Weddings at St. Peter & St. Paul
A Wedding is a joyous occasion in our lives, celebrated across cultures and religions. With so many different practices and understandings of weddings and marriage, this webpage is intended to describe the approach and practice at St. Peter & St. Paul. Read this information below to see if this is what you seek for your wedding. If so, we would be delighted to support you in this process and into your married life together. If you have any questions, please contact the parish office. 770-977-7473.
The Theology of Marriage
We believe that marriage is more than a contract for convenience. Marriage is both a legal contract and a public, solemn religious commitment: a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman for a lifelong and exclusive relationship, made in the presence of God, with God’s blessing, and within the community of faith. Because of the nature of these commitments, the intention and preparation of the couple and their connection to the community is essential.
The Episcopal Church, like many denominations, has differing views about same-sex blessings and weddings. In keeping with historic Christian teaching on marriage and sexual ethics, St. Peter and St. Paul and its clergy do not conduct these liturgies, though some other local Episcopal parishes do. Click here for more information.
The Importance of the Christian Community
Because of the importance of the Christian Community in upholding and strengthening married couples, weddings are normally intended for active members of this parish. If you are not a member, we welcome you to join (click here for more information). In some cases, we can coordinate with your clergy if you are a member elsewhere and for family reasons desire to be married here. At least one of the parties must be a baptized Christian. For information on Baptism, click here.
Because of the solemn nature of this commitment, engaged couples prepare for marriage in several ways. We normally plan at least sixty to ninety days in advance. This allows for the scheduling of premarital counseling, logistical planning and the couple’s mutual work of preparing to be husband and wife. The officiating priest meets with the couple at least four times for premarital counseling and at least one additional time for planning the logistics of the wedding. Premarital counseling by the priest is intended to be a pastoral support to the couple for the long term, equipping them with relationship skills and building awareness of both strengths in the relationship and areas needing strengthening. It should be noted that, though not often exercised, it is within the discretion of the priest to decline to solemnize any marriage. A legal marriage license is also required.
Any person desiring to be remarried (whose former spouse still lives) is required to receive permission from the bishop for remarriage. This safeguards the integrity of the marriage covenant, and calls to attention responsibilities to the former spouse and any children from the previous marriage. The priest will discuss the matter with the couple and request permission from the bishop’s office in writing.
Planning the Wedding
In order to preserve both the theology of marriage and this community’s practice, the Rector is the final coordinator of all wedding activities at St. Peter & St. Paul. All wedding coordinators, photographers, videographers, florists, musicians and interested friends and family should clear activities or plans with the priest and accept direction, if need be, on the day of the wedding. This insures a smoothly run and joyful occasion for all involved. The Director of Music will plan, provide or approve all music, including any additional musicians. The couple will meet with the priest and the Director of Music to plan the logistical details of the wedding. These plans are normally finalized in writing thirty days in advance.
Because we have a regular worshipping community that meets on Saturdays at 5:30 PM, Saturday weddings are scheduled to start either 3:00 PM and earlier or 7:30 PM and later.
We have a parish hall that may be available for small receptions; additional cleaning fees would apply. Alcohol is not permitted.
Ceremonial Custom for Weddings at St. Peter & St. Paul
Weddings are services of the worship of God. Each church has its own way of expressing worship, and its own customs for the conduct of weddings. Within these customs, the married couple can plan with the priest particular variations that are fitting for them, including the selection of music and Bible readings. We follow the “Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” in the Book of Common Prayer (pages 423-434) as the order for the wedding service. [Click here for an online prayer book]. This form of worship has many styles of application that you may have seen in other communities. Some styles are practiced in this community, some are not.
At St. Peter & St. Paul, you will find:
- Instrumental, congregational and ensemble music coordinated by the Director of Music at St. Peter & St. Paul,
- Beautiful flowers provided by the Flower Guild of St. Peter & St. Paul,
- Celebration of the Holy Eucharist (but not always)
- Experienced coordination by clergy and assigned volunteers,
- A warm welcome to guests.
You will not find:
- Rice, birdseed, doves or butterflies
- Flash Photography during the liturgy
- Distractions from photographers, videographers, or others
- Recorded music or vocal soloists (we prefer ensemble and congregational singing)
The following fees apply:
- Altar Flowers, bouquets and boutonnieres: $250
- Director of Music: $400
- Cleaning fee: $75
- Clergy: we do not charge a fee for counseling or officiating, but we do welcome a donation to the discretionary fund for those in need.
- Other fees may apply, including for additional musicians or additional flowers.
This webpage is intended to supplement rather than replace the counsel and cooperative efforts of the clergy in planning your special day. Please use this as a starting point for that personal conversation. And again, Congratulations!