The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) defines marriage as “A covenant of mutual promises, commitment and hope authorized legally by the state and blessed by God.” In the church, marriage is a gift of God intended for the joy and mutual strength of those who enter it and for the wellbeing of the whole human family. God created humankind with the need for companionship and the capacity to love, care for and nurture each other. A wedding service celebrates these gifts. To be married in a Christian worship service is, first and foremost a statement of faith indicating a desire and commitment to live in relationship not just with each other but also with God and God’s people.
Each Christian wedding is therefore a worship service that celebrates the love of the couple making a commitment to each other, while at the same time acknowledging the Source and Origin of that love. These Wedding Policies are designed to ensure that weddings performed under the auspices of Christ Lutheran Church will reflect this dual nature of a wedding service.
WHO MAY BE MARRIED
The primary responsibility of the CTK pastor regarding weddings is to officiate at the marriages of active members of CTK and their immediate families. However, the congregation recognizes that weddings for those who are not members of the church are a form of hospitality, outreach and evangelism. Therefore, the pastor will officiate at weddings involving non-members of the church as the pastor is able.
The pastor always has the final authority to determine whether he/she will officiate at any wedding, regardless of the membership of the persons to be married.
WHO MAY OFFICIATE
The CTK Pastor always officiates at weddings that take place at CTK. Other clergy or licensed wedding officiants may participate with the approval of the CTK pastor. If approved, the invitation to other clergy or officiants is appropriately extended by the CTK pastor.
WHERE WEDDINGS MAY OCCUR
The pastor officiates weddings at the church and off-site. Non-members may be married in the church, but there is a fee for using the building (see Fees, below). The location of off-site weddings must be approved by the pastor.
WHEN WEDDINGS MAY OCCUR
Wedding times and dates are at the discretion of the pastor and are scheduled with consideration of the pastor’s schedule and the availability of the church. Please note that weddings are not normally scheduled during Holy Week.
HOW TO SCHEDULE YOUR WEDDING
Before any reservations are made for reception halls, caterers, etc., it is crucial to assure that the church and pastor are available for your date. The reservation is not confirmed until the couple has had an initial meeting with the pastor. That meeting may be scheduled by calling the church office, or by calling or emailing the pastor directly. Couples who are not members of CTK are strongly encouraged to attend at least one worship service prior to scheduling a wedding to make sure the pastor’s “style” is appropriate for their plans.
It is recommended that planning begin at least 6-8 months prior to the wedding.
Initial arrangements and further planning should be done by the couple. The pastor strongly prefers to deal directly with couples anticipating marriage, not parents, wedding coordinators, etc.
EVERY WEDDING WILL INCLUDE
As a worship service, every wedding performed under the auspices of CTK will include, at minimum: prayers, Scripture readings, a homily (short sermon that proclaims the Gospel), vows, and blessing/benediction. A variety of worship services are available for couples to choose, but these elements will be part of every service. Unless there are no seats available (at an off-site wedding), the congregation, including the wedding party, will typically be seated for Scripture Readings and the homily.
The celebration of Holy Communion is always an option for a wedding service. Bread and wine for communion will be provided by the pastor/church. If Holy Communion is desired, it will be offered to all baptized Christians as is the practice of this church and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Music that is part of a service of Christian marriage is understood to be an act of worship, offered to God in devotion, thanksgiving and praise. This does not mean that only “religious” music may be used, but all music must reflect this understanding and not detract from the worship nature of the service. Some music is simply better for receptions than worship.
The church has connections to play music through a portable music player, smart phone, or computer. If available, church musicians may be available for a fee. Musical bands or live special music provided by family or friends is always an option.
Rehearsals normally take place the evening before the wedding and will be facilitated by the pastor. It is vital that all members of the wedding party be present and on time – this includes Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Flower Girls, Ring Bearers, parents, etc. The rehearsal is for the benefit of the wedding party, so that they can get comfortable with the service and with the space. For weddings at the church, the organist will attend rehearsals. It is strongly encouraged that other musicians and/or DJs (in the case of away weddings), and/or wedding coordinators, be present at the rehearsal.
PLEASE consult with the pastor before scheduling your rehearsal, especially if it will deviate from the normal evening-before scheduling.
The church has two altar candles that will be lit for the wedding service. If a Unity Candle Service is desired, the couple is responsible for providing three candles and the appropriate holders.
