Marriage is a divine institution ordained by God for His glory and for the blessing of mankind. It is often compared to the relationship that Christ has with His church, for it is a covenant between a man and a woman that joins them together as one flesh (Genesis 3:18-24). While marriage is not a sacrament of the church, it is ordained of God and intended to last as long as the couple shall live. God has designed marriage for the mutual help of the husband and wife in the development of their moral and spiritual character. He has also designed marriage for the proliferation of children that will fill the earth.
Contacting a Pastor
You should contact a pastor as early as possible to ensure that he is available for your wedding date and to allow adequate time to complete the pre-marital counseling process. Please allow at least six months between the time of initial contact and the actual wedding. Generally, our pastors will not be able to confirm with certainty that he will perform the wedding until he has an initial meeting with the couple. In the qualifying session, you should expect the minister to ask you about:
Your Christian Faith
When did you become Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian? What is the place that Christian faith has in your life? Are you both actively involved as members in a local church?
The Nature of Your Relationship
What is the history of your relationship? How do your friends and family feel about it? What do you perceive to be the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of the relationship? Are you living together? Have you maintained sexual purity? Have there been relationships in the past that are un-reconciled (i.e. if you’ve been married before)?
Couples to be married at First Presbyterian Church or married by one of its pastors are expected to engage with the officiating pastor in premarital counseling. The couple is to be given godly advice concerning the establishment of a Christian home, as well as instruction in the meaning of marriage in God’s sight, and the biblical teachings of the roles, duties, and relationships within the home. The pastor should give such other counsel that seems needful, wise, and helpful that the couple may be well prepared for their new estate in marriage. Should the pastor be convinced that genuine faith is absent, that full responsibility for one another is missing, and that the blessings of God are not likely to rest upon such a relationship, the marriage ceremony will not be performed. It is the duty of the Pastor to meet all civil requirements in performing and properly registering the marriage.
Pastors are not responsible for the processing of wedding licenses. You are responsible for ensuring the proper processing of necessary marriage documents.
Some pastors will perform out-of-town ceremonies and others will not. You must contact the pastor to see if he is available for such a wedding. Whether the ceremony is in town or not, you should plan to provide clear directions and the precise address to the wedding facility.
Wedding Rehearsal and Reception
The pastor will generally conduct the wedding rehearsal at the agreed upon rehearsal time. Regretfully, pastors are not always able to attend rehearsal dinners or receptions. It is our sincere hope that such inability is not taken as an offense.
The pastor is in charge of officiating the wedding and has the final word on the order of the service. Usually a meeting will be required to discuss the actual details of the wedding service. On the day of the wedding, plan to have the entire party at the church at least one hour before the wedding. If you wish to have live photography or have your wedding filmed, please discuss appropriate parameters with the pastor before the ceremony. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.