Congratulations! We rejoice with you at this important and happy moment as you plan for your marriage. We extend to you the care and support of our congregation and invite you to share in our community life and services of worship (Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.) if you are not already doing so.
The Meaning of the Marriage Service
Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well being of the entire human family. For Christians, marriage is more than a civil contract; it is a life-long covenant through which two people are called to live out their lives together in service to God and neighbor and one another.
A Christian wedding is a service of worship before God. All the elements of the service should be appropriate for a service of worship as well as consistent with Christian practices and teachings. The service shall be under the direction of the pastor. Since each wedding is unique, the pastor has a variety of resources to help you customize your service.
A Guide for your Wedding
A church wedding means that you ask God to be witness to your union. Your commitments to one another are made within the context of faith, and the fellowship of the church. This booklet is designed to help you prepare for that special day which begins the rest of your life together. We ask that you remember that our building is first and foremost a house of worship; please join us in giving it appropriate respect
Where to begin?
The first step in preparing for a wedding at Union Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, is to contact the pastor to determine if your proposed wedding date is available and to allow time for you to get to know each other. Unlike hiring a photographer, engaging a pastor is not a matter of purchasing a service, but rather the forming of relationship. Our pastor is expected to officiate at all weddings held at Union Congregational Church. At their discretion, however, other clergy may be invited to participate or officiate in their place.
The second step is to reserve the building. The church is committed to a date and time for the wedding when it has been confirmed by the pastor and the fee for use of the sanctuary plus damage deposit has been paid.
Our pastor requires you to attend at least three pre-marriage counseling/planning sessions before your wedding. These sessions will be planned for mutually agreeable dates and times and ideally should be scheduled a couple months before your wedding date.
There is a basic order of worship for marriage that will be the foundation on which the service is planned. The service will include, but not be limited to: scripture from the Christian Bible, a homily, prayers and vows. There are many options for rituals that include other family members. The pastor will provide a wide variety of material and will work with you to plan just the right service.
The service will not include the words, “Who gives this bride or person to be married?” The two people getting married should both be there of their own accord and neither as a property transaction.
We encourage you to choose music that reflects the faith of the community around you and God’s presence within your relationship.
Our music director and organist, Dr. Linda Jiorle-Nagy, will play at any wedding in the Church that requires music. Please call her as soon as you know the dates and times of the rehearsal and wedding. If you would like her input, she will help you select music to be played at your wedding. Be sure to let her know in advance if a soloist or any other musician will be involved in your service. If for some reason Linda cannot play at your wedding, she can recommend other organists who can be contacted.
We strongly encourage the singing of hymns at a wedding service. If you wish the congregation to sing a hymn during the service, the pastor has several recommendations.
Because of the central cross on our table, most couples prefer to use two side arrangements rather than a large central one. In addition, a single arrangement may be placed on the piano. The Church has vases that may be borrowed. It is important to make sure that the church will be open when the florist delivers the flowers. Some couples wish to leave the flowers from their wedding in the church for the next Sunday service, after which they will be delivered to shut-ins. The church welcomes this practice and would be glad to help.
Photographs and Videotaping
Such mementos of your wedding are wonderful remembrances of this occasion, and we are pleased to cooperate with your wishes while maintaining the dignity your wedding deserves. It is possible to have pictures taken before, or after, the service in the sanctuary. Flash photography is acceptable during the processional and recessional only. In addition, we do allow photographers (as well as videographers) to snap shots without flash or spotlight only from the balcony or from the side aisle during the service. Our pastor requires your photographer and videographer to contact them before the service.
If you desire a printed bulletin for your wedding, our office manager will be happy to assist you. She can also supply you with catalogues for ordering bulletin covers appropriate for weddings. Please allow ample time for these to be mailed. If you would prefer printing your bulletins outside the office, make sure you allow time for the pastor to review the rough draft before you send it to the printer.
A Candlelight Ceremony
The Church has eight large standing candelabras which can be used for a candlelight service. The price of candles rises steadily, however, so the fee changes. If you are interested, please call the office to allow ample time for ordering candles.
The pastor will conduct a rehearsal at a mutually agreeable time. The marriage license should be given to the pastor at this time.
Having your Reception at the Church
The Church Hall has been used by many couples for their reception. It can accommodate up to 200 people for a meal. There is a piano, if needed for a band, and a large kitchen that caterers find easy to use. While a bar and mixed drinks are not allowed, you may have a champagne toast.
For many, it is appealing to have the reception in the same place as the wedding so that the two become a natural part of the one celebration. If you would like to consider this as a possibility, please contact our office manager.
Caring for Our Property
No smoking in the building.
No alcoholic beverages anywhere on the property.
No confetti or rice.
Birdseed may be thrown outside, not inside, the church.
A damage deposit is required and will be returned following the ceremony provided no damages have occurred.
The Sanctuary Capacity is approximately 260 people
Wedding Fees and Honorariums
The damage deposit and building fee must be paid at the time that the church is reserved. All remaining fees are to be paid at least two weeks prior to the wedding service. Please make checks payable to the appropriate person. Checks for building use should be made out to: Union Congregational Church
Church and Services
Pastor $200 $400
Church (rehearsal & ceremony) free $400
Organist $150 $250
Sexton $100 $150
Bulletins $20 $45
Damage Deposit + See Below $100
Herbert Harrison Hall
Hall and Kitchen Rental donation $200
Sexton* $75 $175
*Sexton isn’t responsible for setting up and taking down tables and chairs.
These fees are subject to change with 6-months notice.
Fees may be waived or reduced at the Pastor’s discretion.
+Church members agree to remedy any damage that might occur.