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Wedding Guidelines for Christ United Methodist Church

The Christian Wedding
Christ United Methodist Church welcomes and supports you as you prepare for your wedding ceremony in our facility. Marriage is a serious commitment, a meaningful worship service and a statement of your personal faith. As the Sanctuary is a place of worship, and because we believe your wedding is important, we have the same standards for weddings that we have for Sunday morning worship services. This document outlines our church’s guidelines and official policy for weddings, wedding rehearsals and wedding receptions. These guidelines are intended to help your wedding be a beautiful, Christ-centered worship experience.

First Steps
The first steps in preparing for your wedding involve initial planning for available dates and meeting with the wedding coordinator and pastor. Members, regular visitors, or their family members may have weddings at Christ United Methodist Church. An outline of the process is as follows:

  • Contact the church Administrative Assistant to review the available dates for your wedding on the church calendar. Your wedding date will tentatively be placed on the calendar. You may either pick up a copy of the wedding guidelines and forms, or they may be mailed to you as you provide your current mailing address.
  • After receiving and reviewing the guidelines, the couple should schedule an appointment with one of the pastors to ensure that the plans for the wedding and the church’s philosophy are compatible.
  • Confirmation of the wedding date and concrete planning for the wedding should be made only after the couple has met with the pastor.
  • Return the completed forms with the deposit to the church office. If you have any questions regarding the forms or policies, you may contact the wedding coordinator.

Pre-Marital Counseling and Clergy
It is the philosophy of the church that preparation for your marriage is vital to the success of your marriage. For this reason, pre-marital counseling with the officiating pastor is required, and it is important to schedule adequate time prior to the wedding date. Visiting pastors are welcome; however, the invitation for the visiting pastor to participate in the wedding should be made by the pastor of Christ United Methodist Church. Please discuss this in your initial appointment with the pastor.

Wedding Date
The wedding date and time is scheduled in the order of requests that have been properly confirmed through the initial consultation with a pastor of Christ United Methodist Church as outlined previously. Only one wedding can be scheduled per day. We will make every effort to accommodate your desired date and time, but care will be taken to ensure that previously scheduled weddings and church programs are adequately protected. The rehearsal for the wedding party is normally scheduled the evening before the wedding. One hour is the normal time allotted for the rehearsal; therefore, we ask that the bride and groom emphasize to the participants that everyone needs to be on time. In order to adequately prepare the facility for the next day’s activities, Saturday wedding parties must vacate the premises not later than 9:00 p.m. Other days may be flexible, but this must be arranged in advance with the wedding coordinator.

Wedding Coordinator
Weddings at Christ United Methodist Church require that the church’s Wedding Coordinator be present at the rehearsal, wedding and reception (if held at the church). The coordinator’s compensation is included in the church fee. The services of the coordinator include:

  • One planning session and facility tour with the couple at the church.
  • Direction of the rehearsal.
  • Direction of the wedding.
  • Designated person to open and close the church and observe that guidelines are being met.

The bride will need to update the designated Wedding Coordinator with any revisions to plans.

Reception/Rehearsal Dinner
The reception or rehearsal dinner may be held in either the Fellowship Hall or the Commons of the church. If you should desire to have your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner at the church, please initially reserve the date with the church Administrative Assistant. Details will be coordinated with the wedding coordinator at the time of your planning meeting. Additional custodial fees are required for these activities and are outlined in the Finance section of the guidelines. The caterer is responsible for providing all items required for the reception. It is expected that the caterer will professionally care for the church facilities and that all equipment will be removed immediately after the catered event. The kitchen and all areas used for the reception must be cleaned up by the caterer immediately following the reception. Food and beverages cannot be taken into the sanctuary. Alcoholic beverages and smoking are not permitted in the building. Rice, birdseed and confetti are safety hazards and should not be used when the couple leaves the church or at any time before, during or after the service. Bubbles are an appropriate alternative but must be used only outside of the church building.

Music
Music is a wonderful way to enhance the worship experience and celebrate God’s love in a tangible way. The music should direct attention to God, who sanctifies marriage, and special care should be taken to assure that it is appropriate. The music may begin up to 30 minutes prior to the service. As this is a service of worship, the congregation may be invited to join in the singing of hymns at appropriate times in the service. Vocal and/or instrumental solos are another way to enhance the wedding music. As a rule, secular ballads, love songs, and popular music are not considered appropriate for Christian worship. Please be sure to select music and musicians that will enhance the worship experience of your wedding. Our church accompanist may be available to play for your wedding. Please contact the church to check on his availability.

