony, please consult with our senior pastor before you make other arrangements. It is not necessary, however, that you invite the entire pastoral staff to participate. You should feel free to choose whichever pastor on the staff you would like to perform the ceremony.
If you wish to include a pastor from another church (the groom's, perhaps) please consult our pastor first. The guest minister must be extended an invitation from our church in order to participate. This is a courtesy both to our minister and to the other minister being invited. It also complies with church regulations as listed in the Discipline of the United Methodist Church. The visiting minister should confer with our senior pastor and our church wedding director prior to the rehearsal in order to become familiar with our policies.
It is important that the date and hour of the wedding and of the rehearsal be discussed and confirmed with the senior pastor before any public announcement is made to that effect. These should be entered on the church calendar as early as possible. If your reception is to be held at the church, this should be cleared with the pastor and also entered on the calendar. Arrangements for the organist and director should be made directly with them as soon as possible. The pastor will make arrangements with the custodian.
For non-members who are using our church facilities, it is to be understood by all persons involved that they are to follow policies as set forth for those who are members of our church. The officiating minister must consult with one of our pastors prior to the rehearsal concerning any regulations. The church will furnish one of our Wedding Committee members to direct the rehearsal and wedding in accordance with our church polices. Any service held in our church is a reflection on our church; and we must ensure that there is no deviation from our established polices. As a non-member using our facilities, we expect full cooperation in these endeavors.
Wedding Date: Members have priority over non-members as to the specific day and hour of their rehearsal and wedding up until 120 days prior to the date of the wedding. Non-members may schedule a tentative date and hour for the ceremony as far in advance as they wish, but this will not be confirmed until 120 days prior to the ceremony. An application form must be filled out by members and non-members for use of the building facilities and any special equipment for a reception prior to any confirmation. Forms are included in the Wedding Booklet, which is printed out at our church office. A "member" is defined as bride, groom, parents, or legal guardian.
Wedding Time: Two weddings on the same day may not be scheduled in the Sanctuary any closer than 4 hours apart. This is necessary both as a courtesy to the first bride and because of logistics in decorating, arrival and departure of guests, picture-taking, and clean-up time. Special arrangements must be made for a closer time frame if one wedding is in the Sanctuary and the other in the Chapel.
Members: Sunday weddings are not encouraged because of the logistics and complications involved with a wedding and the regularly scheduled Sunday services. You must defer to regularly scheduled services during the Christmas and Easter Seasons. Weddings may not be scheduled during the week of Christmas or on the week before Easter.
Non-Members may not schedule a Sunday Wedding and may not schedule a wedding during December or on the week-ends of Palm Sunday thru Easter week.
Decorative Appointments in the Sanctuary cannot be removed for weddings during the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Seasons. This is usually from the last Sunday in November through the first Sunday in January.
Sanctuary: The bride and church director will agree on a time to open the church on the wedding day. It will be no more than two (2) hours before the ceremony beings.
We ask for your patience and understanding in these matters. We must all be aware of the extra scheduling and time involved in adding these events to the numerous activities going on every day in the life of our church. We will do our utmost to help make this a carefree time in your life, and the Wedding Committee and custodial staff will greatly appreciate your cooperation.
As soon as the date and time of your wedding has been set with the minister, you should make an appointment with the church organist to discuss music for the ceremony. It is customary to use the organist employed by the church. However, if for some reason you wish to have an outside organist, you must secure approval from our Director of Music Ministries. The guest musician must be a trained church organist because our organist is responsible to the board of Trustees for the care of our organ. Any outside person using the organ is responsible to him/her. Only one scheduled practice time is permitted, as our organ is being used to practice for regularly scheduled church services.
A church wedding ceremony is a service of corporate worship and is an act of love toward God as much as toward each other. For this reason, the choice of music should be guided by the same principles as those used in the selection of music for any service of worship. Reverence and relevance to the christian view of faith and love should characterize every selection. Therefore, it is the policy of our church to restrict musical selections during the wedding ceremony to those approved by the church organist and the Worship Committee. No electronic tapes with amplifiers are allowed.
There is a plentiful supply of appropriate music for the organ and other instruments and for vocal music texts from scripture or other religious writings. Popular love songs with secular texts do not serve well in a religious ceremony, but may be used more appropriately at the rehearsal meal or reception.
Our church organist will be pleased to suggest a variety of the most suitable music for organ, solo voice, or instrumentalist. He or she will be happy to play a selection of compositions for you to hear and to aid you in your choices.
