Weddings at St. Luke's

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Thank you for your interest in celebrating your nuptials at our parish. At St. Luke’s, we recognize the holiness of all human relationships and celebrate our ability to perform marriage rites for any couple, including same-sex couples.  We love the joy of a good wedding and we will strive to make your day special.  While stress can often accompany, “the big day,” it is our belief that there is nothing to fear.  We are here to reflect the love of God, and to do all we can to support you in your life in Christ, with each other.  That being said: relax and enjoy. You are in good hands.  God bless you in your journey together.

A “church marriage” is normally held at the parish that is the spiritual home of at least one of the persons being married. This means that they, or their family, are on record as being active, giving members of the parish.  Christians and Episcopalians from another parish may, with their minister’s permission and support, be married here, under certain conditions. That being said, if our church calendar permits, the rector may consider making the church grounds available for a non-parish affiliated wedding.

A couple being married is advised to attend Sunday services at St. Luke’s consistently, after introducing themselves to the Rector, to help establish a relationship with the community before marriage plans are discussed.  It is important that St. Luke’s can be a parish where the couple will feel spiritually comfortable and nurtured in their marriage.  Persons who have no interest in church affiliation are urged to reflect why they wish to have their marriage blessed in a religious setting.

If the interest in having your wedding at St. Luke’s is simply a matter of a “beautiful venue,” then an alternate set of conditions and fees apply.  Please consult the Rector for details.

Divorced persons may be remarried in the Episcopal Church.

Setting a wedding date:

Dates for weddings cannot be reserved until both parties have met with the Rector.  Although the Canons (church laws) state that the absolute minimum notice for a wedding date is 30 days, it is unusual for less than 90 days to be considered adequate notice. This is due to the length of time needed to conduct required premarital counseling adequately (usually five sessions).  Please do not publicize any dates before you consult with the Rector.

Weddings are not usually performed during Lent, Holy Week, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve or Day, New Year’s Eve or Day. The time of day for the ceremony is to be arranged with the Rector.

Who may officiate?

The Rector or any clergy on staff at St. Luke’s may perform the wedding ceremony. Occasionally, another Episcopal clergy may assist or celebrate if the Rector grants permission. Clergy of other denominations are welcome to assist the parish clergy with the ceremony.  In any event, the clergy of St. Luke’s are the final liturgical authority for any weddings on the premises.

The Cost of a Wedding:

Although there is no “fee” for any sacrament in the Church, there are costs associated with weddings at the parish.  The Rector determines any exceptions. Once a wedding date is confirmed, a deposit of $1000 is requested to reserve the premises.  All outstanding balances and honorariums are due at the wedding rehearsal.

Organist – The cost for the Organist/Music Director is $350; this includes a consultation with the couple regarding music to be selected for the wedding. If the organist is to attend the rehearsal, there is an extra fee of $100.

It is the responsibility of the couple to contact the parish Music Director/Organist as soon as the wedding date has officially been set with the rector. The best time to reach the parish Music Director is on Sunday mornings at St. Luke’s. For further information, please see the section below on music selections.

Additional musicians or soloists – The parish maintains relationships with a number of music professionals who are given priority for their services. If such professionals are provided by the parish, each additional musician’s honorarium is $200, which includes rehearsal time with the organist.

Donation to the Church – This donation is divided between the Altar Guild and the parish to cover the costs incurred by having a service here and to signify support for the ongoing ministry and mission of the parish. The Altar Guild prepares and cleans the church. A member of the Altar Guild will be present to assist in making your wedding a wonderful and happy occasion. The funds for the parish offset operation expenses incurred by the wedding (electricity, maintenance of grounds, etc.) and assist the community in maintaining and growing the mission of the parish.  The amount of this donation is to be discussed with the Rector.  We invite couples to consider a tithe (10%) of the total cost of their wedding (including reception) as their parish contribution. (For example: if the total wedding budget is $10,000, then a contribution of $1000 (the appreciated minimum) to the parish is appropriate.  If the wedding budget is $100,000, then $10,000 would be in line with a 10% tithe.)

Honorarium for the officiating priest – This donation for the priest’s time (including pre-marital counseling) goes to the clergy discretionary account to assist with parish and pastoral outreach. The suggested minimum contribution is $500.

Music for the wedding.

The Celebration and Blessing of a marriage is an act of worship on the part of all present. The liturgy is designed to express the faith of the Church, your faith, and the desire that God will bless your marriage. Since you have chosen to begin your married life within the context of worship, the music chosen (as at any service of worship) shall be compatible with the Church’s understanding of worship – an offering of praise and thanksgiving to God. While that does not mean you are limited to “traditional” or “ancient” music, it does mean that most “pop” music is not fitting.

