Planning a wedding
For Those Planning to Marry at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Very soon after becoming engaged, you should make an appointment to talk with a clergy member of St. Peter’s. By contacting the church early (preferably before choosing a reception hall), you can find out what is required by this congregation in order to get married here. In addition, the canons (rules) of the Episcopal Church require at least 30 days' notice to the clergy of intent to be married. The canons further require that the minister "shall have instructed both parties as to the meaning, nature and purpose of Holy Matrimony, or have ascertained that they have received such instruction from persons known by him/her to be competent and responsible." If one or both of you are divorced, the clergy member must get permission from the Bishop of New Jersey before he/she can agree to perform the marriage. While this is normally granted, it does require a few extra weeks to organize and submit the appropriate information.
In your planning, please remember that you are not just planning for your wedding day, but for every day of the rest of your life. We encourage you, therefore, to see this as a time of growing together and deepening your relationship. The pre-marital counseling sessions will concentrate on your relationship and help you in your planning of the marriage service.
Normally, the clergy member meets with the couple a minimum of five times spread out over several months to prepare them for marriage. It is our way of fulfilling the sentence in the wedding service that says: "Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God."
About the Marriage Service
All weddings in the Episcopal Church are normally from the Book of Common Prayer, pages 423-432. There are opportunities to personalize your wedding by the selection of readings from the Bible and by the selection of music. The clergy member will help you with selecting the readings. This service anticipates that the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at a marriage. Know that all are welcome to receive Communion here. The details of the Service can be discussed and decided upon by the clergy member in consultation with the couple to be married. The following is offered to you in your planning.
A rehearsal is usually held the day prior to the wedding, although it could be scheduled the day prior to that. Please allow at least one hour. All those who are in the wedding party (bride, groom, best man, matron/ maid of honor, bridesmaids, ushers, ring bearer, flower girl, parents of the bride and groom) and any others who will be participants (readers, those presenting the bread and the wine, etc.) in the wedding should be present for the rehearsal as well. In this way, the major participants will know where they need to be and what they should be doing so that the wedding will be an occasion of warmth, dignity and blessing.
Generally, simplicity is in order when selecting flowers. You should discuss your ideas with the clergy member. Generally, one bouquet is supplied for the Altar area. Some choose to have flowers and/or bows and greens tied to the end of some of the chairs on the center aisle. Ordinarily, flowers used around the Altar remain there for Sunday's Services. Any request for a different disposition of the flowers can be discussed with the clergy member in advance.
Still photography and video taping of weddings must be discussed with the clergy member. Flash photography will be allowed during the processions into and out of the church. Available light pictures may be taken from the rear of the church. A video camera can be placed in an inconspicuous place. The clergy will be happy to pose for any pictures following the wedding. Please see that all photographers consult with the clergy member about church policy before the service begins.
Please bring the valid marriage license and all fees to the wedding rehearsal or before, thus relieving some of the stress of the wedding day.
We hope that appointments, rehearsal and the wedding will begin on time.
It is customary to have a receiving line at the back of the church following the wedding.
Thoughts on Music
Concerning music, once you have been in contact with our priest, you should set aside time to meet with our organist. Here again, organists have training and years of experience with weddings. We have specific guidelines as to what music can or cannot be used in the wedding liturgy. As you discuss music with the organist, keep in mind that popular selections which are overtly secular are best used at the reception, not in a sacred liturgy.
Organist: $150 (additional $25 for each rehearsal with soloists or instrumentalists, etc.)
Soloists: $100 each
Altar Guild: $50
Church: (Includes bulletin covers and bulletin preparation and regular Altar Candles) No fee for contributing members; $250 for non-contributing members; $300 for non-members
Aisle Candles for a Candlelight Ceremony: $50
Priest: An honorarium to be used for charitable purposes is appropriate ($200 is suggested).
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org /609-654-2963