Congratulations! As you are considering a wedding at Westminster, we celebrate with you this joyful part of your life. The pastors and the members of Westminster Church are glad to contribute to this deeply meaningful event. We believe that marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. In the marriage ceremony, a lifelong commitment is made by the couple, which is blessed by God and celebrated by the community of faith.
Your wedding day is a joyful and sacred occasion and is a promise of things to come. Weddings are performed here both for members, where either the bride or groom is on the active roll of this church, and for non members. We welcome all who are sincerely seeking God’s blessing through a Christian wedding in our tradition.
The purpose of this pamphlet is to provide information for those planning a wedding here. The information provided primarily focuses on the mechanics surrounding the event. Separate meetings are held with the minister, the wedding coordinator and the organist to plan for the ceremony. In addition, our denomination requires that the pastor do premarital counseling with every couple prior to the wedding.
We celebrate the wedding ceremony as a worship service. Every part is oriented around God’s presence, expressed in signs of loving commitment, joy and awe. We invite everyone to participate in this worship as we ask God’s blessing on the beginning of this new life together. Please keep in mind what the Presbyterian constitution says:
“Reverence shall be expected on the part of all present, and the service shall be under the sole direction of the pastor. Such music as accompanies the ceremony should direct attention to God, who sanctifies marriage, and special care should be taken to assure that it is suitable and reverent. In all the activities surrounding the ceremony, excessive expense and ostentation should be avoided.”
May God’s blessings richly be yours as you discover the goodness of marriage together and as you follow God’s guidance in your home and throughout your lives!
STEPS FOR PLANNING A WEDDING
FIRST – CLEAR A DATE ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR
- Call or visit the church office, consult with the secretary who schedules weddings and agree on a date and time for both the wedding and the rehearsal.
- Please be prepared to pay a non-refundable deposit fee of $100.00 at this time.
- Westminster’s Wedding Packet with all necessary information for completing details for a church wedding will be given or mailed to the bride.
SECOND – READ THE WEDDING GUIDELINES
- Please read this entire pamphlet entitled “Weddings in Westminster”.
- Call the church office, 402-475-6702×102 if you have questions.
THIRD – SCHEDULE WEDDING CONFERENCE WITH A PASTOR
- Weddings at Westminster are under the oversight of the Senior Pastor. Requests to the Senior Pastor for other current Westminster pastors to participate generally will honored. While we try to honor requests, we ask your understanding given the scheduled of the clergy.
- Both the bride and groom together are to meet with the officiating pastor at least twice.
- These consultations with a pastor will include a discussion of both the wedding service and the meaning of Christian marriage.
- The couple will be expected to take an online assessment which will be discussed at one of the consultations. The cost is $30, payable when arrangements are made to take the assessment.
FOURTH – SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT WITH CHURCH ORGANIST
- All musical arrangements for weddings are to be made in consultation with the church organist.
- Bring questions and musical preferences with you, not necessarily your completed plans.
- Pre-recorded music is not permitted.
FIFTH – SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT WITH WEDDING COORDINATOR
- The Westminster wedding coordinator will meet with you to discuss all fees and arrangements with regard to the use of the building, its rooms and equipment, plus details on the services provided by the church staff.
A Christian wedding is for those who accept the Christian faith and seek earnestly God’s blessing. The pastors are careful to explain and uphold the principles and standards of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The regular appointments of the church (such as the communion table, baptismal font, cross, candles etc.) are to be left in place. A unity candle may be placed on the communion table. Flower arrangements may not be placed on the communion table. The woodwork is not to be defaced in any way. The paraments – table cover, pulpit and lectern hangings – are changed according to the church year, and remain in place for each season. Seasonal decorations must remain in place.
Bridal parties are requested to be prompt in attendance at wedding rehearsals. In addition to the principals, it is desirable that key family members of both the bride and groom be present.
All weddings conducted in Westminster must conform with the policies of the Session of the church, which is the governing body in a local Presbyterian congregation. The Session delegates the supervision of these policies to one of the pastors of Westminster who is in charge of any wedding service, with the assistance of the Wedding Coordinator and the Associate Director of Music and Fine Arts.
As is true in most churches, one of the pastors of Westminster is to officiate at all weddings held in our church building.
If the assistance of another clergy person is desired, this arrangement must be cleared with the senior pastor on our staff, who will then extend the invitation to assist. This is according to regular pastoral courtesy and ethics.
The Director of Music and Fine Arts will play for all weddings in Westminster, unless other arrangements are approved by the Director of Music and Fine Arts.
Reception: If the wedding reception is to take place at the church, all arrangements must be made separately through the Church Office by completing a Building Use Form. There are fees involved.
THE USE OF THE CHURCH AND ITS FURNISHINGS
- Pews – 26 rows each side of center aisle
- Seats – 600
- Aisle Candles – 14 (7 on each side; every 3rd pew)
- Pews – 12 rows each side of center aisle
- Seats – 150
- Center aisle – 45 ft.
The facilities of the church include a bride’s, bridesmaid’s, and groom’s dressing room. A quiet room is available for children during the wedding service.
Westminster is well equipped for a wide variety of weddings, making available such things as aisle candles, candelabra and a kneeling bench.
When selecting a unity candle, two tapers must also be purchased to go on each side of the unity candle. You may choose to provide your own candle holders, or you may use the church candle holders.
Instruct your florist that all floral arrangements must have a base that protects surfaces from getting wet. Real flower petals for the flower girls baskets are not permitted.
If your flower girls and/or ring bearers are younger than age 4, please consult with the wedding coordinator about arranging for an adult to be responsible for walking down the aisle with them, if necessary. There entrance is not to be “circus like”, i.e. no pulling them in a wagon.
No throwing anything, including rice, birdseed or anything that may litter the church grounds. We recommend ringing of bells or using bubbles (outside only). No helium balloons are allowed inside the church.
Nothing is to be placed on, removed from or rearranged on the communion table (except unity candle).
During the ceremony photography is limited. Persons with prior consent of the wedding coordinator may take non-flash photos from the balcony only. No photography may be taken from any other place in the sanctuary. Movement is distracting to the congregation and thus is to be very limited. Westminster will video your wedding for a fee of $350. Other persons making videos may record from the back balcony only. Movement should be limited.
Smoking is prohibited. Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed in the church building or on the church premises.
The church is not responsible for items left unattended (i.e. cameras, cell phones, or other personal belongings.
The bride’s family assumes responsibility for all gifts brought to the church or reception. Remember that the church is open, as a public building. Normal precautions should be taken to assure that gifts are protected.
Persons should be designated to take charge of the gifts before and during the service, and to take all gifts from the church building after the wedding.
Wedding ceremonies are the most important moment in someone’s life. There is a lot of planning on the part of many people. Our staff for a wedding includes: the minister, the organist, the wedding coordinator, the audio technician and the custodians. They and others contribute many hours behind the scenes to make this event the beautiful event it can be. In light of there time and work, we ask the fee of $1,200 for members ($1,400 for non members). The fee includes a returnable damage deposit which will be returned within two (2) weeks after the wedding if no damage or misuse of the church facilities has been found.
A non-refundable deposit of $100 is to be paid when your wedding date is placed on the church calendar. Checks are to be payable to Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Westminster will video your wedding for a fee of $350. If you wish to have a video, let the wedding coordinator know at the time of your consultation.
The balance due on all wedding fees are payable to Westminster Church one month before the wedding.
There is a fee of $250 for the Pastor’s services at off-site weddings, payable at the time of the pre-marital counseling sessions. If the wedding is held outside the city, there will be an additional fee for travel expenses.
–Revised: January, 2011