Weddings at St. John’s

Best wishes and God’s blessings are in order for you as a couple planning to be married! Family life is one of God’s most wonderful gifts. In Holy Matrimony you have the opportunity to make a life-long commitment to one another before God and His Church. Prayers are offered for your life together, and God’s blessing is pronounced upon the union of husband and wife.

There are a number of procedures and customs of the Episcopal Church and St. John’s that you should keep in mind as you make your plans. The clergy will be happy to discuss the details with you.

Since this service is a Sacrament of the Church, the priest is in charge. At St. John’s, priests work together to determine both if and when a wedding may take place. At the rehearsal and the wedding, the priest will be assisted by members of the Altar Guild. If questions arise or help is needed, we hope you will call upon the priest or the members of the Altar Guild.

Table of Contents

Preliminary Arrangements
Premarital Preparation
Requirements for Marriage
Wedding Vows
Scripture Readings
Holy Communion
Suitable Dates for a Wedding
Photography Policy
Acolytes and Sextons
Receptions at St. John's
The Day of Your Wedding

Preliminary Arrangements
The Laws of the Church state that the priest should be notified at least thirty days prior to any proposed first marriage. Traditionally, preparation usually takes a minimum of 4-6 months. As soon as you plan to be married at St. John’s, call the church office to set up an appointment with the Rector If this is a second marriage for either party, a priest should be contacted at least three months in advance. The Church’s laws concerning marriage after a divorce will be explained at that time. If either, or both, of you have been divorced two or more times, additional counseling by a marriage counselor is required prior to the consideration of premarital counseling with priest. In any case, a firm date for your wedding cannot be set until the priest has concurred. The Rector has the final authority.
St. John’s facilities are open primarily to parish members.

Premarital Preparation
The number of sessions is at the discretion of the priest, but in no case fewer than three months. The number of sessions varies and will be determined by the priest who is conducting the wedding. These sessions are designed to assist you in preparing for a life long union.

These sessions are usually done by the priest of St. John’s. However, in unusual circumstances, arrangements may be made for the sessions to be done by another Episcopal priest or qualified marriage counselor. The Church’s purpose for these sessions is to encourage a life-long marriage and the understanding of what actually takes place in the wedding service.

If either of you has been divorced, permission for the marriage must be obtained from the Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina at least thirty days prior to the date of the wedding. This means you will need to complete these sessions at least three months prior to your tentative wedding date. Be sure to notify the priest right away that you are divorced, so that the requirements of the bishop can be completed as soon as possible. If either, or both, of you has been divorced two or more times, additional extensive counseling by a marriage counselor is required prior to the sessions with one of the priests. This also presumes each party’s divorce was finalized more than one year prior. The priest will counsel carefully and one should expect great care and caution.

Baptism required
At least one of the persons to be married must have received the sacrament of Holy Baptism, (see the Book of Common Prayer, page 422). The Episcopal Church accepts the baptism of any Christian tradition, which baptizes in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you are unsure about this, ask the priest.

Membership required
Because Christian Marriage is best lived out in the context of the community of faith, participation in the life of a Christian community is required. If the couple is not currently a member of St John’s, now is the time to start. Being a member of a church entails regular participation in worship, being a part of a ministry, and giving financially to the Church. Please discuss this openly with the priest.

Wedding Vows
Wedding vows may be found in the Book of Common Prayer on Page 427. All weddings at St John’s adhere to the service in the Book of Common Prayer. There are no changes to the Prayer Book service. Couples may not write their own vows.

Scripture Readings
Readings for the service come from the Holy Bible only. The bride and groom should work with the priest to choose the actual selections from the recommended readings. Readers should be chosen by the bride and groom. It is quite appropriate for members of the family, the wedding party, or guests to participate reading lessons. The version of the Bible used by the Episcopal Church is the New Revised Standard Version. Readers of lessons should prepare their readings in that translation.

One or more of the following passages from Holy Scripture may be used. If there is to be Holy Eucharist, a passage from the Gospel always concludes the Readings.

Genesis 1:26-28 (Male and female he created them)

Genesis 2:4-9, 15-24 (A man cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh)
Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7 (Many waters cannot quench love)

Tobit 8:5b-8 (New English Bible) (That she and I may grow old together)
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (Love is patient and kind)

Ephesians 3:14-19 (The Father from whom every family is named)

Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33 (Walk in love, as Christ loved us)
Colossians 3:12-17 (Love which binds everything together in harmony)
1 John 4:7-16 (Let us love one another for love is of God)

Between the Readings, a Psalm, hymn, or anthem may be sung or said.
 Appropriate Psalms are:

Psalm 67
Psalm 127
Psalm 128

Gospel readings are read by a priest or deacon.

