Wedding Guidelines for Faith United Methodist Church

5505 Broadway, Lancaster, NY 14086
(716) 683-5293

The Service of Christian Marriage

A wedding in the church is a service of worship. Legally, a marriage can be ratified at the courthouse, or in a civil ceremony. But the service of Christian marriage is provided for those couples who wish to solemnize their marriage as a sacred covenant made before God, and a witness to their Christian faith. Therefore, it is expected that those seeking a service of Christian marriage will be persons who are baptized and intend to be active in their faith. If you are seeking a church home, you are invited to attend our services.

The decision to perform any wedding ceremony is the right and responsibility of the pastor. The United Methodist marriage service will be used and all plans for the wedding service, music, and decorations must be approved by the pastor. Any leadership roles to be taken by other clergy must be at the invitation of the pastor of Faith UMC.

Setting the Wedding Date

The date and time of the wedding will be subject to the availability of the staff and facilities. Therefore, the wedding date should be set well in advance, and the church office should be contacted as early as possible. A minimum of three months notice will be required.


Once the wedding date is established, a rehearsal date should also be set; this is usually the evening before the wedding. Everyone participating in the service is expected to attend the rehearsal.

Starting on Time

The rehearsal and the wedding service will start at the scheduled time. On the day of the wedding, the groomsmen are expected to arrive at the church no later than 40 minutes before the start of the service, and the bridal party should arrive no later than 20 minutes before the start of the service.

Marriage License

It is the responsibility of the prospective bride and groom to obtain the marriage license. The marriage license must be brought to the rehearsal and given to the pastor at that time.

Premarital Conference

A significant part of a Christian wedding is the counsel of the pastor with the prospective bride and groom (as mandated by The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church). At least three sessions (one hour each) are required, and will be scheduled with the pastor.


Music for the wedding should be arranged with the church organist or with another musician if the church organist is unavailable. Selection of processional, recessional, hymns, and other service music (including solos) must be appropriate to a service of worship and be approved by the pastor. The couple is responsible for informing the organist of the wedding and rehearsal dates and times. Wedding couples also have the availability of using our sound system and an audio tape may be made of your wedding. An additional fee will be charged for our sound technician, if this is desired.

Use of Confetti, Rice or Birdseed

Throwing confetti, rice, or birdseed after the wedding will not be permitted on the church property.

Photographers and Videotaping

No photography is permitted during the service, except during the processional and recessional. Video cameras may be used, but must remain stationary throughout the service. Questions about the placement of cameras and photographers during the ceremony should be addressed directly to the pastor.

Flower and Decorations

Arrangements for flowers and/or decorations should be made through the florist of your choice. The florist should be responsible to make sure that the church will be open and available at the time desired for setting up the decorations. The location and arrangement of flowers and/or decorations is subject to the approval of the pastor. It is not permissible to put nails or tacks into the woodwork or furniture of the church. Flowers and/or decorations that are to be saved or returned to the florist should be removed from the church immediately after the wedding service.

Any questions about these guidelines and procedures should be addressed directly to the pastor, as soon as possible.
Your Church Wedding Service Checklist and Clarification

Fees and Expenses

1. _______ $75 Fee due Church Custodians. Payable to: Diane Lewis

2. _______ $100 Fee due Organist (rehearsal included) Payable to: Katie Carter

3. _______ Special instrumental or vocal music is the responsibility of the wedding party.

It is not assumed that someone will provide special instrumental or vocal music for your wedding. Generally, people call on a friend of family member to provide the music. This music could appear within, before, and following the wedding liturgy. Consult with the pastor on all particulars regarding the actual church service itself.

4. _______ $120 Donation for use of Church (non-members)

5. _______ $50 Heating or cooling surcharge

6. _______ $200 Honorarium for Pastor (includes 3 pre-marital counseling sessions)

7. _______ If there is need for the church to produce programs, we ask you to purchase the folders and provide the secretary with $15 for the work done to print the content of the service into the folders. Payable to: Suzette Phillips

8. _______ If you are planning a candlelight service, we ask you to pay for the candles needed at 50 cents each. There are two chancel candelabra, with 7 candles each, and eight aisle candle stands, which hold a single candle each, 22 candles = $11. If a Unity Candle is desired, we ask you to purchase the set from a wedding supply store. The church can provide a floor model brass Unity Candle stand. Payable to: Faith UMC

For clarity and convenience, we ask that you submit separate envelopes to each of the parties involved. All fees are due at the wedding rehearsal or prior to the wedding day.

We want your wedding to be a comfortable, inviting, safe, and meaningful day. The pastor and other church personnel work diligently to set up things as planned. Basically, our rules are few. The photographer should touch base with the pastor for any final suggestions. Please inform your guests that the photographer is the only one permitted to take pictures during the actual service. Please complete your use of the sanctuary for after-wedding photography within an hour following the service. Any need to use the church facilities beyond this time must be negotiated with the pastor and custodian. Again, please note we prohibit confetti, rice or birdseed inside or outside the church building. Thank you for your thoughtful attention to these details.

A hard copy of these guidelines can be obtained by contacting the church office at 683-5293. Please use it to check off relevant items in consultation with the Pastor and keep a copy for your records.