Pre-Recorded Music
To preserve the integrity and incarnational nature of the worship service, pre-recorded music (including accompaniment tracks) is not permitted.

Audio Recording
If an audio recording of the service is desired, note this on the reservation form. Arrangements will be made with one of the Christ United Methodist Church sound technicians to insure the tape is properly made.

Floral Decorations and Sanctuary Furnishings
Christ United Methodist Church is pleased to work with your florist to preserve the theological symbols of the sanctuary. The following policies are provided to guide the family and the florist in making plans for the wedding:

  • The florist must coordinate the time for delivery of the flowers and decorations with the wedding coordinator.
  • The pulpit, lectern, piano, cross, altar table, seasonal banners and paraments are not to be moved, and hymnals and Bibles are not to be used as props.
  • Seating may not be altered without prior arrangement.
  • The church is pleased to provide the altar candles. No other candles are provided by the church. Unity candle is not available from the church.
  • Please provide protective material beneath floral containers.
  • The florist should use special care when decorating with candelabras to ensure the decorations are not too close to the flame of the candles.
  • Care should be given to protect the furnishings of the church.
  • The florist is responsible for cleaning once the decorating is completed.
  • The florist should promptly remove all equipment immediately following the final photographs and departure of guests.

Photographer
The photographer is an important person in weddings and we welcome them to our church for their work. In keeping with the sanctity of the service, the Worship Committee has established the following policies:

  • The photographer may take photographs in the church or on the grounds preceding and following the ceremony, however, the time of the photographs must be coordinated with the wedding coordinator. They normally begin no earlier than 2 hours prior to the wedding.
  • When the pastor begins speaking, all photographs must cease.
  • Photographs may be taken from the narthex during the recessional.
  • Pictures with flash, flood lights or camera lights may not be used in the sanctuary during the ceremony.
  • Videotaping or filming of the wedding with the available light of the sanctuary is allowed. The camera must be kept stationary on a tripod with the location to be determined an hour prior to the ceremony.

It is the responsibility of the couple to inform the photographer/videographer of these policies prior to the wedding. The Wedding Coordinator will review the policies with the photographer/videographer upon his or her arrival at the church.

Wedding Bulletins
If a printed bulletin is to be part of the wedding, the preparation and printing is the responsibility of the bride and groom. The order of worship will be determined while meeting with the officiating pastor. Please have the wedding bulletin reviewed by the officiating pastor prior to printing. Please include the following statement in your wedding bulletins: “We request that there be no flash pictures during the service.”

Dressing Areas
Dressing areas are available for all members of the wedding party. The Wedding Coordinator will show these areas at the time of the initial meeting. Dresses and tuxedos should not be delivered to the church prior to the arrival of the wedding party. Food and drink (non-alcoholic) are welcome to be brought in for the wedding party. Food and drink is restricted to the dressing areas. Please designate someone to be responsible for cleanup of the dressing areas prior to leaving the building.

Wedding Gifts
If guests bring gifts to the wedding, arrangements should be made to take the gifts with you when you leave.

Nursery & Custodial Services
If a nursery is required, a Christ United Methodist Church nursery worker must be in attendance and paid at our normal rate. This must be arranged a minimum of 3 weeks prior to the wedding with the Wedding Coordinator. Our childcare policy states that there must be a minimum of two workers to care for children, so please coordinate whether you will provide a volunteer or if other paid personnel must assist. The church will provide custodial services within the building. Please designate someone in the wedding party to be sure that the grounds are left in the same condition as when you arrived, especially if you are using the Pavilion for any part of your wedding.

Finances Related to Your Wedding
A security deposit is due upon completion of initial Pastor meeting and acceptance of wedding guidelines. The wedding party is responsible for insuring that the areas of the church are left in good condition. This will be promptly refunded if there are no damages. The following fees are due to the church office 3 weeks prior to the wedding unless noted otherwise:

  • Security Deposit: $50.00
  • Wedding Fee: $425.00 (includes fees for Wedding Coordinator, Sound Technician and Custodian)
  • Reception: $150.00 if applicable.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: $150.00 if applicable.
  • Accompanist: $100.00 recommended rate: paid directly to the individual.
  • Nursery Workers Normal rate: check with Wedding Coordinator

If the couple is experiencing serious financial hardship, please make this information available to the pastor.