Weddings

Weddings at St. Andrew's

Wedding Topics:

Scheduling Your Wedding

Marriage in the Episcopal Church

Requirements

Planning the Details

The Rehearsal

The Wedding Day

Wedding Guide For Florists

Wedding Expenses

Wedding Music

 

Scheduling Your Wedding

Who do I need to talk to about getting married at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church?

             The first step in scheduling a wedding at St. Andrew’s is to arrange an appointment with one of the clergy staff at least 30 days prior to the contemplated marriage date. This is the minimum allowed by the Canons of the Episcopal Church. For scheduling purposes, much more advance notice is strongly encouraged — 6-8 months for summer and Christmastide weddings.

At this initial meeting, the clergy will assist you with your wedding plans by reviewing these procedures, providing you with the necessary forms for entering a wedding on the church calendar, recapitulating the Episcopal Church’s understanding of marriage, and previewing the structure of St. Andrew’s premarital instruction sessions.

Do I have to be a member in order to get married at St. Andrew’s?

Naturally, St. Andrew’s communicants receive first priority in the use of the church facilities for the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage. However, other requests for the use of the church buildings and grounds for a wedding service will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In any situation, at least one of the parties must be a baptized Christian.

When can weddings take place?

They may, in consultation with the priest, be scheduled at any time of the year except during Lent (for scheduling purposes, that means Ash Wednesday through Easter).

There is a divorce in our past; can we still get married in the Church?

Divorced persons desiring to be married by a priest of this Church should be familiar with Canon law which requires 1) that one year must have elapsed since the final divorce decree and 2) that a priest have the bishop’s approval to solemnize the marriage vows of a divorced person. The procedure for procuring this permission will be reviewed, but 90 days should be allowed for this process, and no public announcement of the wedding in the church can be made until the letter from the bishop granting permission has been received.

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MARRIAGE IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

What is the meaning of Christian marriage?

           Christian marriage is a gift of God, given to a couple for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort they will give to each other in prosperity and adversity, and, when it is God's will, for the gift and heritage of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of God. Christian marriage is to be unconditional, mutual, exclusive, faithful, and lifelong, and it should be entered into with the help of God and the support of our community. The wedding is not a magical ceremony performed by a priest, but a moment in the process of becoming married, a process entered into freely and mutually, and celebrated in the context of the community of faith. Though marriage can be undertaken in private and outside the Church, the Christian wedding ceremony is properly a public proclamation of the couple’s intentions, to which the community responds with its support, blessing, accountability, and proclamation of the divine presence. It joins personal and corporate stories in vows, scripture, and ritual.

The exhortation which opens the Prayer Book rite states that “the bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation” for “mutual joy,” “help and comfort,” and, if God’s will, “the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord” (pg 423). Marriage, in all its aspects, is foremost a gracious gift of God for the benefit of those being married. It is given even more significance, however, through its metaphorical use in the Bible, where the relationship between God and God’s people is sometimes described as being like a marriage. This being the case, then, a marriage ought to reflect and show forth God’s kind of love: faithful, constant, loyal, and sacrificial. The institution of marriage is therefore also a gift to the whole world, modeling God’s love for us.

What does the Episcopal wedding service look like?

In the Episcopal Church, we use a couple of different liturgies for marriage--but each of them follows the same basic structure and theology.

The most common liturgy is "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage" in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 423, which is a collection and distillation of many traditions. It is constructed so as to serve as the Liturgy of the Word (the first portion of the service) at a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Indeed, nothing is more fitting than that establishment of a new union and community of love through marriage be celebrated in the context of the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity with God and one another, which is the characteristic action of the gathered Church.

Another beautiful marriage liturgy is "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage," which focuses even more on the nature of the community in witnessing this covenant and being part of the overall blessing.

Whichever liturgy the couple chooses, the ceremony may begin with music and the entrance of the wedding party; the service itself properly begins with the Exhortation, spoken by the presiding priest to the congregation, which sets forth the Church’s fundamental understanding of marriage, as discussed above and contained in the Declaration of Intent signed by the couple before their wedding. The Declaration of Consent is the remnant of a separate betrothal rite which found its way into the marriage liturgy itself; its content largely duplicates the vows taken later in the service. It has several purposes: to ensure that both parties are entering the covenant of marriage of their own accord; to allow the congregation to voice its support of those being wed; and to set for the expectations of the Church regarding Christian marriage. The giving or presentation is an old tradition which is now an optional part of the rite. One or more readings from the Bible pertaining to marriage then follow, with the option of a homily (short sermon) or other response, such as a piece of music.

