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Wedding Policy And Guidelines

A wedding is a joyous and holy occasion as two people unite their lives to form a Christian union.

 

Marriage is a gift God has given all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. A Christian marriage is a covenant through which the couple is called to live out their lives together before God. In a Christian marriage, a lifelong commitment is made to each other, publicly witnessed, and acknowledged by the community of faith.

INITIAL CONTACT INFORMATION

All arrangements for a wedding at NSPC should be initiated through the church office. A Wedding Information form will be given/mailed to the couple to fill out and return to the church (see attached). Both the calendar of the church pastor and the master calendar of church events will be checked to decide on a tentative wedding date. The couple will then schedule an appointment to meet with the pastor. After this meeting, the NSPC session will be called on to approve the ceremony and date.

 
Please note: The NSPC Session has the final authority in making decisions regarding weddings at NSPC.

 
After the wedding is approved, the couple will be put in contact with the following:

  • wedding liaison
  • music coordinator and/or organist/pianist
  • sound system operator
  • church secretary

 

Also at this time the couple will:

  • Meet with the pastor for “premarital counseling”, which is required. This usually consists of a minimum of three (3) one-hour meetings. If another approved pastor will be officiating the ceremony, s/he will be responsible for counseling (with the agreement of the session and the approval of the NSPC pastor).
  • Begin working with the wedding liaison regarding all that needs to be handled for the wedding
  • Meet with the music coordinator or organist/pianist regarding what music (hymns, songs), soloists, other instruments (acoustic or electric), etc. will be used (for approval by the music coordinator and pastor);
  • Meet with sound person regarding microphones needed, CDs to be played, etc. The NSPC sound person will control the sound system at the wedding (if this person is not available another qualified individual will be appointed)
  • Meet with the secretary regarding the “wedding bulletin”
  • Bring the marriage license to the pastor at least three (3) days prior to the wedding, unless other arrangements are made.

OFFICIATING PASTOR

The NSPC pastor performs all marriage ceremonies held at the church. Should another minister be asked to participate in the ceremony by the couple, this minister must be deemed acceptable by the NSPC pastor and also be approved by the Session before the invitation is made. When/If a minister from another church assists or officiates at the wedding ceremony, they must abide by the policies of NSPC.

WEDDING LIAISON

NSPC will provide the couple with a wedding liaison to coordinate all arrangements and usage of the church facility. This liaison will also assist the pastor and the wedding party with the rehearsal and the wedding.

FACILITIES

The NSPC sanctuary seats 200 guests in the pews and with chairs placed in the narthex. The three (3) symbols of worship – baptismal font, communion table, pulpit – must remain visible so that the integrity of the worship space is maintained. Dressing rooms and bathrooms will be made available for the wedding party. Two (2) kneelers are available if so desired.

The throwing of rice or any other items is not permitted, nor is the releasing of balloons or live animals. Bubbles are acceptable and encouraged, and are to be used outside the church building.

MUSIC

Music is a traditional and beautiful part of a wedding ceremony. All music during the service should direct attention to God, and special care should be taken to assure that it is suitable and reverent. It should also express the joyous nature of the ceremony.

The NSPC organist/pianist and the music coordinator are available to play at all weddings. Should another musician be preferred by the couple, the choice will be subject to the approval of the pastor and session, and will work with the NSPC music coordinator and/or organist/pianist.

If other musicians are used (vocal and/or instrumental), the music coordinator will arrange rehearsal times to meet, practice, and go over the music chosen. All music will be turned over to the pastor for approval.

PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOS & RECORDINGS

Wedding pictures may be taken in the sanctuary before guests arrive and after the ceremony. Since the ceremony is a service of worship, no flash photography can be used during the processional and ceremony. Flash photography may be used during the recessional as the couple exit down the center aisle of the sanctuary.

Time exposures quietly executed from the balcony (above the narthex) or the narthex (back of the church) are allowed, providing the photographer remains unobtrusive. Videography recording without additional lighting is permitted from the balcony, and video cameras may also be inconspicuously placed at either side of the choir loft.

DECORATIONS & FLOWERS

All floral arrangements, as well as any other additional decorations, must be cleared through the wedding liaison at least two (2) weeks prior to the ceremony. The florist and any other decorators should arrange a time with the wedding liaison to decorate the sanctuary. Decorations should be in keeping with the nature of the service and preserve the atmosphere of worship. No decorations or floral arrangements may cover the Baptismal Font, Communion Table, or the Pulpit, and live flowers should not be placed on the piano or organ.

