Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between two people made in the presence of God. Marriage in the Church is a Sacrament – that is, the ceremony is an outward sign of the invisible work God accomplishes in joining two human lives together in one common bond. We rejoice to be the bearers of this Sacrament when two people come before God seeking to join their lives together in love.
St. Andrew's takes seriously its responsibility to help engaged couples enter into this sacred covenant. We want to nurture successful, life-long marriages and healthy families in the Church and to contribute to your happiness as a couple. With great joy and seriousness we honor the promises you are about to make.
Some FAQ’s about Weddings at St. Andrew's:
Who may be married at St. Andrew's?
Members of the Parish in good standing may, of course, be married in this, their Parish Church, and should contact the priest to make plans for a wedding. Couples who are not members of the Parish are also welcome to be married in the church, by permission of the Rector. The Episcopal Church requires that at least one of the parties be baptized. To determine if marriage at St. Andrew's appropriate, couples who are not members of the Parish should contact one of the priest to arrange for an introductory meeting. If after this meeting it seems agreeable to both the couple and the priest, preparations and planning for the wedding will proceed.
What kind of preparation is required?
The clergy are required to ensure that “both parties have been instructed as to the nature, meaning and purpose of Holy Matrimony.” At St. Andrew's we generally try to accomplish this preparation in discussions that take place between the couple being married and the priest performing the ceremony. Normally, three hours of preparation is required (i.e. three separate one-hour sessions). These discussions would normally cover topics ranging from the Church’s theology of marriage to specific arrangements for the wedding ceremony. The discussions are meant also to provide the priest an opportunity to get to know a couple (and vice versa) and to assess their readiness to enter into a life-long covenant. This requires a measure of openness and self-disclosure on the part of the couple, as well as fairness and discretion on the part of the priest. The priest retains the right to decline to perform any marriage as a matter of personal judgment and discretion.
May a divorced person be married here?
Episcopal Church rules allow for the marriage of a divorced person with the consent of the diocesan bishop. As a part of the preparation for marriage the priest will inquire about previous marriages and the circumstances that resulted in divorce. If the priest is satisfied that the issues that resulted in the failure of a previous marriage do not constitute an impediment to another marriage, he or she will request permission from the diocesan bishop to perform the marriage.
May a same-gender couple be married here?
Yes, same-gender couples may be married at St. Andrew's and should follow all of the same steps outlined above
How do we plan the wedding ceremony?
Wedding ceremonies at St. Andrew's must conform to the regular pattern of the church’s worship as laid out in the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. The somewhat traditional structure of the marriage rite laid out there allows for some significant variation, which must all be discussed with the priest performing the ceremony. The priest is required to use the vows as they are set out in the Prayer Book and does not have discretion to allow the couple to write their own vows. The priest will work with the couple to help select readings and make other choices about the service.
May we have a Mass as part of the wedding ceremony?
There are two kinds of wedding ceremonies. The Wedding Office is a short service (about 30 minutes, with music) that includes a procession, readings, prayers, a homily, the exchange of vows and rings, and a blessing of the marriage. The Nuptial Mass includes everything in the Wedding Office and then continues with a celebration of Holy Eucharist, offered in thanksgiving for the couple’s marriage.
At St. Andrew's we are happy to perform either kind of wedding ceremony. Since the Mass is the principle act of Christian worship, one of St. Andrew's the chief Sacraments of God’s love and grace for his people and an offering of praise and thanksgiving, it is almost always appropriate to include a celebration of the Mass with the Marriage rite, but it is not required. The priest will discuss this matter with the couple during the course of preparation.
Rehearsal – A wedding rehearsal, lasting about one hour, conducted by the officiating priest is normally held on the evening before.
Seating – The seating capacity of the church is about 280.