Marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, binding both to self-giving love and exclusive fidelity.
In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the couple exchange vows to uphold this covenant. They do this before God and in the presence of witnesses, who pray that God will bless their life together (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19; Mark 10:2-9; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39).
The marriage between man and woman signifies the communion between Christ, the heavenly bridegroom, and the Church, his holy bride. In Christian marriage, God establishes and blesses the covenant between husband and wife, and joins them to live together in a communion of love, faithfulness, child-rearing, and peace, within the fellowship of Christ and his Church. God enables all married people to grow in love, wisdom and godliness through a common life patterned on the sacrificial love of Christ.
Those who come to the church seeking God’s blessing on their relationship should do so with a clear intention of maintaining an active participation in the life of the Church.
It is normative that marriage take place in the church where the couple already worships. Therefore, at least either the bride or the groom is expected to be an active member of St. Alban’s Church (or another church affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America).
What does the Anglican Church require?
Both of the parties to the marriage must be a baptized Christian, the couple commits to meet with the parish priest over a 60 day period for pre-marital counseling, and the couple signs the ACNA Marriage Declaration.
Do I need to be a member?
Yes. Marriages solemnized in the Church continue to be nurtured within the community of the Church as a lifelong process. Those who come to the Church seeking God’s blessing on their relationship should do so with a clear intention of maintaining an active participation in the life of the Church. It is normative that marriage take place in the church where the couple already worships. Therefore, at least either the bride or the groom is expected to be an active member of St. Alban’s Church (or another church in the ACNA).
What if one/both persons are divorced?
In the case of marriage following divorce, the following additional requirements apply:
(1) the minister has appropriate evidence that any previous marriage has been annulled or dissolved (copies of all divorce decrees constitute evidence of the termination of any previous marriages);
(2) the cause of the divorce falls into one or more of the following categories and appropriate evidence is provided: adultery, abandonment, abuse, addiction (police reports and/or affidavits from witnesses constitute evidence);
(3) the divorce decree or annulment has been in effect for one full year prior to the date of the remarriage;
(4) the minister consults with the parties as to continuing concern for the former spouse and children of the prior marriage;
(5) the individual(s) who has been divorced provides a narrative describing the causes of their divorce and the reasons for seeking re-marriage; and
(6) the minister has the consent of the Diocesan Bishop (this takes at least 30 days). Because the request for the bishop's permission occurs after the pre-marital counseling period, the typical preparation time for marriage of a divorced person begins several months prior to the wedding date. The bishop expects a priest to meet with all couples for pre-marital conferences. The priest may decline to officiate the service at his discretion.
How soon can the wedding be put on the calendar?
The date is subject to the schedule of the priest and the church. The date will be chosen after Part I of your pre-marital counseling with the priest has been completed. Weddings must be scheduled at least 60 days in advance.
Are there times when weddings cannot take place?
Because of the penitential nature of the seasons of Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas) and Lent (Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday), weddings are not typically performed during these times of the year.
Who plans the service?
The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is a service of worship, and therefore is under the complete direction of the priest. The priest works with the bride and groom. All weddings at St. Alban’s are according to the Prayer Book liturgy of The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (page 201 of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer). Holy Eucharist, as the sacrament of unity between both Christ and his followers, is the normative culmination of the wedding celebration.
Who comes to the service?
Weddings are important occasions in the lives of the bride and groom and their friends and families. However, since there are no "private services" in the Church, it is understood that the local congregation is also invited and that an announcement to that effect will be published. This should not be an issue particularly if the bride and groom are already members of the church and have vital relationships within the worshiping community.
What music may be played?
Musical arrangements should be discussed with the priest and the organist/pianist. You are encouraged to use hymns for your wedding. The Hymnal 1982 is widely regarded as a masterpiece of sacred music. Quality instrumentalists can add a festive tone to the celebration of a marriage. Such instrumentalists are under the direction of the minister and the organist/pianist. Solo vocal music is unnecessary, but allowed as long as the music chosen is hymns or anthems which are appropriate to the liturgies authorized by the Church. The words are to be from Holy Scripture, from The Book of Common Prayer, or from texts congruent with them. Popular music should be saved for the reception.
What about flowers and other decorations?
Please make arrangements between the priest and a local florist. We recommend that the dominant color of arrangements be white. Only the church's altar candles and torches may be used during the marriage service. During the Easter season, the Paschal Candle is used at all services.
What about pictures?
It is requested that no flash photography take place during the service to avoid distraction/disruption. If a professional photographer's services are utilized, it is also requested that arrangements with the priest be made regarding this in order to assist with placement for optimal images and in a place that would not be disruptive to the celebration.
What about the reception?
If the reception is to be held at the church, arrangements should be made in advance to reserve the necessary facilities. It is the responsibility of the wedding party to cleaning up and returning everything to its pre-reception condition. All rented equipment, etc., must also be removed immediately after the reception. No alcoholic beverages of any kind are permitted on church property other than the Eucharist. The reception needs to end in time for the hall to be empty by 10:30 p.m.
Are there any fees?
There are no formal fees. Honorariums/Suggested Donations may be made:
I. Priest Discretionary Fund: $100 (payable to the church)
II. Music: $100 (payable to the organist/pianist)
III. Facility Maintenance: $300.00 (payable to the church)
IV. Altar Servers: $25 each (payable directly to each server)
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