Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair. (Book of Common Prayer)
One of the most important things to remember when considering a wedding at Christ Church is that we, in common with all Episcopal churches, consider marriage to be one of the most significant steps that two people can take together. While a wedding is a time of joy, excitement and celebration, it is also the occasion for careful reflection upon the commitment to marriage, life-long union that is blessed by the Church.
At Christ Church, we take seriously the sacramental and canonical responsibilities for presiding at a marriage ceremony. With this in mind, these wedding guidelines have been written to set out a clear and understandable process that is to be followed in preparation for the wedding itself.
A wedding form should be filled out and left with the Parish Administrator of Christ Church after a preliminary meeting with a member of the parish clergy. The couple will sign a Declaration of Intention stating that they plan, with God’s help, to enter into Christian marriage. The Church Organist must be contacted regarding music for the service. The Altar Guild Director, who is responsible for coordinating wedding flower arrangements, will work with the couple and their florist. Clergy of other denominations or churches are welcome to participate, but they cannot officiate at weddings at Christ Church without the prior approval of the Rector. The Officiant is responsible for directing the rehearsal. If a wedding consultant is retained, she/he is expected to adhere to the wedding guidelines of Christ Church. Should the couple wish to invite the participation of the clergy at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception, the invitation should be extended as soon as possible.
Service Planning & Leaflet
It is expected that all weddings will be in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer. Items such as a Unity Candle or an aisle runner are not part of the tradition of the Episcopal Church. The service leaflet for the ceremony is the responsibility of the couple with the assistance and support of the Officiant. The couple is responsible for typing, printing and copying the wedding leaflet.
Flowers may be provided for the altar and should be in the Sacristy two hours prior to the wedding or by 11:00 a.m. for a late afternoon wedding. The couple’s florist will arrange them in consultation with the Altar Guild Director and may use the church brass vases if needed, but may not remove them from the church. The flowers should be taken by the wedding party at the end of the ceremony for use at their discretion. Bows may be placed at the end of the pews reserved for the wedding party and family members. No other items may be placed on the pew ends without the prior permission of the Officiant.
There shall be no use of flash for photographs during the wedding ceremony, including photographs taken by members of the congregation. The photographer may use flash for pictures taken of the wedding party entering and leaving the church building and during the procession in and the procession out. During the ceremony photographs may be taken from the rear balcony of the church only, and flash cannot be used. With the consent of the Officiant, videotaping is permitted using natural light only and with the camera mounted on a tripod in the balcony. The wedding party is welcome to come back into the church for pictures following the ceremony.
Music for weddings is the responsibility of the Christ Church Organist. It is the responsibility of the Christ Church Organist to play at all weddings. If the couple wishes to engage a different organist, that musician must be approved by the Christ Church Organist and the standard wedding fee to the Christ Church Organist must be paid even it she/he is not playing. As soon as a date for the wedding is set on the church calendar, the couple should make an appointment with the organist. In choosing music to be incorporated into the marriage ceremony, it is to be remembered that the service is of great importance not only to the couple to be married, but also for the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church. The choice of music should therefore be appropriate to the sacred nature of the occasion
There are certain fees associated with weddings at Christ Church that will be discussed at the initial interview and must be paid prior to the beginning of the wedding rehearsal.
We look forward to working with you in order to make your wedding here at Christ Church a joyous occasion. Please know of our prayers during this time of excitement and anticipation.
Clergy, Organist, Altar Guild Director and Parish Administrator may be contacted through the Church Office.
To be married at Christ Church, a couple must consider the following requirements:
The couple must obtain the permission of the Rector to have a wedding at Christ Church.
At least one member of the couple must have been baptized.
One of the betrothed must be a member of Christ Church or related to a member of Christ Church and attend church regularly.
The Rector must be given at least sixty days advance notice of the intended wedding; the Rector may grant an exception to this requirement for pastoral reasons.
The couple is expected to have at least three pre-marital counseling sessions with an Episcopal priest in which she/he instructs them in the nature of Holy Matrimony.
If either member of the couple has been divorced, permission for marriage must be obtained from the Bishop. This procedure takes at least thirty days. At least a year should have elapsed between the final decree and the planned wedding.
The couple must obtain a marriage license in Massachusetts and it must be given to the officiating priest no later than the day of the wedding rehearsal.
The couple must comply with the Canons of the Episcopal Church regarding Christian marriage and these guidelines for weddings at Christ Church.
No weddings will be performed during Lent and Holy Week.