Weddings at Grace Episcopal Church, Hulmeville, PA
1. What are the costs involved?
Listed below are the costs for being married at Grace Church. All checks are due on the day of the wedding rehearsal.
Church rental – for members: no charge
Church rental – for non-members: $225
Organist stipend – for members: organist and rehearsal, $180. No rehearsal, $155.
Organist stipend–for non-members: organist and rehearsal, $215. No rehearsal, $190
Couples may choose not to use an organist, or supply other musicians
Clergy stipend forfour to five pre-marital counseling sessions, wedding rehearsal and performing the wedding - $300
2. Is there any counseling required?
Yes. The Episcopal Church requires its priests to ascertain that a couple may legally be married; that the couple understand “…that Holy Matrimony is a physical and spiritual union, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind, and will, and with intent that it be lifelong”; that both individuals freely consent to the marriage; that at least one of the two have received Holy Baptism; and that the couple to be married have been instructed as to the nature and purpose of Holy Matrimony.
Therefore, all couples to be married in an Episcopal Church must participate in pre-marital counseling.
Too often, couples approach pre-marital counseling with reluctance and “fear of the unknown.” Please don’t! The sessions are intended to be helpful, not a hindrance. Marriage holds the promise of great joy but there are many obstacles to having a successful lifelong relationship. Normally, you should plan on four to five sessions, with each session lasting about an hour. During these sessions, expect to discuss how you met and fell in love; family and friends; the nature of your relationship; your hopes and expectations; how you use your time together and apart; your future together, including children; finances and employment; and your wedding plans.
3. Can the Episcopal priest from my childhood or the church I attend assist at the wedding in Grace Church?
Yes, with Grace Church clergy’spermission. If your priest is from another diocese, he or she must have the permission of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
4. I’m not Episcopalian. Can a minister from my denomination take part in the service?
Yes, with Grace clergy’s permission. Certain parts of the service must be done by Episcopal clergy but other parts may be shared.
5. We would like to have our own priest do the service by herself/himself. Is that possible?
We’re afraid not. With Grace Church priest’s permission, your rector is welcome and we expect to work with him or her on parts of the service for which he or she may be responsible. However, Grace Church clergy will officiate and perform the wedding.
6. May non-members of Grace Church be married here?
Yes, they are very welcome!
7. Can we write our own service, write our own vows, or include readings other than Scripture in our service?
Sorry, all weddings conducted at Grace Church will follow the marriage service found in the Book of Common Prayer.
8. I’ve been divorced. Can I re-marry in the Episcopal Church?
Yes, although there are a few more requirements. According to the requirements of the Episcopal Church, the permission of the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania is required before the wedding may take place. After the pre-marital counseling sessions conclude, 30 days are required between the time permission is sought from the Bishop’s office and the time when judgment is rendered by his office.
9. How many people does the church seat?
The pews seat about 150-160comfortably and 180 snugly.
10. We’re planning on having a lot more people than that. Can we have our service elsewhere? (Or) Can we have an Episcopal wedding at a place other than the church?
Certainly, but talk with the priest first.
11. What about a marriage license?
A valid marriage license must be obtained and delivered to the church at any time before the wedding ceremony takes place. Please note: Without a valid marriage license in hand, an Episcopal priest cannot officiate at your wedding.
12. How soon can we send out wedding invitations?
As soon as the priest has given consent for the marriage to take place. At any point during the pre-marital instruction, s/he may in good conscience conclude that s/he cannot be a part of this wedding, so please wait until the green light is given. We are aware of the time pressures that you are under and will not be unreasonable about giving you plenty of time. If either of you are previously divorced, the Bishop’s consent must be obtained before invitations are sent out.
13. How long does the wedding ceremony last?
That depends on several factors. A very simple wedding will last about 20 minutes. A wedding with Holy Communion, lots of music, etc. will be an hour or so long.
14. Is Holy Communion always a part of the service?
No. Although highly desirable, the clergy will help you in your decision-making as to whether it is desired or appropriate. In the Episcopal Church, all baptized persons are welcome to receive Communion.
15. Can we have printed service bulletins?
Yes. But you should plan wellahead on this. Attractive wedding bulletins can be ordered through the church office after you consult with the parish administrator. You will, however, be responsible for the cost, which is small. Order early! The church staff will handle printing the bulletins, or you can have them done by a printer once the clergy has approved the text.
16. Should I hire a wedding consultant?
That’s up to you. But please keep in mind that that person will have very little to do with the wedding service, which will be planned by you and the clergy.
17. Can we take pictures or hire a videographer?
Weddings are well worth preserving on film. However, it is very important that the photographer is not a disruptive and distracting presence during the worship service. Most professional photographers are sensitive to this, but to avoid misunderstandings and hard feelings, these guidelines should be followed and shared with your photographer prior to your wedding.
