Non-Member Weddings


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Wedding Flower Arrangement

A Word to the Bride and Groom

As you plan your wed­ding, one thing is cer­tain; it will mean many hours of care­ful thought and prepa­ra­tion.  In the days and weeks ahead you will be busy tak­ing care of a thou­sand things.  This guide is pro­vid­ed to help you pre­pare.  It will answer, and ask, ques­tions.  It will offer sug­ges­tions, and per­haps, remind you of a few things that you might oth­er­wise for­get.  Both of you want your wed­ding to be the sig­nif­i­cant event you are antic­i­pat­ing.  This church wants this too, and hopes that your wed­ding day will be among the most mem­o­rable days of your lives.

Marriage and the Church

In all Chris­t­ian church­es through­out the world, mar­riage is rec­og­nized as a good and noble rela­tion­ship.  It was estab­lished by God as the first of all insti­tu­tions.  God hon­ors it so high­ly that it is pro­tect­ed by one of the Ten Com­mand­ments.  Through love and faith­ful­ness, hon­or and trust, Chris­tians glo­ri­fy God in their marriage.

Wedding Rings

Preparing for the Pre-Marital Interviews

Because mar­riage has such a great poten­tial for hap­pi­ness as well as unhap­pi­ness, it is impor­tant for the bride and groom to weigh care­ful­ly what it means.  It is impor­tant for you to con­sid­er your own pre­pared­ness, your rela­tion­ship and your expec­ta­tions.  The fol­low­ing list of ques­tions is foun­da­tion­al to the pre-mar­i­tal inter­view with the minister.

1. How well do I know my partner?

  • What things do I like about him/her?
  • What things both­er me?

2. How well are we suit­ed for each other?

  • What areas of poten­tial prob­lems do I or do we anticipate?
  • How do we resolve disagreements?

3. What does “love” mean to me?

  • How do I express my love to my partner?

4. Are we ready to estab­lish a home of our own?

  • Am I “inde­pen­dent” or ready to be inde­pen­dent from my fam­i­ly?  How do I know?

5. Do we have a sound spir­i­tu­al foundation?

6. Are we emo­tion­al­ly, men­tal­ly, and phys­i­cal­ly ready for the full mean­ing of sex in marriage?

7. Do we whole­heart­ed­ly accept the mar­riage vows?

  • Is mar­riage for life?

Check List for Planning

Date and Time: Con­tact the church office to check on the date and make the deposit before mak­ing any pub­lic announce­ments.  After the date and deposit have been tak­en care of you will be asked to fill out an infor­ma­tion sheet and return it to the church. This does not have to be the final plans, just pre­lim­i­nary, so we have some idea of what your wed­ding will entail.  Until we receive the deposit, the date is not reserved.

Invi­ta­tions: When order­ing invi­ta­tions, the sug­gest­ed form of the church address is:

First Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church

100 Maple Street

St. Johns, MI 48879

Pre-Mar­i­tal Inter­views: These are a sig­nif­i­cant part of your prepa­ra­tion.  The min­is­ter will con­tact you about the dates and times for these meetings.

Rehearsal: The rehearsal is usu­al­ly sched­uled for the evening before the wed­ding.  All par­tic­i­pants, includ­ing ush­ers, should be present and the rehearsal should begin prompt­ly at the sched­uled time.  Plan on approx­i­mate­ly one hour for the rehearsal.  Dress, or casu­al clothes, is appro­pri­ate attire for this event.

License: It is rec­om­mend­ed that the license be obtained from the Coun­ty Clerk’s office at the cour­t­house, at least two weeks in advance of the wed­ding.  The mar­riage license must be deliv­ered to the church office the evening of the wed­ding rehearsal, or any­time the week before the wedding.

Responsibility for the building

When a cou­ple decides to have their wed­ding in this church, they assume the respon­si­bil­i­ty of leav­ing it in the same con­di­tion as they found it.  Any dam­age to the build­ing is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the cou­ple.  Cost of any repair of dam­age is not includ­ed in the build­ing use fee.

