Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
We are pleased that you have approached our parish to help you celebrate the expression of your love through the Sacrament of Marriage. The Rector of our parish is responsible for the administration of weddings, but if there are other clergy that you wish to share this special time with, rest assured that they will be fully included in the process!
What is marriage?
The Church seems to be obvious place for most couples to make a public commitment to each other. We want couples to understand what the Church teaches about marriage so that your wedding day will be as meaningful and special as we can help make it. CHRISTIANS believe that marriage is not something that began with the Christian faith or was created by the Church.
We BELIEVE that God created us in His own image, male and female together, and His purpose is that we, male and female should find fulfillment and partnership in faithful, life-long relationships of love and trust.
What creates a marriage is not a ceremony, or a piece of paper, but the honest love and true commitment of a woman and a man to offer the gift of each other’s love (for better or for worse!) as wife and husband for the rest of their lives.
What is “Getting Married in Church” all about?
A CHURCH WEDDING will be very meaningful for a couple who see their RELATIONSHIP AND MARRIAGE, as being connected to a healthy faith relationship with their Church, God and Our Lord Jesus Christ.
A CHURCH WEDDING should be chosen only by couples who want God to be an important part of their actual wedding vows.
A CHURCH WEDDING is not just an event – but a confirmation of your lifelong process of commitment to each other.
The Marriage Ceremony is a Sacrament.
A Sacrament takes place, when people reach out to God, fully expecting God to reach back to them. That means that on your wedding day, we will reach out as a Christian family to God in Prayer and with our hearts. In return, Our Father will give you the Spiritual, Inward Grace (Gift of Strength), to keep the vows that you make each other.
YOUR FIRST DUTY is to seek and find God in the midst of your lives. IF you do not want God to be a part of your life, or are unwilling to be a practicing, and contributing member of your Church, the Christian Church is NOT the place for you to be married. Civil Marriage is readily available for those who desire it.
Marriage is a civil contract made between husband and wife. It is a ceremony recognized by law and can be performed by judges, clergy and others given this authority by the provincial government.
Christian Marriage adds a sacramental dimension to a civil contract. By choosing marriage in the Church, you have called upon God’s grace and made your union a Sacrament; an outward and visible sign of God’s grace which can strengthen your relationship.
Guidelines and Requirements:
Section One: The Order of Service
Within the Anglican Church of Canada, you may choose either the service from the Book of Common Prayer or The Book of Alternative Services. Each of these services is available with or without the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The clergy will assist you in the planning of your service. You are encouraged to have family and friends involved in the celebration. Couples are expected to become familiar with the service. This will make is so much more meaningful on your wedding day. If you do not have a copy of The Book of Alternative Services you can borrow one from the Church to assist you in becoming familiar with the service.
Section Two: Legal Requirements
The Sacrament of Marriage has two components:
Canon Law, which governs the practises of clergy and people with the Church, and
Civil Law, which are rules and regulations to be followed in order for your marriage to be legal.
The clergy officiating at your wedding must normally have 60 days notice. If either of the couple has been divorced we require at least 90 days prior to the requested date.
A Marriage License is required by provincial law. The cost is set by the government. There is a four day waiting period from the date of application to the issuance of the license. The license is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and the clergy should have it at least four days prior to the wedding. It may be obtained from any designated Marriage Commissioner.
Persons under the age of sixteen are not permitted to be married, except as provided by the Solemnization of Marriage Act. Minors, i.e., those under the age of nineteen, require a copy of Form 11, Section 19, “Consent to a Minor”, which the marriage commissioner will give you and have a parent sign. Before performing the ceremony of a minor, the clergy must see the signed form, and have the approval of the Bishop.
There are other Government requirements if you have been divorced.
Section Three: If either of you have been divorced:
If one or both of the parties is divorced, the marriage commissioner requires the original certificate(s) of divorce or copy(ies) certified by the court when you go for your license.
The Anglican Church permits the remarriage of divorced persons, however, Canon Law requires the clergy apply for permission to perform the ceremony. To do this, clergy need the original certificate of divorce or a certified copy from which a photocopy can be made. An application is completed by the couple in consultation with the clergy. The rector forwards your application to the Matrimonial Commission of our Diocese which may or may not give its consent. Without this consent, and approval of our Bishop, no Anglican priest may conduct the ceremony. Approval of the application normally takes 30 days from the date of submission to the Matrimonial Commission, so arrangements should be made early to meet with the clergy.
Remember, if either of the couple has been divorced we required at least ninety days prior to the requested date.
It is intended that this be a friendly and pastoral process, designed to strengthen the future marriage.
Section Four: Before you set the date
Before arrangements are made, such as book of a hall, caterer, photographer, etc., you should contact the Rector.
