Chapter 1.
Guidelines for Planning Church Weddings

The church can help protect the sanctity of Christian marriage, as well as the wedding ceremony itself, by preparing a booklet of wedding guidelines for couples seeking to be married in the church. These beneficial guidelines should be prepared by the senior pastor, any other staff or lay member in charge of marriage preparation classes, the senior wedding coordinator, the minister of music, the church organist, someone representative of facility coordination, and other staff or lay members who might be regularly involved with church weddings (e.g., someone from food services or finance). The group should prayerfully put in writing the policies of the church regarding marriage by one of its ministers and marriage in the church. This manual should be adopted officially by the church in its customary procedure.

Using Wedding Guidelines

The wedding booklet should contain an outline of wedding guidelines that succinctly state the church’s wedding policies (see appendix A). It should also include information on scheduling a wedding and on working with the minister, wedding coordinator, and church musicians. The wedding booklet can also help guide the couple by providing information on selecting appropriate wedding music and wedding decorations. Included also should be a statement of the church’s policy on photography or filming during the wedding ceremony. The booklet, likewise, should contain information on church facilities, wedding fee schedules and honorariums, church wedding receptions, and other miscellaneous wedding items.

The wedding handbook should be attractively prepared and positive in its approach. It should include a statement concerning Christian marriage, the sacredness of the wedding ceremony, and the privilege of being married in the Lord’s house. The handbook should extend to the readers encouragement and a warm invitation to meet with the church staff to secure premarital counseling and guidance with wedding plans.

Scheduling the Wedding

Weddings held in churches usually have to be scheduled some time in advance in order to avoid conflicts on the church calendar and with the desired minister’s schedule. Scheduling is also needed to allow time for premarital counseling and for wedding planning. It is advisable to plan at least four months or more in advance. Because of special events held at our church, some dates are not available for weddings. In addition to these dates, no weddings are scheduled on Sundays, holidays, or after six o’clock on Saturday evenings. In case of any conflict concerning dates, church members receive priority over nonmembers. Nonmembers cannot calendar their weddings prior to four months before the wedding date (see appendix A).