Getting Marries at St. Mary's Church
Congratulations on your engagement!
We are thrilled to help you to celebrate this happy event in your life. The joining together of two people in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is one of the most joyful gifts which we have to offer, and we look forward to working with you to make your wedding day a blessed, life-affirming, and strong beginning to your marriage.
The Episcopal Church is governed by canon law and by the law of the state, both of which set boundaries on what we may do in a public worship service, which your wedding liturgy is. A member of the clergy will be happy to work with you to craft a service that reflects your own desires and wishes, while also maintaining the traditions which have been handed down in the church of Christ.
The liturgy of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is contained in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 423. Any deviation from the rite found there is to be discussed with the clergy. Your wedding may or may not include Holy Communion. It is the rule of the church that Communion is available to all baptized Christians.
A few things to bear in mind
- Capacity | The nave of the church can seat approximately 125 people.
- Dressing areas | It might work best if the undercroft is made available for the bride and her party; while the Guild Hall or the Parish Office are made available for the groom and his party.
- The building | When you are wed at St. Mary’s, you are not “renting the building” but entering into the worship space of a community of faith. We know that you and your guests will treat St. Mary’s as sacred space. We ask that no furniture or fittings be moved, either in the nave or the chancel of the church.
- Candles | At a wedding with Holy Communion, the candles on the altar must be lit. You have the option of making use of pew torches and/or candelabra in your service. If the large candelabra are used, there will be a small fee of $15 to cover the large number of candles used. Note that Unity Candles are not part of the tradition of the Episcopal Church, and are not provided.
- Flowers | Flowers may certainly be brought into the church. Two arrangements may be placed on the retable (the shelf behind the Altar); these arrangements will be left as a thank-offering to the parish for the next Sunday service of Holy Eucharist, at which service you and your marriage will be blessed and remembered. Flowers may be placed elsewhere in the church as is convenient, as long as they are not taped, nailed, or tacked to any surface.
- Rings | The wedding rings are the responsibility of the Best Man and the Maid of Honor up to the point when the Priest requests them in the service.
- Ushers | We recommend at least two ushers to help with the seating. They should be ready to serve at least 30 minutes before the service begins.
- Deliveries | If altar flowers, bouquets, and boutonnieres are to be delivered to the church, please make arrangements with the clergy to meet the delivery.
- Bulletins | The clergy may make a draft of the content of the bulletin, to make sure the appropriate liturgical information is conveyed. The final layout, design, and printing will be handled by you.
- The Bell | The church bell is a joyous way to announce your wedding. If you wish to have it rung after the wedding, please appoint someone to do this. It may be the usher, a member of the congregation, or even the priest. Maybe you two want to ring it!
- Rice and the like | Rice, bird seed, rose petals, and confetti are really hard to clean up and we’d ask you not to have them thrown at the conclusion of your service. If you have a flower girl in your wedding party, she may sprinkle rose petals (real or silk) on the aisle during the procession.
- Music | Your wedding is first and foremost a service of worship to God. Therefore, sacred music is typically used. Sometimes we get requests for the famous tunes, the “Bridal Chorus” from Lohengrin or Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”. These pieces of music are secular in origin, and have become heavily associated with secular weddings. Please work with our organist and music director, Candace Armstrong, to plan the music for your wedding. As our parish music director, she has the right of first refusal to play your wedding. Should she not be available, she will work with you to help find a musician.
- Photography | Cameras have really gotten to be very good these days, and are capable of taking good shots without a flash.
- You may take posed photos before the service, to be completed no later than 30 minutes before the start of the service
- Photos may be taken during the service, but only a single designated photographer may move around in the chancel area to take photographs. These must be without a flash.
- If desired, any part of the ceremony may be reenacted after the service for flash cameras.
- Videography is allowed from stationary positions, using one or two tripods.
- Rehearsal | Typically a rehearsal takes place the evening before the wedding, and will last about an hour.
- Licenses | It is the responsibility of the couple to secure the wedding license. If the bride is a resident of Kentucky, the license is obtained from the County Clerk of the county in which she resides. If the bride is not a resident of Kentucky, the marriage license may be obtained from any County Clerk.
- Receptions at the church | You may wish to have your reception in the Guild Hall, or if the weather is nice, on the grounds.
- The Guild Hall has an adequate kitchen, and might comfortably seat 50 or 60 people. Ordinarily, use of the kitchen requires us to bring in a person to manage the kitchen, particularly the clean-up and putting away of dishes. This fee will typically run about $50.
- Alcohol may be served at the reception, however Episcopal Church policy expects that when alcohol is provided at functions, non-alcoholic drinks must be served as well. Alcoholic beverages must be clearly labeled as such, and of course may not be served to minors.
- Amplified music at a reception is permitted, as long as it is not too terribly loud.