Marriages are not normally performed between Passion Sunday and Easter Day, ex: two weeks before Easter.
Confetti is NOT to be thrown in the church or parking lot.
Canopies and columns and other overpowering decorations which hide the altar and chancel are not permitted.
Per markers are to be attached with elastic or string, or tied with ribbons around the tops of seats. Absolutely, NO pins or tape!
We normally set marriages for 2:00pm, or 3:30pm. However this time can be flexible.
Section Five: Officiating Clergy
The Rector of the parish is responsible for the administration of weddings. Couples sometimes wish to have another priest or minister from outside the parish assist at the ceremony. This is normally acceptable and welcomed, with the prior permission and invitation of the rector of the parish. Be sure to get permission from the rector BEFORE asking another priest or minister.
Section Six: Marriage Preparation and Counselling Sessions
Clergy are bound by the Canon Law of the Church to ensure, that you are properly prepared to enter into your marriage covenant. At the service it is publicly announced that “you have complied with civil and canon law and have been duly prepared to enter into marriage”. If you live in this area you will be required to meet with the Rector for marriage preparation. If you live away, you will be required to contact a local Anglican Church to arrange a marriage preparation. If needed, we will gladly help you connect with a Church wherever you are. A letter of recommendation indicating that the couple has completed marriage preparation must be forwarded to the host parish.
Pastoral Service to Members of other Churches or Congregations:
Sometimes clergy are asked to be involved with weddings of people from other churches. If the rector is asked to take part in such a ceremony for members of other congregations, the rector will contact the clergy of the church in which the persons are being married before providing the service. Our goal is to aid other Churches in their ministry without interfering.
It is expected that at least one of the persons desiring marriage MUST be a baptized Anglican.
Section Seven: The Rehearsal
The rehearsal normally takes place an evening or two before the ceremony. The couple shall notify all members of the wedding party requesting them to arrive on time. It is helpful for persons doing readings or prayers to also attend the rehearsal and read their passages from the lectern Bible, or to bring their own Bibles with the passages marked. The organist will not normally attend the rehearsal unless you request it. The Groom and his attendants should be at the church at least fifteen minutes before the ceremony and the Bride and her attendants at least five minutes before the ceremony. This will give you time to straighten hair, suits and dresses. It is very important to be on time out of respect for guests and out of consideration, especially on those days where another wedding follows yours.
Section Eight: The Wedding Party
Normally, the Best Man and Matron of Honour act as the official witnesses and sign the legal documents. Since law required that witnesses who sign must be at least sixteen years of age, some other members of the party must sign if your chosen Best Man or Maid of Honour is under is under sixteen.
Ushers: You are invited to include family members or friends as ushers. They should be at the church no less than a half hour before the ceremony.
Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: Please take care in including pre-school aged children in your wedding party. It is not fair to a small child to expect them to stand silently for forty minutes. It is not fair to you, to have everyone’s attention in the church focused on children who are simply behaving as it is normal for small children, who have been asked to stand quietly for forty minutes.
Section Nine: The use of alcohol or other intoxicants
Should any member of the Wedding be under the influence of alcohol or other abused substance, the celebrant is required by law to stop the ceremony. It is against the law for any official to conduct a wedding if either of the couple is impaired in any way due to substance abuse.
Section Ten: Photographers
ONLY your official photographer is permitted to take pictures during the ceremony or signing of the register. Videotaping from a tripod placed in the chancel (the area where the choir is seated) is permitted only by your official representative. The photographer is expected to be discreet and record the marriage, not stage manage or interrupt the ceremony.
This rule protects the sacred nature of the Sacrament, and helps ensure that your wedding photos are of the best quality (not marred by interference from other people, or the flashed from other cameras). It also ensures that you can be clearly be seen, heard and understood by the congregation whom you have invited to support you. Professional photographers are normally familiar with the ceremony. However, if you are having a family member or friend photograph your wedding, it is essential for them to attend the rehearsal to familiarize themselves with the service and speak to the priest about setup.
No person is to enter the sanctuary (the area behind the altar rail). No books or Church possession are to be moved.
It is a good idea to speak to the parish clergy beforehand regarding your choice of photographer, as we will be able to share past experiences with you.
Section Eleven: Church Fees “Booking the Church and Paying the Fees”
Please do not think of arranging the Church as “booking” it for your wedding. The Church is a family which lives together, shares the community, worships weekly in the church building and does its best to love and serve Christ and one another. The Church is not a public building, business or a rental property but a family home. It is supported by the congregation through worship, prayer, and work. The congregations of Christ Church and the Church of the Ascension make it available to you through sharing their gifts, talents, and money. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to keep ministry such as these vital and healthy.