Due to the many demands on our Office Administrator’s time, we are unable to produce a Worship Bulletin for your wedding. However, if you desire to prepare and print one yourself or arrange for someone else to do so, the pastor will provide you with an outline of the service following your last meeting. The pastor may have examples of bulletins that have worked well in the past.
A few things to keep in mind about bulletins:
- Choose a bulletin that will be easy to open
- Choose a font that will be easy for all to read . . . consider your older guests!
- Choose how much text to include. It is often helpful to print the words that will be spoken by the congregation, especially the Lord’s Prayer.
- Choose content appropriate for a worship service. Biographies, photographs, etc. may be best saved for the reception.
- You may want to include directions to the reception on the back or in an insert.
RICE, BIRDSEED, BUBBLES
Due to safety and environmental concerns, no birdseed, rice, or other thrown items are permitted. BUBBLES are fun and look pretty in photographs and videos. Another alternative is to give guests small bells to ring to greet the couple as they depart the church (they also make a nice remembrance of the day).
A service of Christian marriage is at its core a worship service. Everyone involved, particularly members of the wedding party, is expected to guide their actions and attitudes with this in mind. Some celebrations are better left for the reception. The pastor, or others granted authority to officiate weddings at CTK, reserve the right to exclude from participation any member of the wedding party who is under the influence of alcohol or other substances. The pastor, or others granted authority to officiate weddings at CTK, also have the authority to refuse to preside at the wedding in which either of the couple is under the influence.
It is the responsibility of the couple to obtain a California marriage license which is valid for their wedding day. The pastor cannot legally perform a marriage for which a Marriage License is not physically present. For weddings at the church, the Marriage License may be given to the pastor at the rehearsal. Unless holding a “confidential” wedding, at least one witness must sign the marriage license and there is space for two witnesses. The officiant will mail the completed license to the clerk recorder’s office of the county where the license was obtained. Please stamp the envelope for mailing.
Local Clerk Recorder’s Offices (note, a license may be obtained from any county in California)
2954 Richardson Drive
Auburn, CA 95603
950 Maidu Avenue
Nevada City, CA 95959
USE OF FACILITIES
Use of CTK facilities is subject to the policies developed by the CTK Church Council.
Use of the church is scheduled through the pastor. Decorations are to be minimal and subject to the pastor’s approval. Nothing is to be taped or otherwise affixed to the pews or other furnishings. Hooks which do not leave a mark, poster putty, or tying ribbon are acceptable alternatives to tape. No flowers – or any other decoration - may be placed on the altar, though they may be placed at either side of the chancel/altar area. The color of paraments is typically the color of the season in which the wedding takes place (i.e. White for Easter, Green for Pentecost, etc.)
|Check Payable To||ACTIVE MEMBERS||ALL OTHERS|
Social Hall for Dressing before Ceremony
Study Room for Dressing before the Ceremony
|Social Hall for Reception||CtK||Optional Donation||
Inviting the pastor to the reception and/or rehearsal dinner is not an expectation. If you do extend an invitation, the pastor (and spouse) will attend if time and circumstances allow. Please communicate in advance if you desire the pastor to offer a grace before the reception and/or rehearsal meal.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY and THE PHOTOGRAPHER
A Christian marriage service is a worship celebration, and therefore photographers should be as inconspicuous as possible to preserve the sacred nature of the gathering.
Flash photography is only allowed during the processional and recessional. Guests will be asked to refrain from any photography during the rest of the service, and professional photographers will be asked to use only available light. When taking pictures at times other than the processional/recessional, photographers are asked to stay at the back, side, or balcony of the church and to never enter the chancel area (beyond the altar rail).
INSTRUCTIONS FOR VIDEOGRAPHER
A Christian marriage service is a worship celebration, and therefore videographers should be as inconspicuous as possible to preserve the sacred nature of the gathering.
Videos may be taken from a fixed position in the back, side, or balcony of the church.
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESERVE THE FACILITIES AND SCHEDULE THE OFFICIANT
Once the date and time are decided and tentatively scheduled, please send a check(s) in the amount of 25% of the total fees to the church and/or officiant as a deposit. Note that the officiant check is made out to the pastor and the facilities check is made out to CHRIST the KING Lutheran Church. Upon receipt, the checks will reserve the pastor’s schedule and the church facility for the wedding. The deposit is non-refundable, though may be used to move a wedding date to a different day or time upon mutual agreement of the pastor and/or CtK. The mailing address of the church is: CHRIST the KING, PO Box 6449, Tahoe City, CA 9614