The build­ing will be open at the time you request on the day of the wed­ding.  The church rep­re­sen­ta­tives will lock the build­ing approx­i­mate­ly one hour after your wedding.

There are dress­ing rooms for the bridal par­ty in the low­er lev­el of the church.  The Church Rep­re­sen­ta­tive will show these areas to you the evening of the rehearsal.  Please do not leave cam­eras, mon­ey or any oth­er valu­ables in the dress­ing rooms down­stairs.  We can­not be respon­si­ble for lost or miss­ing items.  Please see that the dress­ing rooms are cleaned up after the wedding.

Food and bev­er­ages are not per­mit­ted in the sanc­tu­ary for either the rehearsal or wedding.

Music: Vocal or instru­men­tal solos are appro­pri­ate and the soloist needs to be secured by the cou­ple.  Music selec­tions should be dis­cussed with the min­is­ter at the ini­tial interview.

We have a list of avail­able organ­ists in the church office that we can rec­om­mend to you.   We pre­fer you use one of the organ­ists on our list as they are famil­iar with our pipe organ. You are respon­si­ble for con­tact­ing them and set­ting up meet­ings, music, etc.  You are respon­si­ble to pay their fees direct­ly to them.

We ask that the musi­cians you select make pri­or arrange­ments to set up prac­tice times through the church office.  They must also make pri­or arrange­ments for use of the sound sys­tem with one of our trained personnel.

Deco­rum: No rice, con­fet­ti, grass seed, or bird­seed may be thrown either inside, or out­side, of the church.  Because of the haz­ard they pose to our envi­ron­ment, no launch­ing of heli­um filled bal­loons is allowed.

Smok­ing is NOT per­mit­ted inside the church.  Danc­ing and the use of alco­hol or ille­gal drugs is not allowed in the build­ing or on the church prop­er­ty.

Vis­it­ing Min­is­ter: The min­is­ter of this church shall serve as the offi­ciant.  If you wish to invite anoth­er min­is­ter to be a part of this ser­vice you may do so with per­mis­sion of the senior min­is­ter of this church.  Please dis­cuss this with our min­is­ter on your ini­tial visit.

Pho­tog­ra­ph­er and pic­ture tak­ing: For­mal wed­ding pic­tures may be tak­en pri­or to the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny but must be com­plet­ed at least 30 min­utes before the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny is sched­uled to begin.  Please con­vey this to your pho­tog­ra­ph­er ahead of time.  This will elim­i­nate any last minute problems.

No flash or flood lights are per­mit­ted dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny.  Pic­tures using a flash may be tak­en as par­ties in the pro­ces­sion­al enter the aisle but at no oth­er time dur­ing the ser­vice.  Please inform the min­is­ter before the rehearsal if his pres­ence will be need­ed for posed pic­tures fol­low­ing the ceremony.

Video­tap­ing: So as to not be a dis­trac­tion dur­ing the ser­vice, the video cam­era is to be posi­tioned in one loca­tion through the ser­vice.  This loca­tion will be deter­mined dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion with the min­is­ter or the Church Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the rehearsal.

Chil­dren in Wed­dings: Because of their age and dis­tractibil­i­ty, it is rec­om­mend­ed that young chil­dren (3 years of age and younger) not be a part of the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny as flower girls and ring bear­ers.  If you choose to use young chil­dren in these roles, it is sug­gest­ed that they be a part of the pro­ces­sion­al only and then be direct­ed to sit with a par­ent or oth­er adult they know for the remain­der of the ceremony.

Dec­o­rat­ing: Altar flow­ers and oth­er dec­o­ra­tions are the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the cou­ple.  Tape of any kind is not per­mit­ted on the church pews.  We have found that heavy-duty rub­ber bands work best to attach pew bows.

The use of an aisle run­ner is the brides option.  How­ev­er, please note that due to the angle of the aisle they do not lay prop­er­ly. The run­ner will tend to bunch up and over­lap itself.

