Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
Wedding are times of joyous celebration. They are also services of holy worship. Christ Church Parish provides a beautiful setting for such occasions. We welcome you to this Holy place and respectfully ask that you, your family and friends remember that first and foremost marriage in the Church is a religious service.
We want your special day to be memorable. The clergy and staff will be available to answer your questions and help guide you through the many decisions you will need to make. There are many variables and different ways of designing a wedding service, and we will do all we can to listen to your ideas and work with you. There are, however, certain customs that need to be observed.
For those contemplating marriage in an Episcopal Church or by an Episcopal clergyperson there are Canon Laws which must be honored. The Canons require:
- The service must conform to the laws of the State of California.
- At least one person of the couple must be baptized.
- The couple must receive counseling and instruction about Christian marriage.
- The service must conform to the Book of Common Prayer.
In the event of the remarriage of divorced persons, Canon Law requires that clergy obtain the Bishop’s consent to officiate. This consent can only be given if one of the petitioners is a member of the Episcopal Church. This process requires at least ninety (90) days to complete.
The policy of this Parish is to permit couples to have a clergyperson of their choice perform the service. This is to say that non-Episcopal clergy are welcome to officiate or assist at the service with an Episcopal clergyperson. There are, however, a few requirements:
- That the non-Episcopal clergy must be duly ordained in their respective denomination or religious tradition.
- That the non-Episcopal clergy write a letter to the Rector of Christ Church Parish requesting permission to officiate at the wedding at Christ Church and indicate the nature and material that will be covered in premarital preparations.
- That non-Episcopal clergy who are assisting at the wedding contact the Rector to discuss the nature of their participation.
Arrangements for this must be made several months in advance of the expected marriage date. At least three sessions of one to one and one-half hours (1 to 1-1/2) each are required. Additional sessions may be required if deemed necessary by the clergy. The Canon Law of the church provides that a member of the clergy may at any time decline to officiate at a wedding if he/she feels that the couple is not suitably prepared for the responsibilities of Christian marriage.
Setting your Wedding Date
Before the date for your wedding can be “confirmed” you will need to have:
- Met with the Rector to schedule premarital preparation sessions.
- Pay the appropriate “deposit” (see section titled “Costs and Fees”)
- Sign and return the Declaration of Intention form that the Rector will provide you.
In the Episcopal Church weddings are not normally performed during the season of Lent (the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday). Other constraints on available dates for weddings would arise from previously scheduled parish events. The Rector will assist you in selecting a date for your wedding so it is advisable to have several alternatives in mind.
Time of Wedding Ceremony and Rehearsal
If the day of your wedding is a Saturday, the time of year will influence how late on a Saturday afternoon the ceremony can occur in order for the church to be prepared for Sunday morning worship. Generally during the winter months (October through February) wedding ceremonies on Saturdays are not scheduled later than 3:00 p.m. During the remainder of the year, weddings are not scheduled on Saturdays later than 5:00 p.m. Wedding rehearsals are usually held the evening before the wedding day.
Regular attendance at Sunday services is strongly encouraged. Christian marriage presumes that both persons are actively involved in a local faith community, i.e., this Parish or some other local church. If you are not presently a member of a church, we warmly welcome you to consider making Christ Church Parish your new spiritual home.
Our Wedding Coordinator will assist you with the planning and be available at the wedding service itself. The Wedding Coordinator will consult with the bride and groom, with the clergy, musician(s), florist, and photographer. The Wedding Coordinator is a member of Christ Church who volunteers time and energy and who, depending on the complexity of the wedding being planned, may also enlist the assistance of other volunteers. Our Wedding Coordinator will be present at the rehearsal, and before, during and after the wedding ceremony, to offer advice, assistance and support.
The Director of Music of Christ Church is generally available to play for most weddings, and will be the musician for the service unless special permission is obtained from the Director of Music. He should also be consulted if other musician(s) are going to be used in the ceremony. If you wish to have a selection of music sung, this needs to be discussed and approved, in advance, by the Director of Music.
A wedding is a service of worship and all music must conform to the sacred nature of the occasion. While it is often possible to accommodate a favorite song of the bride or groom, most often popular songs would be more appropriate at a wedding reception.
