An Introduction to Weddings at
All Saints Episcopal Church
The Rev. Marisa Tabizon Thompson, Rector email@example.com
Dr. Laura Palmer Scow, Director of Music and Parish Organist firstname.lastname@example.org
Vic Culp, Office and Facilities Manager - email@example.com
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 All Saints, we invite you to be committed to this church community now and in the future. If you live out of town, we similarly encourage you to find a congregation that will support you in your life together.
Requirements for Marriage in the Episcopal Church
You should know that because All Saints is an Episcopal Church, there are certain guidelines which must be followed. 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 which can be downloaded here and printed using the print function on your browser. Additionally, here is a link to the Wedding Information Form that must be completed and returned to the church office.
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. Couples will be required to complete the Prepare/Enrich survey in preparation for this counseling. In some cases, the priest may suggest or require 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 Nebraska must then give written consent to the proposed solemnization of marriage.
The marriage license and parish register must be completed by the church office before the rehearsal. Bring your license to the office at least one week prior to your wedding.
Rehearsals are scheduled for the afternoon or evening before the wedding in consultation with the priest. 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.
Planning the Service
The clergy at All Saints 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 Book of Common Prayer carefully (starting on page 423); for same-sex couples, the Episcopal Church liturgy is available at: The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage. You should be clear that this is the service you want before deciding to be married at All Saints. 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 should be from the Bible, 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.
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. At All Saints, our custom is to welcome everyone to receive communion or a blessing.
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 provided through the parish office. If the couple takes on this responsibility, the bulletin must be approved by the priest prior to printing. A sample bulletin is available from the office staff. Contact Vic Culp in the church office for more information.
Once you and the priest have agreed to go forward with the ceremony, we will ask you to contact All Saints Director of Music and Parish Organist, Dr. Laura Scow, to schedule a meeting to discuss options and to begin planning. There are a range of possibilities from organ alone to organ accompanying congregational hymns to other instruments and soloists. Whatever music is chosen will need to be consistent with the musical traditions of the parish. The parish organist is to play for all weddings.
Basic music fees are included in the overall fees but additional costs may be incurred depending on requests and will be discussed with the Director of Music.
Any vocal or instrumental soloist must be approved by the Director of Music, who can assist you with hiring a vocalist or instrumentalist, as well. Please do not hire anyone on your own. Your choice of music for the ceremony should be appropriate to the sacred nature of the occasion and texts should be taken from the hymnal, Bible, or the Book of Common Prayer. Consult with the Director of Music with specific questions regarding musical choices. Secular music is best saved for the reception.
Music before the service should set the atmosphere for the occasion. The wedding processional and recessional should express the joy and dignity of the occasion. It is appropriate to have the congregation sing a hymn or two during the service. Instruments used in the service in addition to the organ might include trumpets or other brass, violin, oboe, or string ensembles. In any case, music should be live and not recorded.
Flowers and Other Adornments
Flowers, boutonnieres, and bouquets may be brought in by a florist. We ask that the florist be in touch with the Church Office at 402-393-8612 to let us know whether you are leaving the flowers for Sunday morning as an offering or taking them with you to the reception. Please note that any flowers meant for the altar must be arranged in the altar vases belonging to the Church. The florist is welcome to come several days in advance of the wedding to pick up a pair.
Unity candles, sand pourings, and other similar experiences are not used in wedding services in Episcopal churches. Also, please refrain from the use of rose petals, rice, bird seed, or any type of confetti thrown after the service.
Respect for the Church
The wedding party is expected to treat the Church with respect. The Church is a place of prayer, and an atmosphere of reverence for the presence of God is expected. Food and drink are allowed in most spaces except the sanctuary and sacristy. Please be sure to clean up the rooms and remove excess trash after you are done. And note that alcohol should not be on the premises unless pre-approved.
Available Spaces and Seating
The wedding ceremony can be held in the sanctuary (comfortable seating capacity of about 550 people) or the chapel (seating capacity of about 80 people). In addition, the wedding party will have access to the parlor and at least one other room (normally the library) as preparation spaces. Others rooms and spaces may be made available on a case by case basis and outlined in the rental contract. In addition, rooms may be reserved for the reception should you wish to hold that onsite.
