Guide for the Christian Wedding
at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church

Congratulations!  Now that you have decided to become married and to have your wedding service at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, we would like to share with you some ways that we can help you plan for a wonderful wedding, celebrating your life together for years to come.

The Christian wedding is a service of worship in which Christians come together to offer special thanks and praise to God and to ask for blessing upon the bride and groom’s life together as husband and wife.  It celebrates the union of two individuals and their lifelong commitment of faithfulness, trust, and love.

The object and center of the Christian wedding is always God.  Important as the bride and bridegroom are, nothing in the wedding must detract from the presence and glory of God. Since the wedding is an act of worship, the invited guests are not merely spectators but participants in the service.  All of those gathered should offer thanks and praise, and pray for God’s blessing through Christ upon this marriage.

All arrangements shall be made in consultation with the wedding coordinator and  a pastor of Our Redeemer’s.  Please be sure to clear the date chosen for your wedding with the Church Office as soon as possible to avoid conflicts. Because of the theme and atmosphere of Holy Week, weddings will not be scheduled during this week of the church year.

Couples are required to have three to five counseling sessions with officiating pastor.  The purpose of the counseling is to look at marriage as a continuing relationship that requires close communication, careful planning, and a deep commitment to each other.

The pastors of Our Redeemer’s will normally officiate at all weddings.  Where it is the wish of the bride or bridegroom to invite other clergy to participate in the ceremony, they should make this known to the officiating pastor who will then extend the invitation to the guest clergy.

The organists of Our Redeemer’s normally play for all church weddings. When a guest organist is desired, arrangements shall be made in consultation with the wedding coordinator.

Wedding Coordinator
All couples whose wedding is on the church premises are asked to work with our wedding coordinator. The responsibilities of the wedding coordinator include:

  • Work with you to schedule the wedding and rehearsal dates and times.
  • Provide support via phone or e-mail.
  • Meet with you in the months prior to your wedding date to explain procedures and answer questions.
  • Update the officiant, musicians and others who are involved about wedding details.
  • Help coordinate the use of space in the church facility for the wedding ceremony and wedding party.
  • Share wedding resources and expertise.

 

Planning the Ceremony

Order of Service
The order for marriage used for weddings at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church is printed on pages 286-291 in the front of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal.  The order for marriage is not a rigid form.  The rite is characterized by variety and flexibility, so that it may be adapted for a variety of situations and preferences.  The liturgy, like marriage itself, is meant to open doors to possibilities, not to exclude creativity.  As you plan your wedding, you will want to discuss the liturgical options with the Pastor.

Music
In planning the ceremony, it is good to keep in mind what has already been said about the nature of the Christian wedding as a joyful, Christ-centered experience.  Due to the sacred nature of the service, the music must be carefully chosen.  It should be of good quality and the words should reflect the praise of God, the steadfast love of Christ for His Church as the foundation and model of love and fidelity in marriage, with the invocation of God’s presence and blessing.

In addition to the organ and/or the piano, voices and other instruments may provide music.  The service may include vocal solos, choral numbers, and chamber literature.  There are many sacred musical selections available that are appropriate for the Christian wedding service.  Certain love ballads, popular songs, and movie themes may not be appropriate because they are sentimental rather than sacred.  It is preferred that this type of music not be used in the ceremony, but at the reception instead.

Whenever music is employed in the service and by whatever instruments or voices, it should be of high quality and not cloud the mood of the service with triteness or sentimentality.

The Pastor and the organist are very happy and willing to aid the couple in making their selections and reserve the right of final approval on all music selected.

