Weddings

Weddings

Second Presbyterian is a historic church located in one of Baltimore’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Our neo-classical sanctuary and smaller chapel both offer an elegant, light-filled venue for your wedding.

At Second we believe that marriage is a gift from God for the well being of the human family. While not a sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, it is an important celebration in which vows are exchanged and promises are made. This important commitment is a covenant in which God has an active part and in which the community of faith publicly witnesses and acknowledges.

Weddings at Second Presbyterian Church are considered a Service of Worship and thus are always under the direction of one of the church’s Pastors and must be in accord with the church’s wedding policies. Marriages of same sex couples may take place at Second, but as in all weddings performed at Second, they are performed at the discretion of the church’s pastor.

The following FAQs will get you started.

What is required to get married at Second Presbyterian?

  • An initial meeting with our pastor
  • A completed Wedding Application
  • A deposit of $100 refundable up to 60 days before the confirmed date (applied to final balance).
  • 4-5 premarital counseling sessions with the officiating pastor
  • Final payment of all fees two months prior to your wedding date

Do we have to be Presbyterians or members of the church to get married at Second Presbyterian?

Marriage in the church is an act of Christian discipleship. At least one member of the couple should be a professing Christian.

You are considered a member of Second Presbyterian Church if you, or a parent or grandparent, has been on the active membership roll for at least six months. All membership fees will apply to you.

Membership is not required, but all non-membership fees will apply to you.

How do we request to be married at Second Presbyterian?

Couples must first meet with the Pastor of Second Presbyterian before a wedding date can be reserved. We recommend starting this process as early as a year in advance of your proposed date (but no later than four months before.) If the pastor is convinced of a couple’s commitment, responsibility, maturity, and Christian understanding, he or she will approve the application to be married at Second Presbyterian Church. Please contact the church office at 410-467-4210 or office@secondpresby.org to set up an initial meeting.

After this initial meeting with the pastor, couples should submit their wedding application with the requested date and time to our office coordinator. She will confirm both the pastor’s availability and that of the church, or work with you to find another acceptable date.

Does the church require premarital counseling?

Yes, couples can expect to have four or five additional premarital counseling sessions after the initial meeting with the pastor officiating the wedding.

The pastor may refer the couple to a counselor to help them prepare for marriage, or the pastor may conduct the counseling. If the couple goes to a counselor, the couple must grant the counselor permission to provide a counseling report to the pastor.

Who can serve as an officiating minister?

Weddings at Second Presbyterian Church usually are performed by a pastor on staff. However, with prior approval, a visiting minister may assist in the ceremony if personal reasons or circumstances warrant it. Second’s pastor will officially invite the guest pastor to participate and work directly with them on the arrangements.

Do you marry same-sex couples?

Yes. Performing a wedding for any couple, regardless of sexual orientation, is always at the discretion of the pastor.

How many people can your church accommodate?

The sanctuary seats up to 450 people. We also have a smaller, more contemporary chapel that is appropriate for small weddings and can accommodate up to 100 people.

Does the church have facilities suitable for a reception following the ceremony?

We have a spacious, bright reception hall—Smith Hall— that can accommodate wedding receptions up to 100 people for a seated reception. A full kitchen is available, but you do need to provide your own catering and arrange for custodial services.

What services does the church provide for weddings?

For each wedding, Second assigns a wedding coordinator who is a member of the church. She will act as your liaison with the church, and assist you with logistics for the rehearsal and wedding. (She doesn’t replace the role of a personal wedding planner).

The wedding coordinator will:

  • Walk you through the space
  • Work with the pastor and communications coordinator to put together the wedding program* based on information submitted by you at least two weeks before the wedding
  • Coordinate flower delivery and placement, candles and alter set-up
  • Orchestrate getting people down and back up the aisle during the processional and recessional
  • Confer with photographers, videographers, musicians and ushers
  • Guide all parties in showing respect for this place of worship regarding rules for photography, decorations, and conduct

*Our office coordinator can put together a traditional wedding program for your ceremony using a classically elegant format. (A fee of $50 will be charged plus the cost of paper if using something other than regular copy paper). If you wish to have a different style program, we recommend that you hire a professional graphic designer or use an online design service.

What about music?

Worship and blessing through music is an important part of your wedding ceremony. We believe that wedding music reflects this spirit of worship and Christian faith. In this spirit, we do not permit popular secular music for wedding services. Our Director of Music is available to confer with you on your musical selections, and can help guide you towards appropriate music and if you wish, soloists and/or instrumentalists. Please note that the pastor and music director must approve all music selections.

Second’s sanctuary has wonderful acoustics. We have a sound system that can accommodate whatever microphone needs you may have. Available instruments include a fine organ and a Steinway Concert Grand piano. If you plan to use the piano, you will be responsible to pay for tuning. If you wish to have organ music and our our organist is not available for the service, we will arrange for a substitute. If our organist is available, but you desire a guest organist or other musicians, Second follows the policy of the American Guild of Organists: A guest organist or other musicians must meet with our music director, who will assess their competence and experience. If the musicians are approved, you will be responsible for fees owed to the guest musician(s).

Can communion be served at my wedding?

Yes. If you would like to celebrate the Lord’s Supper at your wedding, please talk with the pastor as soon as possible so that there will be time to obtain the required approval by the church Session and for managing the logistics involved.

What are the fees?

  • Deposit: $100 due with application (refundable up to 60 days before the confirmed date and applied to final balance).
  • Sanctuary or Chapel: $1,500 for non-members; $200 for members (includes use of the Westcott Room and the library in the Manse as dressing rooms for wedding participants.)
  • Pastor: $500 customary honorarium
  • Organist: $250 (plus additional charges for soloists and instrumentalists if used)
  • Smith Hall for receptions: $1,500
  • Use of candelabra: $200
  • Custodial fee: Minimum $150 for four hours; $50 for each additional hour
  • Wedding Program: $50 plus the cost of paper is something other than regular copy paper is desired.

Payment for all fees is due two weeks in advance of the ceremony.

While planning your wedding, please give prayerful thought to the following Wedding Guidelines established to help you create a ceremony that will join you as a couple in Holy Matrimony, surround you with our prayers and ask for God’s blessing upon you.