On the Day of the Wedding
Prior to the wedding, work with the priest and the church wedding coordinator to determine how early you hope to arrive at the church in order to set up and get settled. Regardless, the wedding party should plan to arrive at least one hour before the wedding. Please have ushers in place no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the service. A good rule of thumb is at least one usher per 50 people in attendance. Some ushers should be persons other than those in the wedding procession to help seat latecomers.
Receptions and Rehearsal Dinners
You are welcome to use the Undercroft or Retreat Center for your rehearsal dinner or reception. There is an additional fee for this use. Please contact Vic Culp in the church office if you are interested.
We work hard to maintain a joyful and worshipful atmosphere throughout the wedding ceremony. Therefore, there shall be absolutely no use of flash pictures or lights for photographs during the wedding ceremony. Your photographer may use a flash for pictures of the wedding party entering and leaving the church, provided they are taken at the rear of the church. Under no circumstances may the photographer come down the aisle or be in the front of the church during the service. Photographs without flash may be taken from the rear of the church.
The best way to photograph a wedding party is either before or after the service. Photographs may be taken before the ceremony, as long as they are concluded 30 minutes before the start of the service, or for 30 minutes following the ceremony.
Videotaping is permitted during the service, with available light only and with the videographer adhering to the same restrictions as above. The videographer and equipment must be unobtrusive. The designated place for a video camera is in the back of the church where the bridal party can be recorded entering and leaving the church. Under no circumstance is the videographer to move about in the church before the service and must remain stationary during the recessional.
There are no fees for the sacraments of the Church. The fees for a wedding at All Saints cover the other costs of the event, such as utilities, cleaning, wedding consultant, and the musician’s time.
You will notice a significant difference in the cost for active members and non-members or non-active members of the Episcopal Church. This is an unfortunate distinction to be made but one that takes into consideration those who support the parish spiritually and financially throughout the year. For the sake of definition, an active member is someone who has been attending and contributing regularly for at least the six months leading up to the wedding. Members of other Episcopal Churches may also be considered for the member rate at the discretion of the rector.
Weddings for Active Members-$600
Weddings for Non-Active Members and Non-Members-$1000
The fees may be paid to All Saints Episcopal Church. At the Rector’s discretion, these fees may be waived or reduced.
Flowers are not included in the fees and should be handled through outside arrangements.
Payment of 50% of the wedding fees is due to confirm the date. The remaining fee is due by the rehearsal. If the wedding is canceled three months prior to the date, a full refund of fees paid will be given.
Suggested Lessons for Weddings
One or more of the following passages from Holy Scripture is read. If there is to be a Communion, a passage from the Gospel always concludes the Readings.
Genesis 2:4-9, 15-24 (A man cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh)
Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7 (Many waters cannot quench love)
Tobit 8:5b-8 (New English Bible) (That she and I may grow old together)
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (Love is patient and kind)
Ephesians 3:14-19 (The Father from whom ever family is named)
Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33 (Walk in love, as Christ loved us)
Colossians 3:12-17 (Love which binds everything together in harmony)
1 John 4:7-16 (Let us love one another for love is of God)
Between the Readings, a Psalm, hymn, or anthem may be sung or said.
Appropriate Psalms are 67, 127, and 128.
Matthew 5:1-10 (The Beatitudes)
Matthew 5:13-16 (You are the light...Let your light so shine)
Matthew 7:21,24-29 (Like a wise man who built his house upon the rock)
Mark 10:6-9,13-16 (They are no longer two but one)
John 15:9-12 (Love one another as I have loved you)
Suggested Hymns for Weddings
Hymn 487 – Come My Way, My Truth, My Life
581 – Where Charity and Love Prevail
544 – Jesus Shall Reign
8 – Morning Has Broken
376 – Joyful, Joyful
657 – Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling
516 – Come Down, O Love Divine
518 – Christ is Made the Sure Foundation
593 – Lord, Make Us Servants of Your Peace
577 – God Is Love