Professional photographers and videographers are welcome to call the Parish Administrator to set up a time to “scout out” Grace Church and determine where the best places are to set up their equipment. It is acceptable for them to take photos (with or without flash) when the bride is entering the church as long as they do so halfway down the aisle. Standing directly in front of the bridal party and taking pictures as the bride walks in is not acceptable or permitted. Photographers may also take pictures as the bride and groom are exiting the church from that same spot.
Inbetween the procession in and the procession out, they may take non-flash photos from the very back of the church. At no time may a photographer or videographer enter the chancel or sanctuary space to take a picture.
Photos of the wedding party and families may be taken in the church prior to or after the wedding, if desired. If photos are to be taken after the service, the wedding party should re-gather in the church right away..
Out of respect for God and the sanctity of the church space, and in order for everyone to fully participate in the service, the taking of photos is not permitted by the congregation after the bride has finished walking up the aisle. When the couple walks out as husband and wife, the congregation may take all the photos they wish.
18. Can we decorate the church space?
Too many flowers and candles detract from the setting and make it appear cluttered.Two large candles on the altar or candles and candelabras behind it may be used. Candelabras are usually reserved for late afternoon weddings and used in cases where the flower arrangements are not overly wide. As with candles, more flowers are not necessarily better. One, two, or three flower arrangements are appropriate. Large, free-standing vases are out of place. You or your florist will also need to arrange for a mutually convenient time for the delivery of the flowers to church.
19. What about music?
Music during the wedding should be appropriate to the nature of the event. Thus, music used during your wedding should be Christian, either implicitly or explicitly. Music for the ceremony must be decided upon in consultation with the clergy. Soloists and other instrumentalists must rehearse with the organist at a mutually agreed time before the day of the service and must provide their own music with a copy for the organist. The words of anthems (this includes solos) “are to be from the Holy Scripture, The Book of Common Prayer, or from texts congruent with them.” School songs, or “This was playing the first time we met,” etc. will not be approved. Music that does not fit the nature of the ceremony is far better used at the wedding reception.
20. What do we need to know about the wedding rehearsal?
The wedding rehearsal is usually held in the late afternoon prior to the wedding day. You should allow one hour for the rehearsal to take place. If you are going out afterward to a rehearsal dinner, it is advisable to schedule the rehearsal at least an hour and one-halfprior to your dinner reservation (depending on driving distance). Please stress to all wedding participants the absolute necessity of being on time!
21. What lessons from Scripture may we use?
At your wedding, you may choose from several combinations of lessons to be read. You may choose to have an Old Testament (OT) lesson, a Psalm, a New Testament (NT) lesson, and a lesson from the Gospel; you may choose to have one lesson from either the OT or the NT, a Psalm, and a lesson from the Gospel; or you may choose to have a lesson from either the OT or the NT and a lesson from the Gospel (no psalm). It is preferred that readings follow the text of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. A reading from the Gospel will always be read at weddings.
You may also choose to have a friend or relative read any of the lessons or lead the congregation in the reading of the psalm. However, only a deacon or a priest may read the lesson from the Gospel. The following are lessons which you may choose from:
Old Testament Lessons
1 May God be merciful to us and bless us, *
show us the light of his countenance and come to us.
2 Let your ways be known upon earth, *
your saving health among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, *
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide all the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has brought forth her increase; *
may God, our own God, give us his blessing.
7 May God give us his blessing, *
and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house, *
their labor is in vain who build it.
2 Unless the Lord watches over the city, *
in vain the watchman keeps his vigil.
3 It is in vain that you rise so early and go to bed so late; *
vain, too, to eat the bread of toil,
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
4 Children are a heritage from the Lord, *
and the fruit of the womb is a gift.
5 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior *
are the children of one’s youth.
6 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! *
he shall not be put to shame
when he contends with his enemies in the gate.
1 Happy are they all who fear the Lord, *
and who follow in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of your labor; *
happiness and prosperity shall be yours.
3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, *
your children like olive shoots round about your table.
4 The man who fears the Lord *
shall thus indeed be blessed.
5 The Lord bless you from Zion, *
and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6 May you live to see your children’s children; *
may peace be upon Israel.
New Testament Lessons
The Gospel Lessons
22. Is there anything else we should know?
Yes. The chief rule of all weddings is that nothing is to happen that will bring embarrassment to the bride or groom or to their families. It is a special moment for you - therefore, all service participants should remember where they are and why they are there. Because of this, if any member of the wedding party appears to be intoxicated, under the influence of drugs or otherwise unable to perform at the time of the wedding, he or she will not be allowed to participate, regardless of who he or she is. This is non-negotiable.