Floral arrangements are permitted in the chancel area. Protective measures must be taken with the use of live plants/flowers to assure the furnishings are not damaged. The only flowers allowed on the communion table are a small arrangement around the unity candle (if placed there). Several floral stands are available to be used in the chancel area, as are two (2) seven-branch candelabra with candles. NSPC also has artificial floral arrangements available for use on the candelabra or pews if needed.

No nails, screws, thumbtacks, staples, or sticky tape may be used in any part of the church, nor can any carpentry work or other temporary structure(s) be erected. All surfaces must be protected from wax, water, scarring, marks, or other damage. Any damage to the building or furnishings of NSPC will be the responsibility of those who engaged the church facility.

WEDDING BULLETIN

If the NSPC secretary is to prepare and print a wedding ceremony bulletin (which is done in cooperation with the couple, the pastor and the music coordinator), the couple must furnish the basic information and bulletin covers no later than two (2) weeks prior to the wedding day. The information can be emailed to the church secretary, or submitted on a jump drive, to be formatted on the bulletin covers provided. One week before the wedding the couple will proof the bulletin before copies are made, and any errors not caught and corrected are the responsibility of the couple.

REHEARSAL

The pastor, assisted by the wedding liaison and the music coordinator (organist/pianist), is in charge of the rehearsal and will explain all procedures. The rehearsal is usually held at 5:00 pm the night before the wedding and lasts one hour. The couple being married is responsible for ensuring that all members of the wedding party are prompt and on time for the rehearsal. The date/time of the rehearsal should be set early in the wedding planning, and any need to change it must be no later than two (2) weeks prior to the wedding, and every effort will be made to accommodate the change.

If the pastor (or any other NSPC individual) is invited to attend the rehearsal dinner and/or the wedding reception, this invitation should be extended at least two (2) weeks in advance so that they can let the couple know if they can attend.

WEDDING RECEPTIONS

The NSPC Social Room is available for receptions. Catering arrangements should be discussed with the wedding liaison. Kitchen equipment may be used if the reception after the wedding ceremony is being held in the social room. Complete cleanup of the social room, kitchen area, and kitchen equipment used is required. The couple will be held responsible for any breakage or other damage, and the couple agrees to assume all responsibility and liability for any food served that is not prepared by the NSPC deacons.

NON-MEMBER WEDDINGS

Weddings for non-members are accepted at the discretion of the pastor and must be approved by the Session to hold a wedding date. The $100 building use fee (see below) is required up front for the church to commit to the date of the ceremony and should be delivered to the church as soon as possible after the wedding date is confirmed (check made payable to NSPC).

SUGGESTED FEES / HONORARIA

In recognition of the time spent with the wedding couple for counseling sessions, rehearsal, and wedding ceremony, a suitable honorarium for the church pastor is $125-$350. This honorarium is paid directly to the pastor.

 

Additional honoraria may include:

  • building use payable to NSPC $100 – required of all non-members
  • organist/pianist, if applicable, payable to the individual $125 [if a soloist is used and extra rehearsals are needed, this should increase to $150
  • secretary, payable to the individual, for handling initial contact, meetings, and preparation of a wedding bulletin $25
  • wedding liaison, payable to the individual $50
  • if a wedding rehearsal dinner and/or a wedding reception are held in the church Social Room, $200 ($50 of which will go to the custodian for prep and cleanup of the social room and kitchen) payable to NSPC
  • if the social room is not used, to the custodian (payable to that individual) $50

All monies tendered should be handled at the wedding rehearsal and given directly to the proper individual in the case of the pastor, organist/pianist, wedding liaison. Money for the secretary, custodian, or to NSPC for use of the social room should be given to the wedding liaison for handling.

MEMBER WEDDINGS

Weddings planned for NSPC members do not require the building use fee, but all other suggested honoraria apply.

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

of the couple being married:

The building must be left in the condition it was found. All decorations and floral arrangements must be removed immediately after the ceremony (unless flowers are being left for the upcoming Sunday service at NSPC).

Communicate all church policies to all members of the wedding party and any other parties involved in or attending the wedding rehearsal and/or ceremony.

If church facilities are damaged or defaced by the wedding party or guests during the rehearsal, wedding, or reception, the couple will be asked to reimburse the church for cleaning and/or repairs.

The church building and grounds are smoke free – no smoking of any kind is allowed anywhere on the grounds or in the building. Also, alcoholic beverages are not permitted, nor is anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs allowed on church property.

NSPC Worship Committee (Betsy Kipila)
Approved by Session 8/8/17