The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
Wedding Guidelines – St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
- Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament of the Church. We trust that couples who desire to be married wish to enter into a sacramental relationship, to have their relationship blessed by God, and that the service to be held in the church is a Christian service.
- Canon Law of the Church specifies that the Rector must have at least thirty days notice. This is an absolute minimum – more notice is preferred.
- One of the parties to the marriage must be a baptized Christian.
- The order of service will be The Celebration of a Marriage in the Book of Common Prayer.
- The Rector will require a minimum of three counseling sessions with the couple prior to the wedding to discuss issues relating to marriage.
- Before the wedding is performed the couple must deliver to the Rector a license from the civil authority.
- The Rector/clergy may decline to perform any marriage ceremony, and may or may not disclose a reason.
- In all instances of remarriage the Rector/clergy must receive permission from the Bishop of the Diocese to do so. All petitions must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the proposed wedding date.
- For a second marriage, a waiting period of one year from the date of the final divorce decree is normally required, unless there has been a lengthy (in excess of two years) separation.
- In the event of third marriage the parties to the proposed marriage must consult a licensed marriage therapist as to their readiness for marriage. A written opinion from the therapist must be conveyed to the petitioning priest and included with the petition to the Bishop.
- Petitions for a fourth marriage will not be considered unless under very unusual circumstances.
- In all instances of remarriage the couple will have a minimum of four counseling sessions.
- A rehearsal is usually held the evening before the day of the marriage at a time convenient for the wedding party, the organist, and the officiating clergy.
- St. Mark’s Organist/Director of Music must be contacted at the beginning of the planning process, to secure the dates and times and to allow our musician to find a substitute if for some reason he is unable to play on that particular day.
- The Priest and Organist/Director of Music are to be consulted about any music to be used in the service.
- Music must be appropriate to a religious service; secular music is appropriate for the reception but not the wedding.
- The couple must employ St. Mark’s organist if there is to be organ or piano music; other music requests need to be negotiated with, and approved by, clergy and the St. Mark’s organist.
- Flowers for the wedding are to be discussed with the officiating clergy.
- Normally flowers are left in the Church after the wedding, but alternative arrangements may be made.
- The preferred florist is McPhail’s.
- Flower Girls: No flower petals of any sort may be scattered in the aisle during a wedding procession.
- Taking photos in the church must cease immediately after the bridal procession, and 30 minutes after the ceremony.
- Taking photos during the service is not allowed.
- Videographers are allowed in the choir loft only.
- The wedding party is asked to inform the photographer of these rules. Photographers who do not comply will be refused permission to take further pictures and will be denied permission to photograph future weddings at St. Mark’s.
- St. Mark’s does not have a wedding guild for wedding receptions. Any requests for receptions in the Parish Hall need to be coordinated through the church office. Any arrangements for receptions need to be handled exclusively by the wedding party.
- If alcoholic beverages are served at the reception, there must be attractive, alternative, non-alcoholic beverages served as well.
- The church sexton must be contracted by the wedding party, for all weddings.
- $350 for Organist/Director of Music (and additional fees for extra musicians)
- $350 (minimum) for Clergy
- $100 for sexton
- $200 for use of church
- Additional fees for use of Parish Hall if used for a Reception
Reconciliation of a Penitent
Reconciliation of a Penitent is a ministry “which has been committed by Christ to his Church, is exercised through the care each Christian has for others, through the common prayer of Christians assembled for public worship, and through the priesthood of the Church and its ministers declaring absolution. The Reconciliation of a Penitent is available for all who desire it. It is not restricted to times of sickness. Confessions may be heard anytime and anywhere.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 446). St. Mark’s clergy are available to hear confessions upon request. The season of Lent is a particularly appropriate time for this ministry.
“The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 507)
The clergy of St. Mark’s will officiate at funerals or memorial services in the church, in our chapel, at funeral homes, or at the graveside. Services in the church are preferred and recommended. The Book of Common Prayer includes both Rite I and Rite II services, which may or may not include a celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
- The burial will be according to the Book of Common Prayer.
- With respect to music during the service, the St. Mark’s organist must either play or give permission to other musicians to play for the service.
- The music chosen for the service must be appropriate to worship.
- The organist’s fee for funerals is $250.
- There is a $100 building use fee for the sexton.
- The clergy do not charge a fee for funerals.
- Any eulogies, other than the clergy’s homily, are permitted only at the discretion of the clergy.
- Only one flower arrangement is permitted in the sanctuary, and we recommend the church’s florist, McPhail’s.
- Any other flower arrangements must be placed either in the Narthex or in the Parish Hall.
- Receptions following the service may be arranged for in our Parish Hall.
Reading options for the Burial of the Dead from The Book of Common Prayer:
From the Old Testament:
- Isaiah 25:6-9 (He will swallow up death for ever)
- Isaiah 61:1-3 (To comfort those who mourn)
- Lamentations 3:22-26,31-33 (The Lord is good to those who wait for him)
- Wisdom 3:1-5,9 (The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God)
- Job 19:21-27a (I know that my Redeemer lives)
From the New Testament:
- Romans 8:14-19,34-35,37-39 (The glory that shall be revealed)
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,35-38,42-44,53-58 (The imperishable body)
- 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:9 (Things that are unseen are eternal)
- 1 John 3:1-2 (We shall be like him)
- Revelation 7:9-17 (God will wipe away every tear)
- Revelation 21:2-7 (Behold, I make all things new)
From The Gospel: