The Service of Marriage
We at St. Francis Lutheran Church rejoice in the happiness you have found in one another, and commend you for seeking the counsel and guidance of the church as you make preparations for a Christian wedding. A Christian wedding is a worship service. The service of Marriage from Evangelical Lutheran Worship is the framework for the order of worship for weddings at St. Francis Lutheran Church, which is designed to provide flexibility. Modifications should be discussed with the pastor.
When you are married or joined in holy union, you will be asking for God’s blessing and encouragement in your new life together. You should consider the witness you will be offering to your family and friends on that day, with careful thought and consideration given to every aspect of your wedding. You will do this planning together with the pastor. You and your guests will be coming together that day to offer thanks and praise to God for the love you share. The service in which you will be wed will be a Christ-centered act of worship, invoking the love of God that will support and sustain you in your life together.
Your wedding also will be characterized by the warmth and intimacy that are naturally a part of such happy occasions in our lives. This booklet is intended to give you the information necessary to help ensure that your wedding is characterized by dignity, reverence, and great joy.
Before Your Wedding
We encourage you to make an appointment to meet with the pastor of the congregation several months in advance of your planned wedding date to ensure your choice of dates and allow for necessary preparation. The appointment may be arranged by contacting the St. Francis office at 415.621.2635, or by email at email@example.com. The actual date and time of your wedding usually will be determined at the first meeting with the pastor, as the pastor’s schedule and the availability of the church facilities will allow.
It is the policy of St. Francis Lutheran Church that the pastor called in ministry to this congregation will officiate at all weddings. If you wish to have another clergyperson officiate at your wedding, you should make your request to the pastor.
Every couple married or joined in holy union at St. Francis Lutheran Church, or by its pastor in another setting, will meet with the pastor for a minimum of four counseling sessions. This will give you and the pastor an opportunity to get to know one another, and will enable you to discuss issues that will play a central role in your holy union or marriage—common values, hopes and dreams, children, religious background and spiritual convictions. It will also enable you to talk about marriage/holy union in general, and your wedding in particular.
Music and Musicians
Usually, music is played as guests are seated; the gathering and sending music are played for the bridal party. Music should be in keeping with the nature and character of Christian weddings. Both vocal and instrumental music must be approved in advance by the pastor. The pastor or music director will be happy to suggest appropriate music. Normally a hymn is sung following the sermon, and it is very appropriate to include additional congregational hymn-singing in your wedding, should you so desire.
The St. Francis music director plays the organ at St. Francis unless he is unable to be present, in which case special arrangements will be made. Anyone playing the organ or the piano must abide by the following:
You may choose to hire other musicians in consultation with the music director (for example, strings or vocal soloists).
The services of the St. Francis Lutheran Church sexton will be required at all wedding receptions.
The parish administrator will assist you in the preparation of worship booklets for your wedding. You must submit all information to be included in the worship booklets (such as music, composers, participants) two weeks prior to your wedding date, either on a disk or by email.
St. Francis will provide altar and lectern candles. You may provide additional candles, (such as a unity candle set).
Flowers and Decorations
You are responsible for the selection of a florist and the purchase of flowers. Please advise your florist that flowers should arrive no earlier than two hours before the wedding. No arrangement may be placed on the altar itself, nor may any item of worship furnishing be moved without the express consent of the pastor.
Our nave seats approximately 130 people. The seating of guests is the responsibility of the ushers, whom you provide. Seating by “the bride’s side” or “the groom’s side” (or any other division by family or friends) is discouraged.
Photographers & Videographers
Photographs and videos are important to families as years pass and memories are recalled. Photos may be taken before and after the service outside and in the building. No flash photography will be allowed once the service has begun. Flash photography is permitted from the center aisle during the gathering and sending music. The photographer or videographer may not move about in the church building during the service. Non-flash photos may be taken during the service from the back of the nave only. Any portion of the service may be “staged” for the photographer, either before or after the ceremony, and will receive the full cooperation of the pastor. Videography must take place with available light from a stationary location out of sight of the majority of the congregation.