As previously stated the congregation should have an active part in the service.  One way to accomplish this is by having the people sing one or two hymns.  This may be done either in place of or in addition to, solo music.  Hymns may also be used for the processional and recessional.  The couple is invited to consider the following hymn(s) from Evangelical Lutheran Worship:

#585    Hear Us Now, Our God and Father
#631    Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
#502    The King of Love My Shepherd Is
#835    All Creatures of Our God and King
#839, 840    Now Thank We All our God
#858    Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
#865    Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven
#836    Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

Scripture
The reading of Holy Scripture is a vital part of the Christian wedding.  The couple is invited to select their own Scripture.  Two or three readings are used, with one of them being from the Gospels.  Following is a list of potential texts:

OLD TESTAMENT
Genesis 1:26-31
Genesis 2:18-24
Genesis 24:50,51,58–67
Ecclesiastes 9:7–10
Song of Songs 8:6-7
Isaiah 63:7–9
Jeremiah 31:31-32a, 33-34a
Psalm 23
Psalm 33:1-9, 20-22
Psalm 34
Psalm 46
Psalm 100
Psalm 103
Psalm 112
Psalm 117
Psalm 127
Psalm 128
Psalm 145

NEW TESTAMENT
Romans 8:31b-35,37-39
Romans 12:9-18
Romans 15:5–7
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Ephesians 3:14-19
Ephesians 5:1-2,21-33
Colossians 3:12-17
1 Peter 3:1-9
1 John 3:18-24
1 John 4:7-12
Revelation 19:1, 5-9a

GOSPEL
Matthew 5:1-12a
Matthew 5:13-16
Matthew 7:21, 24-29
Matthew 19:3-6
Matthew 22:35-40
Mark 10:6-9
John 2:1-11
John 15:9-12
John 15:12-16
John 17:20-26

Vows
Marriage is the total, unreserved commitment of two people to each other through all that the years will bring.  That commitment, expressed in the exchange of vows and signified in the giving of rings, is the heart of marriage and the marriage service.

The bride and groom have several options when choosing vows.  Following are a selection of different vows to pick from or the couple may write their own vows.  The vows must indicate the complete sharing which marriage implies and make clear that the promises are a lifelong commitment.

  I take you, name, to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you:  I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you;  I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and worst of what is to come as long as we both shall live.

    I take you, name, to be my wife/husband, I promise before God and these witnesses to be your faithful husband (wife), to share with you in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to forgive and strengthen you, and to join with you so that together we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live.

    Name, I take you to be my wife/husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all circumstances of our life together to be loyal to you with my whole life and with all my being as long as we both shall live.

    In the presence of God and this community of faith, I, name, take you, name, to be my wife/husband; to have and to hold from this day forward, in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.

    I take you, name, to be my wife/husband from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you as long as we both shall live.

Holy Communion
If, after consultation with the pastor, Holy Communion is to be part of the wedding, it must be open to all eligible communicants and not be limited to the bride and bridegroom or the wedding party.  Christ instituted the Sacrament for the gathered congregation.

Order of Service
An example of a general order of service to help you create the program is below. Together with the officiating pastor and wedding coordinator, you may individualize the service.

Prelude – Special Music/Solo (optional)

Processional
Greeting and Prayer
Statement of Intent

Reading/s

Special Music/Solo (optional)

Message

Special Music/Solo (optional)

Vows

Giving of Rings

Unity Candle or Sand Ceremony (optional)

Special Music/Solo (optional)

Marriage Blessing and Prayer

Lord’s Prayer (spoken or as special music)

Blessing
Recessional

Photography & Video
It is a tradition at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church that no flash pictures are taken during the actual wedding service. The purpose of this policy is to be sure that the photography and video process does not interrupt the wedding service.  Couples are encouraged to have most of their formal pictures taken before or after the ceremony.  The official wedding photographer and videographer should speak with the wedding coordinator before the wedding service. Please notify the pastor if the pastor is to be in any pictures.

Marriage License
It is, of course, essential that the marriage license be secured well in advance of the wedding and be brought to the church office one week before the wedding.  Check directly with the county in which you get your wedding license for their requirements.

Punctuality
It is a matter of good planning to have weddings start on time.  Guests should be notified that weddings at Our Redeemer’s are planned to start on the hour indicated.  The latecomers will be seated in the rear of the church so as not to disrupt the wedding service.