If you wish, you may have a bulletin printed for your wedding. There are several styles and covers available to use. Samples are available in the church office. They must be printed commercially at your expense. You should consult with the organist as to the musical selections and with the minister as to the order of the ceremony.
The wedding ceremony and actual rehearsal are under the direction of the minister. Our church does provide a member of the Wedding Committee to work with you to plan and to see that your wishes are carried out in keeping with the policies of the church and the desires of the officiating minister. She will discuss with you the actual placement of the participants, timing, seating, usher, etc. as well as suitable decorations for the Sanctuary.
In order to proceed with a smoothly executed rehearsal and wedding, we have found it necessary to limit the job of Wedding Director to a member of our church committee. Any one of the committee members can provide you and the minister with all of the assistance needed because of her training, experience, and knowledge of our buildings, our traditions, and our church policies. If you wish to ask a family member or friend to help the bridal party dress, that will be entirely appropriate. The Church Director will welcome her assistance in this area.
There is no fee for this service to church members. However, non-members are to pay a Director's Fee based on the amount of time required for advance planning as well as for the rehearsal and the wedding. This includes time spent in supervising placement of decorations, post-wedding photography, and clean up on the day of the wedding. (See Fee Schedule in Wedding Booklet.)
Please consult the church secretary for the name of the Wedding Committee Chairman, and please contact her right away. After her initial consultation with you, she will assign one of our directors for your wedding.
The Chancel Committee will also need to be made aware of what appointments you wish to use that belong to the church. A list of available items and a form to be filled out for the committee will be required. The Church Wedding Director will assist you in completing this and other forms.
The church has adequate facilities for the entire wedding party (male and female) to dress at the church. The custodian will be pleased to set up the room for your use. It is located on the second floor and has two full-length mirrors, clothes racks, and a convenient powder room. Facilities for the ushers are downstairs. Please ask a staff member to show you the room
The Church Parlor or Asbury Hall may be used for your reception. The doors to either of these offer a good entrace and exit for wedding guests. The receiving line may stand in the Parlor or Asbury Hall, and refreshments may be served in either room depending on the number of guests. The usage is predicted on the understanding that a minimum of furniture will be used.
Asbury Hall offers an attractive place for the serving of refreshments and is large enough for the fellowship that is enjoyed by the wedding guests, and for these reasons is recommended for your reception by the Wedding Committee
The church does not offer catering service. However, several local caterers are available to serve our brides. It is the bride's responsibility to contract and pay for these services. The caterer so used is responsible for leaving the building clean and in perfect order following the event. Any damages will be billed to the bride or to the caterer. Please contact the church office to secure the name of the person who will show you the available serving utensils, etc.
The custodian will take care of moving any furniture both before and after the reception and should be paid by the bride (See Fee Schedule.) If his services are used by the caterer, either before the reception or afterwards, to assist in cleaning up the kitchen, he must be paid an additional $10.00 per hour by the caterer.
As the custodian will be occupied in making the Sanctuary, Bride's Room, and other facilities ready for the regularly scheduled Sunday Services, he will not be available to assist the caterer during the reception. It is possible that our church maid may be contracted to provide some assistance in the kitchen and should be paid directly by the caterer.
The bride and groom are requested to advise members of the wedding party that they should refrain from the use of alcoholic beverages both before the rehearsal and the wedding ceremony. NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES OF ANY KIND ARE TO BE CONSUMED ANYWHERE ON CHURCH PROPERTY!
Certain rules and regulations have been formulated by the Worship Committee to ensure that the wedding setting portrays a feeling of worship and reverence. The bride is expected to acquaint her florist with the following information:
1.The Sanctuary will be prepared for the wedding by the custodian and the Chancel Committee. The wedding kneeler and altar appointments will be in place before the florist arrives. Neither the altar nor the sedelia (Minister's seats) can be moved.
2. Flower stands can be used in several places, provided they do not interfere with the duties of the minister or the vision of the organist. NO FLOWERS ARE TO BE PLACED ON THE ALTAR. They may be used on a stand behind the altar, provided they are not so high as to hide the floor cross. Only vases belonging to the church may be used within the Sanctuary. Special consideration as to size and placement should be made if the flowers are to be left for the Sunday service.
3. No candelabras are to be used behind the altar as they will be too high for the cross. No plants, candelabras, tacks, scotch tape, or adhesive tape are to be placed on any pews or chancel furniture. No greenery or flowers may be attached to furniture, communion railing, walls, or columns.
4. Only ribbon or rubber bands may be used to anchor pew markers or bows. Small arrangements of flowers or greenery may be used as pew markers if they are attached to covered clips.
