Emmanuel Church is always happy to welcome couples seeking to have their wedding here, whether they are members or not. As well, we are delighted when a couple brings their own pastor to officiate.
Please see the Wedding Rules below to learn more.
**Please note: The fees for non-members are in addition to those stated for musicians and Church staff.
Wedding Rules for Marriage Services at Emmanuel Parish Church
The Celebration of a Christian Marriage is one of the most significant events in your life, and we believe we have a responsibility to help you prepare for this joyous occasion. The following customs and practices of this parish will give you some basic information, and we ask you to please read them carefully.
WHO MAY BE MARRIED HERE: The Episcopal Church requires that at least one of the parties be baptized. Anyone wishing to be married at Emmanuel will need to have the approval of the Rector.
DIVORCED PARTIES: If one or both parties has been divorced:
A copy of the divorce decree is given to the Rector.
A Declaration of Intention is signed and dated.
The Rector writes a letter to the Bishop of Maryland requesting permission to officiate and encloses a copy of the divorce decree and the Declaration of Intention.
Please note: there is no guarantee that divorced persons can be remarried in the Episcopal Church; the final decision in this matter is only made after counseling sessions with a priest and his/her conversations with the Bishop.
HOW TO GET STARTED: Contact the Parish Secretary to give the name, address and phone number of the prospective bride and groom, and the date desired for the marriage. You will need to make an appointment as soon as possible with the Rector. Therefore, it is not advisable to make any plans for a specific date and time (such as the wedding reception) until after the first conversation with the Rector, and in the case of divorced persons, until the Bishop has granted permission for the marriage.
OFFICIATING CLERGY: The Rector will officiate at the rehearsal and service. Clergy not from this parish, including those of other denominations, are welcome to assist. It is appropriate for the Rector to invite the other minister to participate. The Church facilities are available to other ministers with the approval of the Rector and subject to all rules and regulations of the Episcopal Church.
PRE-MARITAL PREPARATION: The Episcopal Church requires that a priest “instruct both parties as to the nature, meaning, and purpose of Holy Matrimony”. This generally means a minimum of three one-hour meetings to discuss all aspects of a Christian marriage. These discussions also enable the priest and the couple to know each other better and add to the significance of this union being celebrated before God’s altar.
MUSIC: The prospective bride and groom must arrange a consultation with the Church Organist in order to plan the music for their wedding. No other musicians may be engaged to participate in the service without the knowledge and approval of the Organist and the Rector. The Organist will acquaint the couple with that music which is suitable for use in Emmanuel; final approval for all music in an Episcopal Church rests with the Rector. Please note: Emmanuel does not have the kind of sound system appropriate for the use of recorded music at a wedding.
MARRIAGE LICENSE: Only an Allegany County license is valid for use at Emmanuel Parish. Applications are filed with the Clerk of the Court in the Allegany County Court House. There is a 48-hour waiting period before the license is issued. One party of the couple must make the application in person. The license, in triplicate, should be brought to the Parish office no later than one week prior to the rehearsal in order that we may complete the forms required by law.
WEDDING REHEARSAL: The date and time should be set during the initial interview with the Rector. Being on time is essential. The following usually participate in the rehearsal: the prospective bride and groom, their parents, all attendants, and ushers. Others are welcome to attend. If you are considering a flower girl or ring bearer, experience strongly suggests that children under six not be in the procession.
ALTAR FLOWERS AND DECORATION: The most appropriate decorations are the simplest. Two arrangements of flowers for the altar vases are the only flowers placed in the Sanctuary. Pew bows are often used in the Church, however, other decorations are not.
CANDLES: The only candles used are in the Chancel and at the Chancel step; arrangements may be made for the use of a “unity candle.” Fire regulations do not permit “candlelight weddings”.
RUNNERS AND RIBBONS: A runner may not be used in the Church due to safety and liability issues involving the carpet. For similar reasons, access to doors and aisles may not be impeded.
PHOTOGRAPHS: It is customary not to take pictures during the service; videotaping may be done with discretion. All photographers must consult with the Rector prior to the day of the wedding. Photographers should be advised that pictures may be taken for one-half hour only following the ceremony. It is the responsibility of the wedding party to inform photographers of this regulation.
CONFETTI: Rice, confetti, birdseed, rose petals, etc. may not be used on the Church property because of maintenance problems and safety.
LENGTH OF TIME: The Church and its buildings may be used for 3 hours of time for a wedding, which includes the hour at which the first member of the wedding party arrives until the last person leaves. For a Saturday wedding, the premises must be vacated no later than 8:30PM.
CLEANLINESS: Routine custodial care is provided by the Church. However, it is expected that members of the wedding party will show respect for the Church and its buildings by not making a mess in the dressing areas and not leave food, drink, clothing or makeup behind.
FEES FOR MEMBERS:
CLERGY: There is no set “fee” for participating clergy, however, the guidelines established by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland call for a minimum honorarium, in addition to travel expenses set by the Internal Revenue Service Guidelines.
*This fee will vary with the addition of solo musicians, extended programs and the composition of special music.
FEES—NON-MEMBERS: There is a non-refundable fee of $2,000.00* for non-members. This is in addition to the listed fees for Organist, Sexton, Altar Ward and the honorarium for the Clergy. Non-members are asked to make a deposit of 50% of this fee in order to reserve the Church for a given date and time. The remainder of the fee should be submitted 30 days prior to the wedding and is made payable to “Emmanuel Parish”.
*Or 10% of the wedding costs
RECEPTION: There is a non-member fee for use of the Parish Hall of $300.00, subject to the approval of the Rector. There is no charge for parishioners. The Rector will acquaint the couple with the policies concerning alcoholic beverages. In addition, the facilities of Emmanuel Parish do not lend themselves to formal dinners or seated receptions. Finally, the couple should arrange a consultation with the Sexton to discuss all reception plans.
We want to help your wedding be a time of great joy. Following these guidelines will go a long way in helping your wedding be a joyous event. Please contact the officiating priest or parish secretary as questions arise.