Rice, Bird Seed and Confetti
We must ask that you not scatter rice, confetti, birdseed, tissue flowers or other objects either inside or outside the church building. Please advise your family, wedding party and guests of this requirement. Should the throwing of any of these items occur, an additional fee for cleanup will be charged.
The rehearsal takes between 45 and 75 minutes, depending on the size of your wedding party and any complications that may arise. Please be prompt. The date and time of your rehearsal will be determined with the pastor, who will conduct the rehearsal.
Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building or on the grounds of St. Francis Lutheran Church.
Use of Alcohol
Use of Alcohol or Other Mood-Altering Drugs Before Your Rehearsal or Wedding
In keeping with the character of your wedding as an act of worship, no member of the wedding party who is deemed by the pastor to be under the influence of alcohol and/or any substance which may affect behavior at the time of the rehearsal or the wedding will be allowed to participate in the rehearsal or wedding service. You are advised to inform your wedding party of these policies before the time of the rehearsal and the wedding.
Use of Alcohol at the reception held in the St. Francis Parish Hall
All alcohol use at receptions must be approved by St. Francis Lutheran Church in advance. Contact the parish administrator for further information.
Private events where alcohol is peripheral to the event do not require use permits or insurance certificates. However, all alcohol must be served along with food and water.
St. Francis Lutheran Church reserves the right to deny use of alcohol at an event.
Outline of the Service
Please discuss with the pastor those ways in which you wish to personalize your wedding.
Below is a selection of different vows for you to consider for your wedding service. Please consult with the pastor as you select your vows.
I take you, name,
to be my spouse/wife/husband from this day forward,
to join with you and share all that is to come,
and I promise to be faithful to you
until death parts us.
Name, I give myself to you to be your spouse/wife/husband,
and I promise to love and sustain you
in the covenant of [marriage/holy union],
from this day forward,
in sickness and in health,
in plenty and in want,
in joy and in sorrow,
as long as we both shall live.
In the presence of God and this community,
I, name, take you, name, to be my spouse/wife/husband;
to have and to hold from this day forward,
in joy and in sorrow,
in plenty and in want,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow.
Name, I take you as my spouse/wife/husband.
I pledge to share my life openly with you,
to speak the truth to you in love.
I promise to honor and tenderly care for you,
to cherish you and encourage your fulfillment as an individual through the changes of our lives.
To this I pledge you my solemn vow before God.
Name, I promise before God that I will be with you,
no matter what happens to us and between us.
When we argue and are angry,
I will work to bring us together.
When we seem at odds,
and neither of us feels our needs are fulfilled,
I will persistently try to understand and restore our relationship.
When our [holy union/marriage] seems sterile and motionless,
I will believe it can work,
I will want it to work,
and I will do my part to make it work.
And when all is wonderful, and we are happy,
I will rejoice over our life together,
and continue to keep our relationship growing and strong,
so long as we both shall live.
Bibles Readings Often Selected for Weddings
The liturgy includes a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, followed by a Psalm, a reading from one of the Epistles, and a reading from one of the Gospels. The sermon will be based on the readings you select. You may find the following suggestions helpful, but are welcome to select other readings.
The Hebrew Scriptures (except Psalms)
Genesis 1:26-28, 31
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Holy Unions for Retirees
For those retirees who cannot afford to be married under the law because they would lose retirement benefits, St. Francis continues to offer the option of a “holy union.” A holy union is a wedding without a marriage license. A holy union does not include recognition by any government or governmental agency.
Marriage License (if applicable)
St. Francis’ administrator will obtain from you all information necessary for the completion of church records. Your marriage license and certificate must be brought to the church office at least five business days before your marriage in order to allow sufficient time for the proper completion of your documents.
Having Your Holy Union Recognized as a Marriage Under the Law
Until the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Prop. 8, holy unions were the only option for same-sex couples. If you and your partner have already been joined in holy union, come to St. Francis together by 10:30 on any Sunday morning to have your holy union recognized as a legal marriage during our regular 11:00 worship service. You will need to bring your marriage license. When you arrive, you will share with the pastor the date and location of your union, and the name of the person who officiated.
Special note: when completing the PDF application, save it under a different file name on your computer.
For more information contact the church office at 415-621-2635. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org