Matthew 5:1-10 (The Beatitudes)
Matthew 5:13-16 (You are the light...Let your light so shine)

Matthew 7:21,24-29 (Like a wise man who built his house upon the rock)
Mark 10:6-9,13-16 (They are no longer two but one)
John 15:9-12 (Love one another as I have loved you)

Holy Eucharist
The Book of Common Prayer envisions Holy Matrimony as part of the larger Holy Eucharist service. Weddings at Saint John’s have three ways forms of Holy Eucharist at weddings.

  1. Full Holy Eucharist for the entire assembled congregation (much like is seen on Sundays.)
  2. The administration of the Holy Eucharist to the newly married couple only.
  3. No Eucharist at all.

Speak with the priest to see what is most appropriate for your wedding.

Suitable Wedding Dates
Weddings are not scheduled at St. John’s during the 40 days of Lent. The priest assisting you will help you select a date.

St. John’s worship space seats about 500 people.

Suggestions for floral arrangements can be given by the Altar Guild. Normally two floral arrangements on either side of the altar are suggested. Ribbons, live flowers or greenery may be used to mark family pews. Please use fresh flowers only.

Church flowers should be delivered in accordance with arrangements made with the Altar Guild. The florist should see that the bride’s flowers, attendants’ flowers and boutonnieres are delivered to the church at least one hour before the ceremony.

It is the custom at St. John’s that the flowers used on the altar remain for the Sunday service, after which they are delivered to shut-ins or the sick. If there is a shut-in family member who cannot attend the wedding and who lives within a reasonable distance of the church, the wedding flowers can be delivered to that person upon request of the family.

The time for the wedding rehearsal will be set by the priest in consultation with the bride and groom. Since large numbers of persons are involved in the wedding rehearsal, it is very important that everyone arrive on time. Furthermore, we may have another rehearsal scheduled immediately following yours. After everyone is present, the rehearsal should take approximately forty-five minutes. Someone from the Altar Guild will be present to assist.
State law requires that clergy must have the marriage license in hand before they officiate at a wedding. Please bring the marriage license to the parish office by Tuesday of the week of the wedding, so that it can be properly prepared.

Photography Policy
We want to acknowledge the important contribution that pictures make to the memories of this glorious day in the life of a couple. The purpose of this policy statement is not to detract from the day, but to add to it.
 NO pictures may be taken during the service. A flash shot may be taken as the bride enters the South Transept before and after the wedding by a professional photographer only. Remote video photography may be done from the choir loft by a professional videographer only. During the wedding, pictures may be taken from the choir loft with existing lighting. Please inform your photographer of this information. Before the wedding begins you may take pictures outside the church or in the dressing area or other areas of the building, provided they do not impede preparations for the prompt start of the service. Pictures may be taken inside the Nave immediately following the ceremony. We request that the time for taking these pictures be limited to thirty (30) minutes.

One acolyte of the parish will customarily assist at all weddings. Acolytes are asked to attend the wedding rehearsal but do not need to be included in the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception.

The Sexton will be present at all weddings to prepare and subsequently clean the church.

Receptions at St. John’s
The Parish Hall and the Memorial Garden are available for receptions. For St. John’s members in good standing, there is a charge of $750 for use of the Parish Hall and no charge for use of the Memorial Garden. All flowers, arrangements, decorations and refreshments are provided by the family. The family is asked to remove these items following the reception.

The church has two candelabra available for use in weddings, if desired.

Following are the fees associated with having a wedding at St. John’s if either of you is a member. (Link to membership page) These fees should be submitted to the Executive Assistant to the Rector by Tuesday of the week of the wedding.

Pledging member fee: $475, plus priest’s honorarium.

This fee includes: $200/organist (who will assist in planning the music and will provide the music for the service), $100/sexton (who will open the church prior to the wedding and clean up afterwards), $25/acolyte, and $150/Altar Guild (who set up for the wedding and assist the clergy with directing the wedding). The priest’s honorarium is at your discretion.

Officiant of the Wedding
The rehearsal and the wedding ceremony are conducted by the clergy of St. John’s. If you desire to have another clergy person conduct the service or assist in it, this should first be discussed with the Rector, who may extend the necessary invitation.

The Episcopal Church requires sacred music appropriate to weddings. Music selection is made with the Organist, who is normally expected to play for all weddings or to secure an appropriate substitute.
St. John’s Organist interprets the guidelines, assists the couple in selection of music, and approves the music with the final approval of the Rector. We encourage the singing of hymns as part of the worship in the marriage service.
Should you desire additional musicians or vocalists for your service, the Organist can assist you in your selection. Your cooperation will ensure that the service of worship, in which a man and a woman commit their lives to each other, will be a reverent and joyous occasion.

The Day of the Wedding
For your benefit the church’s Sexton will open the church 1½ hours (90 minutes) before the wedding. The church will be closed one half hour after the wedding.