Each wedding service at Second Presbyterian begins with the “Statement of the Gift of Marriage.” These words embody the sentiment with which we understand and approach marriage.
Dearly beloved, we have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of _______ and _________ in Holy Matrimony, to surround them with our prayers, and to ask God’s blessing upon them so that they may be strengthened in their life together and nurtured in their love for God. People were not made to live alone. The covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ blessed this way of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding at Cana in Galilee, where he turned water into wine. This then, is a religious time, calling forth the roots of marriage in faith and tradition from Biblical times….
The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity, for the support of children and their nurture in the love of the Lord, and for all their times together in life.
In marriage, husband and wife are called to a new way of life, created, ordered, and blessed by God. This way of life must not be entered into carelessly, or from selfish motives, but responsibly and prayerfully. We rejoice that marriage is given by God, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let marriage be held in honor among all.
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 weeks 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 Linda Venable-Ward in the church office at 410-467-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.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 Linda Venable-Ward in the church office. 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 perform or 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 500 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 communications coordinator can put together a wedding program for your ceremony using a classically elegant format. (Special paper requests may require an additional charge). If you wish to have a different style program, we recommend that you hire a professional graphic designer.
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 music director and organist, Philip Olsen, is available to confer with you on your musical selections, and can help guide you towards appropriate music and musicians (if you wish)—soloists and/or instrumentalists. Please note that the pastor and music director must approve all music selections.
If 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). If you plan to use the piano, you will be responsible to pay for tuning.
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
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.