In helping you prepare for your wedding, our clergy willingly become your consultants, organizers, counselors, and facilitators. The clergy’s time and use of our building are available to active members of the church without charge except for honorariums for people involved. As you consider the amount for “fees”, please consider: the clergy do not receive any extra compensation for the work done or time we spend with you. The money you give simply offsets the costs of utilities and maintenance of our Churches, and is a spiritual reflection of thanksgiving for the gifts of God in your lives.
Also, as you consider the amount for “fees”
- Please take a look at how much or how little YOU (not your parents or grandparents have contributed to the work of the Church in the past year.
- Please consider the overall importance of the Church in your actual wedding!
- Please remember that your “fees” (which we refer to as a donation) are asked of you as a token of your consideration for the time and care given to you by other who are involved with the Church.
- Your fees should be placed in clearly marked envelopes and given to the priest or appropriate person BEFORE the wedding.
- Please remember that the church building has to be cleaned after the rehearsal and the wedding service. Your donation to the church will help offset the cost of lighting, heating, and cleaning. If you are not a regular contributor to the Church, then please remember that someone has to pay to ensure the Church is cleaned and maintained. Please include your name and mailing address inside the envelope so a receipt for income tax purposes can be issued to you at the end of the year.
The following is a schedule of fees for those involved with your ceremony:
The Church: It is VERY APPROPRIATE AND TRADITIONAL to give an offering to the Church on your wedding day, as a sign of your gratitude to God. At Christ Church there is a fee (donation) of $75.00
Clergy: If you so choose, a gift of thanks may be offered to the celebrant.
Organist: A gift of thanks may be given to the organist (please use your own discretion).
All fees and gifts should be placed in clearly marked envelopes and given to the clergy or appropriate person prior to the Wedding Ceremony.
Section Twelve: Church Bulletins
Supply and Preparation of Bulletins for the service are your responsibility. The rector is only too glad to help you in the preparation and coping.
Section Thirteen: Music in The Church
There are many pieces of music that are suited to the joy and solemnity of a Marriage Ceremony. In every case, music should reflect mutual love and the celebration of God’s Grace in our lives. A hymn should be sung during the service.
The Rector will help with your selections, and he/she reserves the right to decide what pieces of music are appropriate for use in Church.
PLEASE NOTE: It is your responsibility to contact the Church Organist or musicians in advance to discuss the music.
Today many couples have soloists sing at their wedding. If you have chosen a soloist, the music must be approved by the rector. Solos are normally sung at the entrance of the Bridal Party, and during the signing of the register; solos are NOT recommended as the wedding party leave the church building. The reason for this is simple: attention is on you as you leave the church, people are standing and talking and the soloist is often unheard and ignored. Appropriate music is fine.
You may choose much for your wedding ceremony but clergy reserves the right to decide what pieces of music are appropriate. If an organist and/or soloist is required those to be married are responsible for booking them.
There are two organists at Christ Church; Mrs. Eileen Colbourne and Mrs. Ruth Skinner. If you wish, the organist can suggest soloists. Solos are normally sung at the entrance of the bridal party or during the signing of the register.
Section Fourteen: Wedding Receptions
Clergy do not automatically attend the wedding reception, nor should you feel any obligation to ask them. However, if you wish them to attend, please send a special invitation as you would to any other guest and they will respond when they are able. Invitations extended at the time of the rehearsal or on the wedding day may not be accepted as clergy often have other work related commitments.
Words of Advice about your Reception
Take care in your selection of your Master of Ceremonies and make sure the person is well aware of what you want said and what you DON’T WANT SAID. Moderation should your watchword. You should bear in mind that crude, offensive language or racial and sexist jokes and comments are not only an embarrassment to many people but they destroy the special nature of the occasion. The purpose of the MC is to enhance this event which celebrates the extraordinary commitment you have made to each other. You will never make a more important promise or begin a more enjoyable journey. This moment is to be savoured and enjoyed and remembered. Its memory will help you through difficulties and disagreements, through argument and anger. If it is marred by offensive jokes and crude comments you lose one of the most wonderful shared memories on which a good marriage is based. Choose your MS with care.
Life After Marriage
We endeavor to show our Christian love for you at this special time in your lives. The Church is a family and like every family we are happy to share in special events. As you come and ask God’s blessing on your marriage and lives together, please consider your personal commitment to God the Father and to Jesus Christ.
Consider the Christian Church as part of your family. We invite you to worship regularly with us at either Christ Church in Milltown/Head of Bay d’Espoir or the Church of Ascension, Morrisville. If you live elsewhere we encourage you to find a Church where you will be welcome.