Weddings conducted by our minister are tailored to fit the needs of each couple. While tradition may be appropriately recognized, the ceremony can be as unique and personal as desired. Rituals from various traditions — from Native American to Hindu — have been incorporated at the behest of various couples.
Of paramount importance is the recognition that this is a Holy ceremony, conducted in the audience of the Divine. The central aspect of the ceremony is what the minister refers to as the “wedding of Spirit.” This is a private ceremony within the structure of the public ceremony performed with the congregation as witness. The wedding of Spirit is a guided visualization of the bride and groom facilitated by the minister and for the benefit of only the bride and groom. This ceremony within the ceremony is conducted with the microphone off, often out of earshot of even the wedding party. It is conducted before and after the offering of vows and the exchange of rings — which are both conducted with the congregation’s participation. The wedding of Spirit is also accompanied by music for the “entertainment” of the congregation while the private ceremony proceeds. Usually, four other selections of music are also included.
An outline of the “typical” ceremony is as follows:
- Congregation is seated Music #1
- Guided Meditation
- Processional Music #2
- Bride’s Party
- Flower Girl/Ring Bearer
- Bridal March Music #3
- Opening Prayer (Minister)
- The Divine Purpose of marriage (Minister)
- Reading #1
- Reading #2
- Presentation of the Bride
- Declaration of Consent
- Wedding of Spirit — Part A Music #4
- Exchange of vows/rings
- Wedding of Spirit — Part B Music #5
- Prayer and Blessing
- Recessional Music #6
Planning for the wedding usually involves two or three sessions, depending upon the clarity of vision the couple has for their ceremony. The first session, to be held at least four weeks prior to the ceremony, includes a brief pre-marital counseling session and the initial planning session. A prototype ceremony is discussed to provide a starting point in the planning process. A variety of examples of readings are discussed. The second session is usually held within two weeks of the first, and usually not before four weeks prior to the ceremony (although this schedule is very flexible). The second session will usually result in a ceremony structure. Readings may be selected and assigned to appropriate friends and/or family members. A third session is held if questions are not yet resolved by the end of the second session.
Rehearsals may be conducted the day prior to or on the morning of the ceremony.
The minister’s honorarium for the ceremony planning and conducting is $450 plus $15 for each 15 minutes of commuting time from the church’s location or the minister’s home (whichever is closer) to your ceremony location. If the rehearsal is conducted prior to the day of the ceremony, additional commuting time costs will be incurred. If the ceremony is held within 15 minutes of the church’s location or minister’s home, no commuting time costs will be incurred.
If the ceremony is conducted within our church, the entire church is rented to the wedding party for a period of four hours. If the reception is to be held in the church, an additional cleaning fee of $60 applies to the rental and a $200 deposit is required. If no reception is to be held at the church, no food or drink (except bottled water and a celebratory bottle of beverage) is permitted.
The rental cost of the church is $300 if our minister performs the ceremony, $400 if the ceremony is performed by another minister. Rehearsal time is included in the rental fee.