Weddings at SMSJ
One of the great joys of parish life is to share with a couple in the joyful and profound moment that is marriage. Your wedding day is one that you will never forget and we are eager to help make the experience meaningful and special.
By choosing to be married at St. Mark’s and St. John’s, we invite you to consider making this church community your spiritual home. If you live out of town, we similarly encourage you to find a congregation that will support you in your life together.
At least one of the parties to the marriage must be a baptized Christian (of any denomination) and the wedding ceremony must be attested to by at least two witnesses. The Bride and Groom must also agree to sign the Declaration of Intention. A minimum of three pre-marital counseling sessions with the priest is required prior to the wedding day. These sessions allow time for the priest to get to know the couple and vice versa. They also set aside time to discuss the Church’s understanding of marriage, to explore the nature of life as a married couple, and to plan the service. In some cases the priest may suggest the couple seek other counseling.
If either party is divorced, the following procedure must be observed: the priest, in consultation with the couple, must determine that the prior marriage has been legally dissolved and that continuing concern is being shown for the well-being of the former spouse and of any children. The Bishop of Rochester must then give written consent to the proposed solemnization of marriage.
Planning the Service
The clergy at St. John’s look forward to working with you to shape the specifics of the service. We find that prayerful attention to service planning is a wonderful way to keep focused on the true nature of your wedding day. Please read the marriage service in the Prayer Book carefully (Page 423). You should be clear that this is the service you want before deciding to be married at St. Mark’s and St. John’s. Although the service will follow this content and format, there is room for striking a balance that reflects both your relationship and the traditions of the Church. The readings during the service will be from Scripture, whether from the list appointed or other passages, chosen in consultation with the priest. We encourage the participation of friends and family members in the reading of lessons and the offering of prayers. The church will provide a copy of the readings that includes the opening and closing responses called for by the Prayer Book. A celebration of the Holy Eucharist is a wonderful way to start your life together and to celebrate the blessing of a marriage. In the Episcopal marriage rite, communion is optional, at the discretion of the couple.
Wedding rehearsals are scheduled for the afternoon or evening before the wedding. They generally take 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the nature and size of the wedding. It is essential that all members of the wedding party attend and arrive on time.
Since the wedding cannot be celebrated without a marriage license in hand, please bring it to the rehearsal.
A master copy ready for printing of the service bulletin (showing the order of service, music, and a listing of the bridal party) may be ordered through the parish office for a $35 fee. If the couple takes on this responsibility, the bulletin must be approved by the priest prior to printing.
Once you and the priest have agreed to go forward with the ceremony, we will ask you to contact the parish musician to schedule a meeting to discuss options and to begin planning. Music fees start at $150.