Weddings at St Paul Lutheran Church
We join with you in expressing our joy at your decision to marry and to celebrate this Rite in the Church. We are honored to become part of the journey you have already begun and to help you celebrate your union.
This booklet contains items for you to consider as you make your preparations. In order for the planning to be as joyous as possible and free of misunderstandings, we urge you to read this information before you contact the church office. Be sure to make the necessary appointments as soon as possible.
A Community of Faith
In the Lutheran Church marriage is understood to be a gift from God, intended for the joy and mutual strength of those who enter it and for the well-being of the whole human family. It is God who has declared that whom God has joined, let no one hinder or put asunder. The church declares your union to be holy; we gather as witnesses to bless what God has already decreed good.
Marriage is also a human estate, with vows publicly witnessed. The church in worship surrounds these promises with the gathering of God’s people, the witness of the Word of God, the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and prayers of blessing and intercession.
The Church assumes that you are planning your wedding here as part of your participation or interest in the life of this congregation. We look forward to welcoming you into this community if you so choose.
After reading this information the next step is to contact the Pastor and make an appointment to meet. At our first meeting we will discuss and choose your wedding date. You are encouraged to first speak with the Pastor before committing to a reception venue date.
Only upon receipt of the deposit (for the use of the building) is the church committed to the date and time agreed upon. All remaining fees are due at the last premarital counseling session.
St. Paul Church does not solemnize church weddings during the seasons of Lent (mid February to mid March) or Advent (first weeks in December) as these are penitential seasons.
Obtaining the License
You must see to the legal requirements of marriage in the State of New Jersey. A license is obtained through the town or city clerk in any municipality and is valid anywhere in New Jersey. Please remember to bring the license to the rehearsal.
The marriage liturgy is normally preceded by a period of preparation. You will need to have a series of three appointments with the pastor. These premarital counseling sessions are designed to help explain the liturgy, review with you your relationship and the expectations you bring to it, and to plan the ceremony. It is wise to make these appointments before you secure reception halls or make other plans since the pastor cannot perform wedding ceremonies without certifying that these sessions have taken place. If you have been married previously, you will be asked to bring a copy of your divorce decree.
No one is required to be either a Christian or a Lutheran to be married at St. Paul Church, but the ceremony is Christian by nature.
The Marriage Rite is a service of worship, and the music therefore must be carefully chosen. It should embody high standards of quality and the texts should reflect the praise of God, the steadfast love of Christ for his church and the invocation of God’s presence and blessing. Secular music is not appropriate.
Please be sure to speak with our Music Director/Organist to arrange for a time to review the music.
St. Paul Church seats about 200 people, with some options for folding chairs if needed. There are steps leading into the sanctuary. The center aisle is approximately 60 feet long.
The flowers are customarily left at the church to be taken to the sick and shut-in. If you choose to make other arrangements, please speak to the Pastor. Artificial flowers are not permitted. Please limit birdseed and bubbles to outside.
Still and motion photography within the context of the liturgy demands a sensitivity that most professionals understand. Photography and videography are permitted. Flash photography and artificial lighting are permitted only during the processional and recessional. Once the bridal couple reaches the altar, all photography and videography will be accomplished using existing light.
Please inform your guests of this rule. Moving about the sanctuary unobtrusively is acceptable for the professional. We ask that photographers remain behind the front pews, and not enter the chancel.
All remaining fees are due after the last counseling session.
Church building usage: $500 Pastor: $ 500*
Altar Guild $100 Organist: $250
Bulletins: $ 25 Sexton: $ 100
*Pastor’s fee is for the pastor’s discretionary fund, which is used to help members of the community who experience a financial emergency.*
Please note: Fees for soloists, choir or instrumentalists are to be arranged with the Minister of Music/Organist.
Members of the congregation with their faithful giving, support the church with their offerings. The only fees due from members are for the organist, sexton, and for printing bulletins.
Suggested Scripture Readings
Genesis 1: 26 - 28
Genesis 2: 18 - 24
Proverbs 3: 3 – 6
1 John 4: 7-16
John 2: 1-11
John 15: 9-12
You may also wish to use a favorite poem, another piece of literature, or other scripture. Pastor will have suggestions.
St. Paul Church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation; we welcome full participation in the life of this congregation by people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions; racial, and ethnic identities. Your wedding will receive the dignity and honor and joy that God calls us to as we celebrate with you what God is doing in your life as you join yourselves to each other in marriage. Congratulations!