Church Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: The Church Rep­re­sen­ta­tive will receive a copy of your wed­ding infor­ma­tion form.  You will find her help­ful as you dis­cuss the numer­ous ques­tions regard­ing the wed­ding.  The Church Rep­re­sen­ta­tive will be present to assist at the rehearsal and wed­ding.  She will instruct the ush­ers, help the min­is­ter and is in charge of get­ting the par­ents, wed­ding par­ty, etc down the aisle at the appro­pri­ate time.  She is part of the church staff and does not take the place of your social host and host­ess.  You may call the church office and speak direct­ly to the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at any time.

Sound Sys­tem: The sound sys­tem per­son­nel will run the tapes, CD’s, mikes etc. for the wed­ding. The per­son in charge of the sound sys­tem will be at the rehearsal and wed­ding service.

Each selec­tion that is on a tape or CD must be clear­ly marked with the selec­tion name. Please only one song per tape.  (CD’s are prefer­able to tapes).

Recep­tion: If Wilcox Hall is desired for the recep­tion, arrange­ments must be made through the church office.  Rental of Wilcox Hall is $300.00.  Seat­ing capac­i­ty of Wilcox hall is 125 –130 peo­ple.  The church premis­es must be cleared and vacat­ed by 11 PM.  Any devi­a­tion from this time frame shall be agreed upon by all par­ties at the time arrange­ments are made.

Renters fur­nish their own food, dec­o­ra­tions, and table cov­ers.  No tape is per­mit­ted on the poles or ceil­ings.  Renters have the option of fur­nish­ing all paper ser­vice prod­ucts or using the church chi­na dish­es or clear glass snack trays.  How­ev­er it is your respon­si­bil­i­ty to make sure the dish­es are clean and put away, all trash is bagged up and removed from the build­ing, and Wilcox Hall in the same con­di­tion you found it.

Standard Order of Worship For A Marriage Service



Words of Welcome


Dec­la­ra­tions of Intent

Promise of the Parents



Exchange of Vows

Exchange of Rings

Prayers for the Couple

Uni­ty Candle

Announce­ment of the Marriage


Intro­duc­tion of the Couple


Receiving Line for Weddings

Usu­al­ly, only the moth­ers and the Bride and Groom stand in the receiv­ing line, while the fathers cir­cu­late among the guests.  This is the ide­al solu­tion to the prob­lem of “who stands where” in fam­i­lies with divorced and remar­ried parents.

The order is as fol­lows:  The Bride’s moth­er is first, (she is the host­ess for this par­ty) so she can intro­duce the guests to the Groom’s moth­er.  If the fathers are intro­duced in the receiv­ing line, see the dia­gram below.  The line con­tin­ues with the Bride and Groom, hon­or atten­dants, brides­maids and grooms­men.  Ush­ers rarely join the receiv­ing line.  It is not nec­es­sary for the whole wed­ding par­ty to be a part of the receiv­ing line.

Anoth­er option for a receiv­ing line is for the Bride and Groom to go down the aisle after the Reces­sion­al and dis­miss guests, row-by-row, begin­ning with the parents.

Financial Responsibilities

The fee for a wed­ding at First Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church is $500.00.


$175.00 Min­is­ter

$200.00 Use of the Church/Candelabras

$75.00 Church Representative

$25.00 Cus­to­di­an

$25.00 Sound Personnel

When a small, pri­vate wed­ding (25 peo­ple or less) is held in the church, either in the sanc­tu­ary, par­lor or Coun­try­man Hall, for which there is no rehearsal, the total will be $275.00.. This fee does not include music, Church Per­son­nel, Sound Per­son­nel or candelabras.


$150.00 Min­is­ter

$100.00 Church Use

$25.00 Cus­to­di­an

Pay­ment: The wed­ding fee bal­ance must be paid in full at the time of the rehearsal.  The fee may be paid with a check made out to The First Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church.  The Church Rep­re­sen­ta­tive will give you a receipt.

Deposit:  There is a non-refund­able deposit of $100.00 due at the time your wed­ding is offi­cial­ly scheduled.