Weddings at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
St. Paul’s is a beautiful place for a wedding, but St. Paul’s is more than a pretty face. We’re an Episcopal Church, with rich expressions of worship through liturgy, preaching, music, and Holy Communion. We’re also a progressive parish – biblically and socially – which in the case of weddings means we stand for and practice marriage equality for couples of the same or opposite sex; we prefer simply to call it marriage.
While you’re welcome to become a member of St. Paul’s, we don’t require membership or have an explicit expectation that you’ll become a member of St. Paul’s in order to celebrate your wedding here. We do ask, however, that you understand our faith traditions are important to us and are reflected, in part, by how we prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage and celebrate weddings.
Our church rental fee of $1,500 (plus a refundable security deposit of $400) includes the items and provisions specified in the rental contract (available upon request), and the stipend for our musician and building custodian. The rental fee is waived for parishioners who make and honor a financial pledge and who are members in good standing for at least one year prior to the wedding; non-active relatives of active parishioners pay the full rental fee. The use of Barth hall for wedding receptions is optional, and the rental fee and stipulations are available upon request.
The rental fee also helps St. Paul’s advance our mission of hospitality, inclusion, and justice. You can take pride knowing your wedding day helps us meet real needs in our community.
These are St. Paul’s Wedding Policies, effective 28 June 2016 (and supersede all prior policy documents):
I. One of the couple getting married must be a baptized Christian.
II. St. Paul’s Rector (our word for senior pastor/parish priest) is the primary officiant at all weddings. If you belong to another Episcopal Church or a church of another Christian tradition, your pastor may take an assisting role in the ceremony, with the approval of the Rector. Please note that only clergy who are ordained or otherwise appointed within a church structure will be considered. Clergy from other faith traditions (Jewish, Muslim, etc.) may also be able to take an assisting role, with the approval of the Rector.
III. St. Paul’s Organist/Pianist is the primary musician at all weddings. Other musicians may take an assisting role in the ceremony, with the approval of St. Paul’s Director of Music and St. Paul’s Rector.
IV. The Authorized Marriage Rite of the Episcopal Church, “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage,” is the Rite of the wedding ceremony. Minor modifications to this Rite are possible, with the approval of the Rector.
V. All wedding music is subject to the approval of St. Paul’s Director of Music and the Rector.
VI. Weddings will be scheduled at least six months prior to the intended wedding date, are subject to church building availability, and are approved at the sole discretion of St. Paul’s Rector.
VII. Weddings will be preceded by no fewer than four premarital counseling sessions, consisting of both people getting married and St. Paul’s Rector. These will be done in person, unless extreme circumstances require other arrangements (Skype, for example).
VIII. Marriages after divorce are welcome in the Episcopal Church and at St. Paul’s. In addition to all other requirements, these require at least one additional premarital counseling session, proof of legal divorce, and the approval of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan.