Weddings

Weddings at St. John’s and Membership: We ask that either the bride or groom at St. Johns be affiliated with the congregation before arrangements are made for a wedding. Affiliation may take different forms including membership or association or an agreement to support the mission of service to those in need which is central to the life of St. Johns. Affiliation arrangements are usually made at the first meeting with the pastor.

Reservations and Preparations: Normally reservations are not made more than a year in advance of the date being considered, and the congregation, pastor and couple are not usually able to prepare for a wedding in less than three months. Weddings are tentatively scheduled on a first come, first serve basis, by calling the church office. Tentative reservations becomes finalwhen the pastor has agreed to preside at the wedding.

Pre-Marital Meetings and Counseling: All couples planning a wedding at St. John’s are invited to participate in a premarital workshop offered by either Lutheran Social Services or Lutheran Campus Ministry, in addition to meeting several times with the pastor before the wedding. Often the couple and the pastor read together a book of the couple’s choosing in relationships.

The Pastor Presiding at Weddings: Generally, currently called pastors of the congregation preside at a wedding. The use of other pastors, joint presiding, and the involvement of former pastors must be approved by the pastor.

The Wedding Service: The format for weddings at St. John’s usually follows the order for marriage in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Often the Marriage Service resources in the Renewing Worship resources of the ELCA are also used in planning the service. Usually couples adjust the service to meet their family needs.
The order generally involves a prelude, processional, invocation, opening prayer, sharing of intention to marry, lessons from the Bible and other resources, homily,  exchange of vows, exchange of rings, announcement of marriage, blessings of the church and family, prayers, the Lord’s prayer, benediction, recessional, and postlude. Lessons for the service are usually chosen by the couple. Holy Communion may be offered at wedding services if it is offered to the entire congregation. Couples often write their own vows, use a unity candle, involve family members as readers for the lessons, and provide opportunities for family members or parents to bless the couple. Throwing rice, birdseed or other substances is not permitted.

Music: The congregational organist or pianist is designated to provide music consultation, rehearsal time, and wedding music for all weddings at St. John’s. Couples are encouraged to meet with the music director as soon as their wedding is scheduled. Arrangements for soloists and other musicians may be made at the music consultation. Although traditional and contemporary music is often used at weddings, recorded music is generally not used in worship services at St. Johns.

Bulletins: St. John’s does not print wedding bulletins. The pastor, however, will work with the couple in developing an order of service for the bulletin and will assist with proof-reading as needed.

Photographers and Videotaping: Normally flash photography does not take place during the service between the processional and recessional. Photographers should consult with the pastor at the rehearsal or before the wedding for camera placement.

Dressing at Church: The bride and her party use the large meeting area for changing. Dresses may be left overnight at the church, the night before a wedding, at the wedding party’s own risk. The groom and his party may use the smaller meeting area for dressing.

Legal Requirements: A valid license for marriage in Wisconsin must be presented to the pastor no later than the wedding rehearsal. Usually the wedding license is brought to the church at the beginning of the week of the wedding.

Fees for the Wedding Custodial Services: The basic fee for a custodian at the wedding is $50.00. An additional $25.00 is charged for an evening wedding. An additional $50.00 is charged for the use of the church for a reception. Aisle Candles: $25.00 is charged for the use of the aisle candles. Music: The fee for these services is $150. A separate check should be made out to the organist. Additional soloists and instrumentalists most likely will set their own separate fees and financial arrangements for music at the wedding. Congregational Gift: There is no fee for sanctuary use. Many couples give a gift to the congregation as well as the pastor at their wedding.

Fees Due at Rehearsal: All payments are due at the rehearsal and are to be given to the pastor. All payments can be made to “St. John’s Lutheran Church” except the check to the organist and other musicians involved in the wedding.