5. All candles in candelabras must be in Chace-type holders to avoid dripping. No candles may be used in the windows except battery ones. The church will furnish all candles for the altar and for the candelabras for a small replacement fee. We do not use a unity candle or unity sand in our church.
6. Immediately after the wedding, the church must be cleared of all decorations of any kind by the parties who placed them there. If you plan to leave a flower arrangement for Sunday service, please notify the church office well in advance of the wedding date.
7. In case of any damage, the parties decorating will be held responsible. The church will have the damage repaired, and the bill will be sent to the bride or the person responsible.
8. A member of the Chancel Committee must be present when the church is being decorated and when decorations are removed. Please make arrangements with your director as to the time you and/or your florist wish to have this done. The building must be unlocked and the alarm system deactivated by authorized personnel.
9. The florist should plan to deliver flowers before noon on the wedding day. This allows final preparations to go smoothly.
Certain expenses are the responsibility of the bride and groom. We list them in order that there may be no misunderstanding. Please see the attached Fee Schedule for pricing.
Pastor - It is customary for the couple to provide an honorarium to the pastor, but it is not required if one of them is a member of this church. If such a gift is made, it should be in proportion to the other wedding expenses and take into account the effort of the pastor in providing counseling and guidance to the couple.
Organist - The organist's fee is based on the amount of time required for practicing with soloists or instrumentalists and the amount of music selected by the bride. Consideration should be given to the fact that there is a rehearsal as well as the wedding.
Director - There is no fee given to the Church Wedding Director by members. She volunteers her time as a service to the church. However, because of the extra time involved in the planning and execution of the wedding for a nonmember, a fee will be charged.
Custodian - His fee is based on the type of service and the hours required by him to prepare the facilities for the rehearsal, wedding, and reception, and then to prepare the same facilities for any regularly scheduled church service later.
Use of Building - There are no fees for members. Non-members are asked to pay costs covering the use of electricity, heat or air-conditioning according to the facilities used.
There are several forms to be filled out and returned to the church. Please complete and return these right away.
Forms for the Wedding Director and Chancel Committee can be filled out at the time of your consultation with the director assigned to you. Information required on these forms can be added to or changed at any time.
List of appointments available for use in the Sanctuary and Chapel and for receptions, as well as a seating chart for the Sanctuary can be found in the church office. The Sanctuary will seat a maximum of 620 and the Chapel about 50. Instructions for your photographer(s) are also included.
Groomsmen and/or Ushers - It is entirely appropriate to utilize additional men as ushers to escort guests to their seats without having them participate as members of the actual wedding party. They may be seated with the guests before the ceremony or seated at the rear of the Sanctuary. They are often used to open the exterior doors at the conclusion of the service. Consult your director.
Children in Wedding Party - The ministers and Wedding Committee strongly recommend that you take into account the age and maturity of any preschool children you may consider adding to your attendants. Children under 5 years of age very rarely behave appropriately. They may refuse to walk down the aisle, may move around during the ceremony, may ask to be held, and be generally disruptive. The focus then shifts from the bride and groom to the behavior of the children and is no longer "cute."
Please feel free to consult the minister if you have any questions. He and other members of the staff will do all they can to help you plan and carry out any arrangements for your wedding.
1. Contact Senior Minister to schedule wedding and rehearsal date (Also reception if desired.)
2. Pick up wedding information from church office. Read carefully!
3. Submit application form (reservation) for use of room(s) for wedding, rehearsal, etc.
4. Return information sheet to minister.
5. Contact church organist and make an appointment to discuss music.
6. Contact church secretary regarding wedding flowers to be left for Sunday service.
7. Contact chairman of Wedding Committee and make appointment with her to review church policies. (Name can be secured from office.) Secure name of your Wedding Director.
8. Engage florist and photographer. Select flowers and decorations in keeping with church regulations.
9. For members: Pay candle fee
For non-members: Pay one-half (1/2) of the total fees.
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE:
1. Meet with church Wedding Director assigned to you.
2. Give photographer(s) regulations for taking pictures and video; also a list of suggested shots.
THE WEEK OF THE WEDDING (and before the rehearsal):
1. Pay remaining fees.
1. Submit typed list of reserved seating for bride and groom to the director at least one day prior to the rehearsal, if possible.
When selecting attendants, do not count the maid or matron of honor as a bridesmaid, nor the best man as a groomsman. An even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen (in addition to the honor attendants) makes an attractive wedding party, although you may have more men than women.
No rice nor flower petals may be thrown anywhere on church property. It is slick and dangerous underfoot. Birdseed may be used instead.