The Director of Music at Saint Luke’s is responsible for coordinating music at all services, in consultation with the Rector, and has knowledge of appropriate and beautiful music for wedding ceremonies, and is most willing to discuss all aspects of the music for your wedding with you. It will be your responsibility to contact the Director of Music as soon as possible after a date has been set for your wedding the make an appointment for a consultation regarding your wedding music. The acting Rector has final approval of all music requests, in consultation with the Director of Music.

If additional musicians or soloists are desired, the parish encourages you to make use of the professional singers currently employed by the Parish music program. Soloists from outside the Parish music program may only be used with the approval of Director of Music in consultation with the Rector.

If you wish another organist to play at the service, permission can only be granted by the Director of Music with the concurrence of the Rector. In the event of another organist being permitted to play, the parish organist will still receive an honorarium in accordance with his oversight responsibilities.

Photography and Video during the wedding:

Recording an event in the church should never intrude upon or obscure the ceremony itself.  A wedding is a service of Christian worship and a sacrament, and therefore nothing should be allowed to distract those involved from worshipping God and enjoying the celebration. We insist that photographers be unobtrusive, cooperative, and respectful of the church and its furnishings, and be willing to work under the instructions of the Rector and parish staff. We do not permit any flash photography during the wedding ceremony. Your photographer must use available light, working within specified areas of the church, to photograph the ceremony, but may use flash photography after the service as the wedding party leaves the church. Videotaping is permitted from specified locations using available light. Microphones used for videotaping must be unobtrusive, with the cordless clip-on variety being most preferable. Posed flash photographs in the church are permitted before and after the ceremony, although we do ask that you have your photographer conclude the posing and taking of photographs in the church twenty minutes after the ceremony so that the Altar Guild members may complete their tasks and your guests may welcome you at your reception in a timely manner. For these reasons, we encourage you to schedule posed photographs to be taken in the church prior to the service instead of after the service (especially those poses where the bride and groom are not needed together). The period of time between 1 1/2 hours to 1/2 hour before the service is almost always available to you for photography in the church.

Flowers and Decoration:

You are responsible for ordering and purchasing all flowers. If you wish to use our florist, the Administrator can give you the name and phone number to contact. Please check with the Parish Administrator before ordering any flowers.

Floral arrangements are limited to those which will sit on the two pedestals at either side of the altar, and we discourage the use of an aisle “runner” because the floor of the church is tiled, and the surface of the tiles is naturally uneven.  All questions concerning the appropriateness of additional decoration should be directed to the Wedding Director.

May guests throw rice?

No rice or confetti may be thrown on the church grounds. Your guests may toss birdseed or rose petals outside on the grass or sidewalk area.

Church capacity:

Our comfortable seating capacity is 300 people, not including the bridal party.

Wedding consultants:

Wedding consultants are welcome and often helpful, but it is important to remember that the Rector or officiating clergy is solely responsible for all decisions concerning the conduct of the ceremony and rehearsal.  Anxiety is a useless and counterproductive state at weddings.  While our clergy are amiable and strive to make the atmosphere pleasant and celebratory, professional consultants are reminded to defer to their authority on all issues.  On the day of the wedding, members of the parish Altar Guild will also be there to help.

May we write our own vows?

All weddings are performed according to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, and adhere to the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer (1979).  It is a beautiful liturgy; trust it.  The prayer book makes some provision for writing portions of the ceremony. Please consult with the Rector about this.

Are there rooms available at the church where the wedding party may dress before the service?

We have suitable rooms to serve the wedding party, although we generally urge all party members to arrive dressed and ready. While our property is generally secure, we urge the wedding party to leave all valuables in a secure location off campus.  We cannot assume liability for theft, damage, etc.

Wedding Receptions

There are rooms and facilities on the premises that enable you to have indoor and outdoor receptions on site.  They require additional preparation and there are additional fees associated with their use.  Please consult with the Parish Administrator or the assigned manager.

Guest and Wedding Party behavior:

(This part we hate to include, because it should be self-evident.) We repeat, while a wedding is a celebration, the ceremony is also a sacrament of the Church.  Any member of the wedding party (bride and groom included) that is deemed too intoxicated (under the influence of any substance other than the Holy Spirit) to behave in a respectful and appropriate manner will be asked to leave the premises, regardless of its impact upon the ceremony.  If a wedding cannot move forward because of the removal, no return of the deposited donations and honorariums can be considered. We also expect timely arrival of all participants.  Please plan for traffic and other possible contingencies.  We reserve the right to double the anticipated fees and honorariums for those making their services available for the event in the case of substantial delays not of the parish’s doing.  Please respect that our professionals may have other commitments and obligations after the wedding, and intruding on their schedules without compensation would not be just.

It bears repeating

We love the joy of a good wedding and we will strive to make your day special.  While stress can often accompany, “the big day,” it is our belief that there is nothing to fear.  We are here to reflect the love of God, and to do all we can to support you in your life in Christ, with each other.  That being said: relax and enjoy. You are in good hands.  God bless you in your journey together.