Rehearsal
Normally rehearsal is held the night before the wedding.  Actual time and arrangements for the rehearsal should be made with the pastor at the first counseling session.  It is important that members of the wedding party realize that the rehearsal is a very important part of the wedding itself.  The full cooperation of all wedding participants in maintaining a reverent and purposeful attitude during this rehearsal is essential.

Fees
One aspect of pre-marital counseling includes the utilization of the PREPARE/ENRICH counseling materials, which are processed by PREPARE/ENRICH, INC.  There is a fee for this service.  The couple should plan to pay this fee on the first session of counseling by making a check payable to PREPARE/ENRICH, INC. or they may pay the fee online when taking the assessment tool.

Processing Fee    $35 (subject to change)

Concerning financial obligations for the church building, there is no charge if either party is an active member of the congregation.

If either the bride, bridegroom, or their immediate family is an active member of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, we request the following fees for building use:

  • Wedding & Rehearsal        $150
  • Rehearsal, Wedding & Reception    $350
  • Key Deposit (non-refundable)    $50

We ask that the professional fees and other church fees be given no later than at the wedding rehearsal.  Checks should be made out separately to the church and each individual.

                                                         Active Member                   Non-Member

Organist                                                   $75                                     $100

Wedding Coordinator                             $150                                   $175

Officiating Pastor                                no suggested                           $200
                                                           honorarium

 
Decorating Guidelines
Couples are welcome to decorate the sanctuary for their weddings.  As you make your decoration plans, please observe the following requests:

  • The couple shall contact the Church Office to make necessary arrangements for decorating the sanctuary prior to the wedding.
  • Due to the heavy use of the facility and space limitations, the couple shall make appropriate arrangements for someone to remove all wedding decorations and other miscellaneous items from the church immediately following the wedding.
  • The chancel paraments shall be the liturgical color for the church season.
  • Large floral arrangements shall not be placed directly on the altar.
  • Rose pedals shall only be dropped on the center aisle if there is a floor runner.
  • Open-flamed candles with chimneys may be used down the aisles.
  • Only non-drip, mechanical and/or oil candles are permitted for use in the sanctuary.
  • Use care when decorating the chairs.  Decorations shall not be attached to the chairs with tape, or in a manner that might leave a mark or scratch.

Rice, Bird Seed and Confetti
Rice, birdseed and confetti may not be used anywhere in the church building or on the outside premises. Bubbles are recommended as an alternative and may only be used outside.

Alcohol & Tobacco Use
Alcohol is not permitted in any part of the church or in the parking lot. Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church is a smoke-free environment. Our Redeemer’s asks that you review the policy with your wedding party and families. To clarify, Our Redeemer’s requests that:

  • The bride, groom and wedding party refrain from alcohol use prior to arriving for the rehearsal and the wedding.
  • The bride, groom and  wedding party refrain from alcohol and tobacco use before or after the rehearsal and wedding in both the church and the parking lot.
  • The pastors reserve the right to refuse to perform the marriages of couples who do not comply with this policy.

Receptions
If you wish to have your reception at the church, please contact the church office for the guidelines and additional fees. If Our Redeemer’s Great Room or Community Room is used for a reception, any music or program planned for the reception should give praise to God, and details of the same should be checked with the wedding coordinator in advance of the rehearsal.  In all cases, the couple should consult with the church office staff at the time the date for the church is reserved.

Pastoral Courtesy
It is important to let our clergy know if you would like to invite them to the rehearsal dinner and/or wedding reception.  Because of the busy ministry schedule at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, it is important to extend this invitation as early as possible.  The pastor is not always able to attend these celebrations but will make every effort possible to be present.  Please let pastor know if the pastor’s spouse and children are invited to attend the rehearsal dinner and/or reception as well.

In Conclusion
Your decision about getting married is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime.  It will be a privilege to assist you in making plans for a beautiful wedding and your life together.  Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church is deeply committed to assisting all persons who marry and helping them to see marriage as a lifelong relationship.  The marriage service from Lutheran Book of Worship contains this blessing:

    The Lord God, who created our first parents and established them in marriage,
establish and sustain you, that you may find delight in each other
and grow in holy love until your life’s end.  Amen.