All of the local professional photographers are aware of our parish’s requirements and the conditions within which they must conform. If you will be asking someone else to take your wedding photos it is important that they understand that while taking pictures in the Church is welcome at pre-arranged times, furnishings or fixtures may not be moved to accommodate the taking of photographs. Video cameras (camcorders) may only be used in a manner that is unobtrusive and not disruptive of the sacred nature of the service. Final decisions on appropriate photography and videography are at the discretion of the Rector.
The selection of flowers should be to enhance, not detract from the ceremony. Flowers are very expensive, so the general guideline is “less is better.” Any real flowers are appropriate – garden, greenhouse, wildflowers from field or forest, even the blossoms that some people call weeds. Other things from God’s creation are appropriate too – leaves and branches, greens and grasses, nuts and berries, fruits, pods, etc. We therefore do not use even the most exquisite of artificial floral arrangements because they are only symbols of reality. In every case, flowers and their placement must be approved by the Wedding Coordinator and the Altar Guild.
Many people feel that candle light enhances the beauty of the occasion, and we are happy to accommodate this in a variety of ways. The lighting and extinguishing of the candles must be done by a member of the Altar Guild.
Costs and Fees
A deposit amounting to 50% of the total donation is requested at the time the wedding date is reserved. This deposit may be refunded if cancellation is received prior to 30 days before the scheduled ceremony.
- For couples married in this parish where one or both are member in good standing (regular in worship and contributing financially), or who come from a family which has good standing in
Christ Church Parish for at least one year previous to the wedding date, the costs are simply a covering of the fees for the services rendered (Altar Guild) and the actual costs involved (e.g. utilities, cleaning, set-up, etc.).
$125.00 Organist honorarium. The organist fee includes the rehearsal, wedding
ceremony and a pre-wedding consultation with the bridal couple. If other rehear-
sals with soloist(s) are needed, an additional fee may be requested
$ 50.00 Set-up (utilities, cleaning etc.)
$75.00 Altar Guild (candles, Worship supplies, etc.)
The balance of the donation is due in full one week before the wedding.
- When neither person to be married has any previous affiliation with Christ Church, the fee would be:
$400.00 Clergy honorarium if the preparation and ceremony is done by the Rector
of Christ Church
$150.00 Organist honorarium
$ 50.00 Set-up (utilities, cleaning, etc.)
$ 75.00 Altar Guild (candles, Worship supplies, etc.)
$500.00 Donation to the Parish
Because this cost pertains to a family that has not provided regular financial support for the Parish, the entire amount is due in full one week before the wedding.
Use of the Chapel of Our Merciful Saviour for a wedding, instead of the main church, will decrease the total by $300.00.
The standard donations cited above can be adjusted at the discretion of the Rector in view of special circumstances.
175 in the Nave (main seating area in the church)
30 in the Choir
120 in the Heritage room (overflow area)
325 Total Seating Capacity
The Parish Hall (Lewis Hall), the kitchen and grounds of the church may be used for your reception for an additional fee (Fee Schedule attached). If you are interested in making arrangements for the use of church facilities for your reception, the payment of this additional fee and a signed agreement must be received by the parish. A brief summary of some of the requirements for receptions follows:
Receptions in Lewis Hall and the Heritage Room are expected to be orderly at all times. The only alcoholic beverage allowed is wine, including champagne, and it is a requirement of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California that non-alcoholic beverages be made available and served, “…in an equally accessible and attractive manner as the alcoholic beverages.” Music should also be in keeping with noise restrictions in the community and in consideration of our neighbors. Receptions must be concluded by 11:00 p.m., with the facilities left in the same condition in which they were found, bearing in mind that the Church worship services begin early Sunday morning, and our facilities must be ready for that purpose. Caterers must remove all equipment, etc., before leaving, unless they have received advance permission to do otherwise from the Rector.
Fee Schedule (As of 09/2007, subject to change)
Lewis Hall (Capacity seated: 96) Deposit: $100.00 refundable (separate check)
$150.00 for up to four hours
$ 30.00 for each additional hour
Heritage Room (Capacity: 70) Deposit: $100.00 refundable (separate check)
$ 100.00 for up to three hours
$ 25.00/hr for each additional hour
Set-up $ 25.00
Security Deposit will be returned if premises are left clean as found, per user agreement. An inspection of the premises will be performed by church staff or the sexton.