WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR SCHEDULING A WEDDING AT ST. PAUL LUTHERAN CHURCH?
- Read a copy of St. Paul’s Wedding Preparations Guide.
- After reviewing the guide and determining that you desire a Christian wedding through St. Paul Lutheran Church, please contact the church office and make an appointment with our pastor. At this appointment a determination will be made whether or not to schedule the wedding at St. Paul. At this time you be able to discuss any issues or ask any questions you may have regarding your choice of St. Paul for the location of your wedding. Similarly, the pastor may wish to discuss with you important matters of faith and life.
- Bring the completed Wedding Application and security deposit to your appointment in order to reserve the church.
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE?
Marriage is God’s idea. At the beginning of time it was the Lord who said, “it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. . .” God instituted marriage for a number of reasons. Marriage is the foundation of the family and the proper place for the raising of children and for passing on the faith to them. Marriage is the proper place for the expressing of romantic love and sexual intimacy. Marriage was intended by God as the place for a man and woman to share life’s deepest friendship, companionship, and togetherness. Christian marriage is intended to be a reflection of the love of Christ for us – his people (Ephesians 5:21ff). Christian couples desire to love one another as Christ has first loved them. Christian marriage expresses the deepest form of love that we can know in this life. It is a love that gives, serves, sacrifices, commits, forgives, nurtures, and cares for one’s spouse until “death parts us.” For that type of love to occur, Christian couples need to FIRST seek to know, love, and embrace Jesus Christ in their life and then, from the love of Christ, love one another.
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN WEDDING?
A Christian wedding, therefore, is a special worship service of the church that focuses not on mere sentimentality or “warm fuzzies” but on the serious commitment of the couple to one another until death parts them. The Christian wedding IS NOT only about the bride and groom, but it recognizes and emphasizes that Christ is the source of perfect love and that the bride and groom desire to love one another empowered by and centered in the love of God.
A “church” wedding is not for the purpose of having a beautiful setting for the ceremony. It is not because God will “bless us more” if the wedding is in a church. It is not “better” in God’s eyes because of where the ceremony takes place. A “church” wedding is to be an expression of faith on the part of the bride and groom and it is to be a reflection of the faith of the couple and their desire to honor and serve God with their lives as husband and wife.
Therefore a Christian wedding ceremony will include distinctively Christian or sacred music and not “love songs” from the popular culture. (See more about this in the section on music.) It will include the reading of God’s Word from the Bible, a wedding address that is centered in Christ but applicable to the couple, and vows that reflect the Christian teaching on marriage as a lifelong commitment of love and faithfulness.
While a Christian wedding ceremony is a time of worship, it is also a time of celebration and joy as God unites two people into “one flesh.” (Matthew 19:6) Therefore, a festive atmosphere of joy, celebration and family love is always welcome as well.
Couples who have not yet come to the point in their life where they wish to take their spiritual commitments seriously or do not see their wedding as a time of worship along with the celebration should consider having their wedding somewhere other than St. Paul, or they should consider a civil ceremony. (A civil ceremony is completely legitimate but does not involve the church directly when the couple is not yet ready or prepared for that type of service.) This doesn’t make you a “bad” person if you chose an option other than the church. It simply recognizes that you’re at a different place in terms of your life of faith.
Couples who may not have a great deal of religious background or experience in the Christian faith, but are seeking a deeper more meaningful relationship with God, and who want to include Christ in their lives as they enter into Holy Marriage are invited and encouraged to talk with the pastor as they consider what to do in planning their wedding.
WHO MAY BE MARRIED AT ST. PAUL?
- MEMBERS who are active in worship and in the life of the church.
- NON-MEMBERS who are worshiping at St. Paul and/or who are interested in joining St. Paul or learning more about the Christian faith.
- INACTIVE MEMBERS (those who are not worshiping on a regular basis) may have their wedding at St. Paul, but it should not be assumed. Inactive members need to think seriously about what their membership at St. Paul means and if they are prepared to return to regular worship. Having a wedding at St. Paul is not a right; it is a privilege and an honor.
The Wedding Preparations Guide that includes information about Weddings at St. Paul along with the Application for Marriage at St. Paul Lutheran Church can be downloaded.