Then follows the marriage itself, in which the couple takes their vows, holding hands and giving rings or other tokens as signs of their making a mutual covenant to become one. Prayers are then offered for the couple, for those married people witnessing the vows, and for the unity of the world, especially as it is modeled in the bond of marriage. The priest, representing the Church, then blesses the newly married couple. The couple (and presumably the whole congregation) then exchange the peace, greeting one another in the name of God.

If there is not to be a Communion, the service ends here. Otherwise, and normatively, it continues with the Offertory (at which the newly married couple present the offerings of bread and wine) and the rest of the Eucharistic liturgy. Because the very nature of Communion is communal, all baptized Christians present at the wedding are invited to participate in the Eucharist. “Private Communion” (for bride and groom only) is a contradiction in terms.

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REQUIREMENTS

What do we need to do to prepare for our wedding?

             Premarital Instruction: Each couple to be married at St. Andrew’s is required to participate in premarital instruction, as specified in the Canons of the Episcopal Church (Title I, Canon 18.2e). Usually the priest officiating at the wedding conducts these premarital sessions. Couples meet with the clergy person for four or five sessions. During that time issues regarding finances, family of origin, sexuality, and various marriage stressors will be discussed, as well as specific plans for the wedding service.

Wedding Coordination: In order for your wedding to go as smoothly as possible, it is important that logistical details of the service be discussed with the clergy. If you employ a wedding consultant, he/she must work under the direction of the clergy.

Marriage License: In Texas, the marriage license can be obtained from any county courthouse 90 days prior to, but no less than 72 hours before the wedding day. Canon and civil law require the officiator to have the marriage license in his or her possession before the ceremony can be performed. The marriage license can be given to the priest in advance by dropping it by the church office as soon as you have obtained it or by bringing it to the rehearsal.

Are other ministers allowed to officiate at a wedding at St. Andrew’s?

The norm is that a member of the St. Andrew’s clergy staff officiates at all weddings performed at St. Andrew’s. Other clergy, either of the Episcopal Church or of other denominations, who have a special relationship with the bride or bridegroom may be invited to assist in the service by the officiating priest. The protocol of the Episcopal Church is that the invitation to assist in a wedding comes from the officiating priest at St. Andrew’s. A member of St. Andrew’s clergy staff must participate both in the rehearsal and the wedding. It is expected that the wedding liturgy will be one of the approved liturgies from the Episcopal Church.

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PLANNING THE DETAILS

What about flowers and other decorations in the church?

             Wedding flowers are limited to the arrangements on the stands on either side of the altar. Traditionally the flowers are a gift from the bride to the church and will remain at the altar until the completion of the Sunday service. At that time they will be taken to the ill or shut-ins by the altar guild. The bride may suggest such recipients. No artificial or silk flowers may be used. No pew bows or door wreaths are allowed.

Do I get to pick the music? Do I have to pick the music?

The couple will meet with the St. Andrew's Music Director to choose the music for the service. A list of suggested instrumental music is included in this booklet to aid this process; other reasonable suggestions and requests may also be accommodated. Because the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is a service of worship, the Sunday liturgy establishes the norm for the wedding ceremony. Thus music which is appropriate for a wedding is that which would be appropriate for a Sunday service. The texts of any sung selections should be taken from or based upon the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer; hymns from The Hymnal 1982 are particularly welcome.

Who plays for the weddings?

The organist customarily plays for all weddings at St. Andrew’s. If the director is not available for the desired date and time of the ceremony, the director will be responsible for securing another organist. If the couple wishes another organist to play instead, they must ask permission of the St. Andrew’s Music Director. The fee for the visiting organist will be paid by the couple.

Can I have a soloist, a trumpeter, a string quartet or bell choir?

The St. Andrew's Music Director is prepared to suggest the names of trumpeters, vocalists, and string groups and/or ask St. Andrew’s bell choir to play. Rehearsals with these musicians may also incur an additional fee. See the enclosed sheet entitled “Wedding Music” for more information.

What do we do at the rehearsal?

Essentially the rehearsal is simply a brief walk-through the wedding service. Participants will learn how, when and where to walk, stand or kneel at various points in the service and will ideally come away with a basic understanding of the structure of the service and the meaning behind its component parts.

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 THE REHEARSAL

When will the rehearsal take place?

           The wedding rehearsal, unless otherwise scheduled, will be held at 6:00 pm the evening before the wedding day. The rehearsal, like the wedding, will start on time. Please be sure that all of the people participating in the wedding party are present and on time.

Who needs to come to the rehearsal?

Remember that a good rehearsal is very important if your wedding is to run smoothly. ALL members of the wedding party (bride attendants, flower girl and ring bearer, ushers, readers, family members that will be escorted, and so forth) must be present at the rehearsal. The rehearsal is under the direction of the officiating priest. Wedding consultants may not participate in the wedding rehearsal or in the wedding itself.

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THE WEDDING DAY

What time should we get to the church?

All members of the wedding party should arrive at the church not less than two hours before the time scheduled for the wedding service. The service will begin promptly at the appointed hour.

Is there a place for the bride and attendants to get dressed? A place for the groom and attendants?

A bride’s room will be provided for the bride and their attendants who desire to use it. It’s important to designate someone to remove all personal belongings from the bride’s room promptly following the service as the church cannot be responsible for articles left unattended. Unless other arrangements are made, this room will be opened three hours before the wedding. If necessary, arrangements for the delivery of the bride’s gown should be made with the office administrator.

A room for the groom and his attendants is also provided.

Where can food and beverages be served to the wedding party?

Food and soft drinks may be served in the designated dressing rooms. NO alcohol may be served prior to the wedding service. Please leave the facilities as you find them.

How are guests and family members seated?

The ushers may seat the guests. Ushers should be ready to seat guests at least thirty minutes before the wedding service begins. If the Eucharist is a part of the liturgy, one of the St. Andrew’s ushers must be present. The seating of the bride’s mother will be the signal that the service is about to begin. A member of the altar guild or clergy will be present to start the procession at the appointed time. If the bride is to be presented by someone, she enters the church on that person’s left arm.

Where are the restrooms?

Restroom facilities for guests may be found in the Parish Hall, as none are available in the church.

May the bride and groom be “showered with rice or birdseed” as they leave the church?

             For insurance, ecological and maintenance reasons, we ask that rice, rose petals, birdseed or confetti not be thrown on the church property. Consult with clergy about other options. Such activities should be outdoors.

Can we have our reception at the church?

Yes, if the Parish Hall is available (see the fee schedule). Receptions and cleanup must be completed by 10:00 pm. Only trained persons are permitted to use the appliances. The kitchen cleanup is the responsibility of the wedding party and/or caterer.

 Can our wedding service be photographed or videotaped?

Photographs are wonderful reminders of your wedding day, but they are just that, reminders. The joy and beauty of the day itself should not be compromised by the photographic process.

Please arrange to have most of your photographs made before the service. If you would like to use the chancel for photographs, the wedding party should be out of the church at least 45 minutes before the service is to begin. Photographs may be taken for up to 20 minutes following the service, but remember that your guests are awaiting your arrival at the reception, and the altar guild cannot begin their work until the wedding party has cleared the building. Family and other groups should have their pictures made before the service or at the reception or at some other suitable place.

Flash photographs may not be taken inside the church during the service itself.

Flashes are a distraction to the congregation and the wedding party, and detract from the solemnity of the liturgy. Three-time exposures may be taken during the service from a fixed location approved by the priest. More specific instructions for photographs may be found in the section “Wedding Guide for Photographers” (please download and give a copy of these instructions to your photographer to sign, returning one original copy to the church).

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Wedding Guide for Florists

The Episcopal Church considers a wedding to be one of the most solemn and sacred rites of the liturgy. Flowers are an important part of weddings—- a beautification of the altar before which the wedding is solemnized — are an offering to God. At the same time, flowers and other decorations must be kept in their proper role: they are meant to enhance, rather than to dominate, the liturgical space. The following guideline is offered so that you may use your artistic skills to assist us in making the wedding meaningful and to avoid misunderstandings which can mar an otherwise happy event.

ALTAR FLOWERS

The altar is the focal point for all church services. Flowers may be placed on stands on either side of the altar. Traditionally the flowers are a gift from the bride to the church and will remain at the altar until the completion of the Sunday service.

DELIVERY

The flowers for the altar must be delivered to the church at least 2 hours before the wedding service. All personal flowers, including hand bouquets for the bride and her attendants, corsages, boutonnieres, etc., should also be delivered to the church by this time.

