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Wedding Policy

Marriage Policy Manual


Marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children.  On this foundation human community is built.  A wedding is one of the most important events in anyone’s life, an experience both joyous and solemn.  In the Church, God’s Word of promise is connected to the vows of the couple:  because He has established marriage, He will continue to bless it with His abundant and ever-present support.

Therefore, in the Lutheran tradition, the Marriage Rite is a worship liturgy of God’s people, gathered to celebrate His gifts in marriage, and not the private domain of a bride and groom.

As a congregation of the North American Lutheran Church, this parish is responsible to maintain certain standards which serve to inform the Church in matters of faithful worship.  These standards are not derived arbitrarily; they reflect Lutheran belief and appropriate practice.  The congregation Statement on Worship Practices applies for all weddings conducted in this church.

In marriage you will commit yourselves to one another in a new relationship created and blessed by God.  The Church also offers on your behalf its love, prayers, and support.

General Guidelines

Eligibility:  Weddings are normally performed in Messiah Church when at least one of the couple is a voting member of the congregation.  Exceptions may be considered on an individual basis by the pastor and Congregation Council.  A written request for such an exception must be approved by mutual agreement of the pastor and congregation council.

Setting the Date:  A minimum of six months’ notice is required to schedule a wedding.  Those planning to be married must contact the pastor to arrange for the date and time of the wedding.  It is not prudent to finalize a date and time without first confirming the availability of the church building and the pastor.  Every reasonable effort will be made to celebrate your marriage on the date you request, but unavoidable conflicts sometimes occur.

Marriages are not celebrated during Holy Week or on major festivals of the Church because of the solemn nature of such times.

Wedding Locations:
On-Site Weddings:  Weddings celebrated on the premises of Messiah Lutheran Church will be subject to all pertinent liturgical and theological considerations.  Dress for such weddings will be appropriate to a worship setting.  Liturgical colors will be dictated by the current liturgical season.  Related activities carried out on the premises will be appropriate to a church environment.

Off-Site Weddings:  Weddings are normally conducted in the church.

If a wedding is to be conducted off church premises, the location, facilities and any planned decorative theme are discussed with the pastor.

Certain settings and themes may not be appropriate for a wedding conducted by the pastor.  The responsibilities of an ordained pastor in the Lutheran tradition must be upheld in all circumstances.

In cases where an off-site wedding is deemed appropriate by the pastor, the wedding couple is responsible to provide specific directions to the location and is also responsible for the travel expenses at the prevailing IRS mileage rate for all activities related to the wedding, including rehearsal as well as marriage ceremony.

The pastor’s time is finite and must be managed responsibly in consideration of all the needs of the congregation.  The pastor is accountable for his/her availability when considering time or distance requirements related to weddings.

For this reason, so-called “destination weddings” are not an obligation of the pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church, whether a participant in such an event is a member of the congregation, or not.  A marriage ceremony conducted more than one county distant from Messiah Lutheran Church will normally not be considered.

Exceptions will be evaluated by the pastor in consultation with congregation leaders on a case-by-case basis and require mutual consent.  Fees for such events will be set above the norms established in the Wedding Policy.

Planning the Wedding:  The pastor requires a minimum of five hours of counseling in preparation for marriage.  In these sessions the nature of marriage, content of the marriage liturgy, and marriage dynamics are addressed.  You are responsible for the cost of published materials used in this process.  The pastor reserves the right and has the responsibility not to marry a couple he/she deems unready for this important decision.

While the marriage liturgy is planned in keeping with the practices of the Church, there are liturgical options that can be considered to personalize the service.  The service will thus truly be your own, while preserving the elements essential to a worshipful celebration of prayer, praise and thanksgiving.  The pastor can offer alternatives during planning.

For practicing Christians, the Holy Communion is an appropriate context for the Marriage liturgy.  The Eucharist is celebrated with the understanding that the Sacrament is offered to all baptized believers who trust that Christ is truly present in the Meal.  The pastor can show you the shape of the liturgy when the Eucharist is celebrated with the marriage.

The Presiding Minister at the marriage liturgy is the pastor of the parish.  The Marriage Rite permits family members, members of the wedding party and others to carry out functions not reserved for the Presiding Minister or other ordained clergy.

Announcement of your wedding and/or a general invitation to members of the parish can be published in the Newsletter or Sunday bulletin at your request.  It is considered acceptable to invite members of the congregation to share in the marriage liturgy without including them in a reception.

Wedding Music:  Music used in a marriage liturgy must be chosen with care in order that it may be consistent with the sacred character of a marriage in the Church.  What we are planning is a service of worship and every element of the service must contribute to the worship of God in an appropriate manner.  Secular music is therefore inappropriate and is not permitted in the worship of the Church.

