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LCHS Emmaus, PA

All Are Welcome

Guidelines for Weddings

Planning The Marriage Service

When should we schedule our wedding? Before you set a date for your wedding, contact the church office to check on the availability of the building and one of the pastors. This should be done at least six months before the wedding date.
Who may preside at our wedding? The presiding minister will be one of the pastors of Holy Spirit, one of whom you may specifically request, or one will be assigned to work with you. Friends or relatives who are clergy are welcome to take assisting roles in the liturgy.
Is counseling required? Pre-marital counseling with one of the pastors is required as is a meeting with the wedding coordinator. The wedding coordinator will meet with you to discuss the details of flow and decorations.
What is the order of worship? The Order for marriage (page 286 of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Book) provides a framework for planning the service. While a great deal of flexibility is possible, this order: a) provides for the entire assembly to participate in acts of worship, b) makes clear that this is worship of God, c) provides for the reading of Holy Scripture, d) provides for an exchange of vows between bride and groom which sets forth marriage as a mutual, life-long covenant of fidelity.
Anything that is not standard practice in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America must be discussed with and approved by the pastor and in consultation with the wedding coordinator before the wedding. The sacrament of Holy Communion may be included in the liturgy, with the understanding that it is open to all baptized Christians.
Is photography allowed? Photography (including videotaping) during the service is limited to two designated photographers, who may take pictures from the rear of the nave. Flash photography is not permitted. The baptismal font and paschal candle may not be removed for photography.
What decorations are allowed? Altar flowers and vases are provided by the church for the Sunday services. These flowers may be used for the wedding service, but must remain in the church. Other floral arrangements may be left at the church for Sunday worship and for subsequent distribution to the sick, or they may be taken to the reception.
Arrangements should be made with your florist to deliver flowers when the church is normally open. Arrangements may be made with family friends or florist to provide pew bows. Decorations shall not be taped or wired to any furniture. The use of a white aisle runner is discouraged for safety reasons. Paraments and banners reflect the season of the Church year, and may not be changed.
What may be placed on the altar? The candlesticks or candelabras belonging to the church may be placed on the altar. Low floral arrangements may be placed on the ends of the altar. A wedding candle may be placed on a stand to the side of the altar. The Wedding Coordinator will review these possibilities with you.
What about bulletins? Wedding bulletins are available at most church supply or Christian bookstores. If they are to be printed at the church, all information must be received by the church secretary two weeks prior to the wedding.
May rice or bird seed be thrown at the wedding? No rice or bird seed may be thrown as the wedding party leaves the church. You may consider for the reception.
When will the rehearsal be held? Normally, the rehearsal will be held the evening before the wedding. All wedding participants are expected to attend the rehearsal, which will usually last less than one hour. The marriage license must be presented to the pastor and all fees paid at the rehearsal.   Wedding Committee members will assist the couple at the rehearsal and the wedding.
Will the pastor and organist attend the reception? If it is the desire of the couple, the pastor and organist and their spouses should be sent an invitation just as you would do for any other guest.
PLEASE NOTEThe use of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited anywhere in the church building or on the grounds. Pennsylvania law forbids the clergy from marrying anyone that they know to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit is a smoke-free building.
“The Marriage Service is a service of worship and the music must be carefully chosen as for any worship service. It should meet high standards of quality and the texts should reflect the praise of God, the steadfast love of Christ for his church as the foundation and model for love and fidelity in marriage, and the invocation of God’s presence and blessing.” – Manual on the Liturgy Lutheran Book of Worship
What music may we use at our wedding? While we encourage a variety of instrumentalists and musical styles, more secular music would be best saved for the reception.
Who will play at our wedding? The parish organist ordinarily will play for your wedding. If you wish to use another organist, they must be approved by the Director of Music for their suitability on our instruments.
We suggest that you meet with the organist early in the process before you have decided on music. The organist will suggest a variety of music suitable to your type of wedding and the instruments you want to include.
May we have a vocal or instrumental soloist? You may provide a soloist and/or instrumentalist in consultation with the organist who will also give guidance in the soloist’s choice of music. We suggest that members of the wedding party or immediate family are not the best choices because of their other responsibilities that day and because of the possibility that they could become overcome with emotion. If the organist is accompanying the soloist, a purchased copy of the music (not a photocopy) must be provided two weeks prior to the wedding. The organist can also arrange for a soloist, if you wish.
The Congregation Council has approved the following schedule of fees:
For members of Holy Spirit in good standing (those who have communed and made a contribution of record in the current or previous calendar year)*
Musician         $150
Sexton           $ 75
Pastor            Honorarium
For non-members:
Comprehensive fee      $600
(includes use of name, pastoral counseling, pastor’s services at wedding and rehearsal, musician, sexton, and secretarial services) All fees are to be paid at the rehearsal.
*Immediate family members (sons and daughters) of Holy Spirit members who belong to other Christian congregations will be charged the member rate if they are members in good standing at their home congregation, and will participate in premarital counseling with the pastor of that congregation.
The bride and groom are encouraged to consider limiting the church usage portion of their wedding day to three hours in consideration of the staff’s schedule.
Under special circumstances a couple may petition the congregational council to reconsider any portion of these guidelines.