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Wedding Expenses                                                    

STANDARD FEES (MEMBERS)

FOR WEDDINGS IN THE NAVE

IF RECEPTION WILL BE AT ST. ANDREW'S:

  • Church and Parish Hall: $350
  • Sexton: $200
  • Sexton's Assistant: $50
  • Table Cloths: $10 per cloth (cleaned by the Church)

IF THERE IS NO RECEPTION AT ST. ANDREW'S:

  • Church: $250
  • Sexton: $125
  • Sexton's Assistant: $25

OTHER EXPENSES--(ALL WEDDINGS)

  • Altar Guild $150
  • Organist $300

OTHER ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL EXPENSES--(ALL WEDDINGS)

  • Choir Fee (if available--donation will be accepted)
  • Bell Choir (option) $200
  • Trumpet (option) $200
  • Soloist rehearsal (if used) $25
  • Flower guild $200-$700 (Our Flower Guild can arrange the flowers to your specifications and to your general budget; You may arrange for your own flowers, but they must fit within the descriptions of this Customary).

Clergy Honorarium is not expected. In lieu of an honorarium, an offering to the clergy discretionary fund will be appreciated.

For Weddings in the Nave (Members): All fees must be paid on or before the day of wedding rehearsal. You will pay these fees in the form of four checks: one made out to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (this check covers Church [and Parish Hall/Table Cloths, if there is a reception], plus altar guild, plus flower guild [if used]. The second check is written directly to organist. The third check is written to the sexton. The fourth is written to the sexton's assistant.

Additional Checks:  If you choose to have additional musical performers at the wedding (trumpeter, soloists, etc.), each of these people will be paid individually as well. Finally, if you choose to make a donation to the clergy discretionary fund, a separate check made out to St. Andrew's Discretionary Fund would be greatly appreciated.  

FOR WEDDINGS IN THE CHAPEL (Members)

IF RECEPTION WILL BE AT ST. ANDREW'S (in St. Catherine's Room):

  • Chapel and Reception: $150
  • Sexton: $125
  • Sexton's Assistant: $25
  • Table Cloths: $10 per cloth (cleaned by the Church)

IF NO RECEPTION ST. ANDREW'S:

  • Chapel: $100
  • Sexton: $75

OTHER EXPENSES--(ALL WEDDINGS)

  • Altar Guild $150
  • Organist $300

OTHER OPTIONAL EXPENSES--(ALL WEDDINGS)

  • Choir Fee (if available--donation will be accepted)
  • Bell Choir (option) $200
  • Trumpet (option) $200
  • Soloist rehearsal (if used) $25
  • Flower guild $200-$700 (Our Flower Guild can arrange the flowers to your specifications and to your general budget; You may arrange for your own flowers, but they must fit within the descriptions of this Customary).

Clergy Honorarium is not expected. In lieu of an honorarium, an offering to the clergy discretionary fund will be appreciated.

For Weddings in the Chapel (Members): All fees must be paid on or before the day of wedding rehearsal. You will pay these fees in the form of four checks: one made out to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (this check covers Church [and St. Catherine's Room, if there is a reception], plus altar guild, plus flower guild [if used]. The second check is written directly to organist. The third check is written to the sexton. The fourth is written to the sexton's assistant.

Additional Checks:  If you choose to have additional musical performers at the wedding (trumpeter, soloists, etc.), each of these people will be paid individually as well. Finally, if you choose to make a donation to the clergy discretionary fund, a separate check made out to St. Andrew's Discretionary Fund would be greatly appreciated.  

STANDARD FEES (NON-MEMBERS)

Nonmembers must apply to the Rector to be married at St. Andrew's. Generally, it is the policy of St. Andrew's that one of the people being married should be a member of the parish.

FOR WEDDINGS IN THE NAVE (NON-MEMBERS)

IF RECEPTION WILL BE AT ST. ANDREW'S:

  • Church and Parish Hall: $1800
  • Sexton: $200
  • Sexton's Assistant: $50
  • Table Cloths: $10 per cloth (cleaned by the Church)

IF THERE IS NO RECEPTION AT ST. ANDREW'S:

  • Church: $1500
  • Sexton: $125
  • Sexton's Assistant: $25

OTHER EXPENSES and OPTIONS--(ALL WEDDINGS)

  • Altar Guild $150
  • Organist $300
  • Choir Fee (if available--donation will be accepted)
  • Bell Choir $200
  • Trumpet $200
  • Soloist rehearsal $25
  • Flower guild $200-$700 (Our Flower Guild can arrange the flowers to your specifications and to your general budget; You may arrange for your own flowers, but they must fit within the descriptions of this Customary).

Clergy Honorarium is not expected. In lieu of an honorarium, an offering to the clergy discretionary fund will be appreciated.

For Weddings in the Nave (Non-Members): All fees must be paid on or before the day of wedding rehearsal. You will pay these fees in the form of four checks: one made out to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (this check covers Church [and Parish Hall/Table Cloths, if there is a reception], plus altar guild, plus flower guild [if used]. The second check is written directly to organist. The third check is written to the sexton. The fourth is written to the sexton's assistant.

Additional Checks:  If you choose to have additional musical performers at the wedding (trumpeter, soloists, etc.), each of these people will be paid individually as well. Finally, if you choose to make a donation to the clergy discretionary fund, a separate check made out to St. Andrew's Discretionary Fund would be greatly appreciated.  

FOR WEDDINGS IN THE CHAPEL (Non-Members)

IF RECEPTION WILL BE AT ST. ANDREW'S (in St. Catherine's Room):

  • Chapel and Reception: $900
  • Sexton: $125
  • Sexton's Assistant: $25

IF NO RECEPTION ST. ANDREW'S:

  • Chapel: $750
  • Sexton: $75

OTHER EXPENSES and OPTIONS--(ALL WEDDINGS)

  • Altar Guild $150
  • Organist $300
  • Choir Fee (if available--donation will be accepted)
  • Bell Choir $200
  • Trumpet $200
  • Soloist rehearsal $25
  • Flower guild $100-$500 (Our Flower Guild can arrange the flowers to your specifications and to your general budget; You may arrange for your own flowers, but they must fit within the descriptions of this Customary).

 Clergy Honorarium is not expected. In lieu of an honorarium, an offering to the clergy discretionary fund will be appreciated.

For Weddings in the Chapel (Non-Members): All fees must be paid on or before the day of wedding rehearsal. You will pay these fees in the form of four checks: one made out to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (this check covers Church [and St. Catherine's Room, if there is a reception], plus altar guild, plus flower guild [if used]. The second check is written directly to organist. The third check is written to the sexton. The fourth is written to the sexton's assistant.

Additional Checks:  If you choose to have additional musical performers at the wedding (trumpeter, soloists, etc.), each of these people will be paid individually as well. Finally, if you choose to make a donation to the clergy discretionary fund, a separate check made out to St. Andrew's Discretionary Fund would be greatly appreciated.  

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Wedding Music

Congratulations of your upcoming marriage!

 The most frequently used music pieces are listed below. Other reasonable suggestions and requests may be accommodated as well, depending on their suitability, the availability of the music scores and so on. Please call the organist to schedule an appointment to finalize the musical plans for your wedding.

The following are the usual places in the ceremony for music, though your plans may not include all of them:

  • Prelude (arrival of congregation) (usually left to organist’s discretion).
  • Seating of the families.
  • Entrance of the wedding party.
  • Entrance of the bride.
  • At one or more points during the liturgy itself:

*After the Declaration of Consent or Presentation.

*Between readings, especially before the Gospel

*At the Offertory (if there is to be communion)

*During Communion

  • Exit of the wedding party.
  • Postlude (departure of congregation).

 Quiet Music Pieces:

  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring     —J. S. Bach

  • Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3 —J. S. Bach                                  

  • Arioso—J. S. Bach                                                              

  • Allegretto form Sonata No. 4 —Felix Mendelssohn                  

  • Adagio from Sonato No. 1     —- Felix Mendelssohn                  

  • Prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’     — Ralph V. Williams                

  • Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee —Manz                                      

  • Prelude on ’The King of Love’     —-Milford                                

  • Canon in D —Pachelbel          

 Fanfares, Marches & Trumpet Tunes

  • Processional based on “Westminister Abbey” —-ir David W. Willcocks
  • Marche en Rondeau —-Marc-Antoine Charpentier
  • Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark’s March) —-Jeremiah Clarke
  • Grand Choeur Dialogue (1st section)  —Eugene Gigout
  • Trumpet Tune in D —Henry Purcell  
  • Trumpet Tune in D —-John Stanley
  • Rondeau —Joseph Mouret

Customary Agreement Document

Before any couple marries at St. Andrew's, we ask that they each sign a document stating that they have read the information on this page (our "Wedding Customary."). That document can be downloaded from here.

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