Musical Selections:  Theologically sound music which glorifies God Who gives His children to one another in love, which offers Him praise and thanksgiving, and which celebrates His love for His people, is appropriate at a wedding in the church.

The parish musician and the pastor can assist you in selecting appropriate music for your wedding.  All music selected, instrumental and vocal, must be consistent with the standards of the congregation Worship Policy Statement, and will be evaluated by the pastor before approval.

Copyrighted Material:  The congregation copyright policy applies with regard to weddings.  Photocopied music is prohibited unless accompanied by publisher authorization.  Electronic transmission of the wedding ceremony is prohibited.

Organist:  The parish musician normally plays for weddings in the church.  If he/she is not available, we can assist you in procuring a competent organist.  If you desire an outside organist, the parish musician will evaluate that organist’s competence on the instrument before giving approval.  You are responsible for contacting the musician to reserve the date and time of the rehearsal and wedding on his/her calendar.  You will also need to make an appointment with the musician in order to select music, not less than five months prior to the ceremony.

Soloist:  Music sung by soloists must be selected in cooperation with the parish musician and must have his/her approval.  Music selected should be within the capabilities of the musicians involved, and their musical interpretation of the music must be consistent with congregation worship standards.

Photography:  Photography, with our without flash, is not permitted during the marriage liturgy.  Pictures may be taken at the conclusion of the wedding.  Video recording from a fixed location with existing light is permitted.  Official photographers should consult with the pastor before taking photographs, at least thirty minutes prior to commencement of the liturgy.

Candles:  The bride and groom are responsible for requesting candles, and for reimbursing the congregation Altar Guild for the cost of candles other than the altar candles.  This request is conveyed through the Altar Guild contact person listed on the Schedule of Fees.  Requests must be conveyed at least two months prior to the wedding.

Bulletins:  The bride and groom are responsible for selecting and purchasing blank bulletins, if bulletins are desired, and for delivering them to the parish office at least four weeks prior to the date of the wedding for preparation.  Consult the Schedule of Fees for preparation cost.

Participants:  Participants (including the bride, groom, and all members of the wedding party) should be on time for all meetings and the wedding rehearsal, and should be at the church at least one hour prior to the start of the service.  Please call the parish office (272-2922) to advise of any delays.

Decorations:  All decorative items must be appropriate for a Lutheran liturgical setting and must be approved by the pastor.

After the Wedding:  Confetti, rice, and bird seed are not permitted on church property.  Biodegradable balloons may be launched if desired.  Please remove all personal items from church premises on the day of the wedding.

Reception:  The Fellowship Hall is available to members for wedding receptions.  The hall should be reserved when the wedding date is set.  Catering is the responsibility of the bride and groom.  Consult the Schedule of Fees for cost information.  Church policy prohibits smoking and the use of alcohol on church property.

The people of Messiah Church rejoice with you as you anticipate and plan for your wedding.  We hope this information is helpful in that process.  We look forward to celebrating this happy day with you and we pray for God’s guidance and blessings as you prepare for your wedding.

(Total due prior to the day of the rehearsal, payable to “Messiah Lutheran Church” and delivered to the church office during office hours; non-refundable)

For voting members of Messiah:
(Voting member defined as one who has four Communions of record in the current year and one contribution of record in the current year.)

Pastor                                                                                                    Discretion of the couple

Recital and Liturgy                                                                               $150.00
Rehearsal                                                                                                $35.00
Conferences (each instance)
selection of music                                                                                 $25.00
Soloist rehearsals                                                                                  $20.00

Facility Services Contractor
Rehearsal                                                                                                 $30.00
Wedding                                                                                                   $70.00

Special Furnishings (Altar Guild president)
Call church office for contact information (272-2922)
Candelabra candles (at altar)                                                               current cost

Bulletin Preparation
Parish Office (272-2922)
Formatting                                                                                                $10.00
Printing                                                                                                      $0.10/page

License Administration                                                                   no charge

Fellowship Hall use (no smoking or alcohol use)
Parish Office (272-2922)
Additional Facility Services Contractor fee                                         $50.00
Reserve through the Parish Office

For Others:

Pastor (includes required premarital counseling)                                        $300.00
Use of facility (excluding Fellowship Hall) suggested donation                $250.00
Facility Services Contractor                                                                               as above

Security deposit (returnable after inspection by church administration)
Required at time of reservation                                                                        $150.00
Other fees as above.

Fellowship Hall is available to members only.

Approved 7/9/13

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856