The decision to marry is one of the greatest and most joyous decisions in life. We at St. Matthew's share your joy and excitement and are eager to assist you in making your wedding a wonderful and memorable occasion for you and all your loved ones. We also believe that Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and woman in the presence of God and His people to commit to marriage. We have developed a process for premarital preparation and have limited the use of the church facilities to members and their children.
Who may be married?
Persons desiring to be married at St. Matthew's must be, or be in the process of becoming active members.
Both partners must understand Christian marriage as the life-long union between a man and a woman made before God and His people. In witness of this the couple is required to sign their "Declaration of Intent" agreeing to enter into the covenant of marriage.
If either partner has been divorced, the clergy are required to make application to the Bishop of Virginia for permission to proceed with the marriage. A minimum of one year must pass after the final divorce decree is granted before the Bishop will act upon the request.
Steps in the process.
- The first step is to call the church office to set up an appointment with the clergy for an initial consultation. Permission from the clergy (and the Bishop in the case of remarriage) to proceed must be obtained before the wedding may be scheduled or any other wedding plans or arrangements are made final.
- To allow time for premarital preparation and instruction, you must contact the church five months prior to your desired wedding date (six months in advance if you have been married before). Weddings will not be conducted during Lent.
- Arrangements to reserve the sanctuary and any other church facilities needed are made through the church office after the initial consultation. In the event that two weddings are scheduled for the same day, a four-hour interval will be required between ceremonies, and the couple who first schedules the date with the church office has priority for all choices.
- A minimum of three pre-marital counseling sessions is required. More may be required at the discretion of the clergy, especially where divorce or other matters of special concern are present. These will cover the Christian understanding of marriage, the Biblical concept of family living, practical issues of married life (finances, children, sexuality, communication, etc.), and the details of the ceremony itself.
- Couples to be married at St. Matthew's also benefit from premarital mentoring by trained members of our Marriage Ministry. Click here for more information about our Marriage Ministry.
Planning the wedding
- After a wedding has been scheduled through Rector, the engaged couple will be contacted by the Wedding Guild. The Wedding Guild meets with the bride and reviews the policies and procedures for weddings at St. Matthew’s. They assist with the rehearsal and the wedding.
- If music is desired call the church Music Minister at 288-1911 to arrange an appointment for selecting music to be used. Use of other instruments and music for vocal performance must be approved by the clergy and the organist.
- Arrangements for altar flowers and any other church decoration are made though the Altar Guild. The couple is responsible for the cost of all flowers for both altars. When there is more than one wedding on a day, the couples are to agree on the altar flowers and divide the cost evenly. If there is any question, the couple who first scheduled the date with the church office has priority. The altar flowers are to be ordered from our supplier, Coleman Bros. Florists (262-8681), delivered to the church between 9 and 9:30 a.m. the day of the wedding, arranged by the Altar Guild, and must be left in the church after the ceremony. Deliveries of bridal bouquets, usher's boutonnieres, etc. should be scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. the day of the wedding. Other decorations are the responsibility of the couple, must be removed after the ceremony, and must be approved by the Altar Guild.
- For evening weddings, candles are available for the windows; however, they may not be used during the air conditioning season, they must be approved by the Altar Guild, provided by the couple, and removed (with all spilt wax) immediately following the service.
- For safety reasons, aisle runners are not permitted.
- It is strongly encouraged that the couple provide a wedding coordinator, paid or volunteer, for the following tasks: coordinate the seating of parents and the procession at the ceremony, see to distribution of bouquets and boutonnieres, supervise ushering, etc.
- No flash or auto advance photography is permitted during the ceremony. A stationary video camera may be used from an approved position without special lights or microphone.
- Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in all church buildings and properties.