The Christian Wedding Stout Memorial United Methodist Church welcomes and supports you as you prepare for your wedding ceremony in our facility. Marriage is a serious commitment, a meaningful worship service and a statement of your personal faith. As the Sanctuary is a place of worship, and because we believe your wedding is important, we have the same standards for weddings that we have for Sunday morning worship services. This document outlines our church’s guidelines and official policy for weddings, wedding rehearsals and wedding receptions. These guidelines are intended to help your wedding be a beautiful, Christ-centered worship experience.
Who can be married at Stout Memorial UMC? Regular participation in worship is also important as you approach your marriage. As stated previously in these guidelines, a wedding at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church is to be a Christian worship service and will be shaped by your understanding of faith and worship. Any Man and Woman wishing to be united in marriage at Stout Memorial UMC must be in faithful attendance or an active member prior to their wedding date. Exceptions are family members of an active member of Stout Memorial UMC who are participating members of another community of faith. It is the philosophy of the church that preparation for your marriage is vital to the success of your marriage. For this reason, pre-marital counseling with the officiating pastor is recommended, it is important to schedule adequate time prior to the wedding date.
Visiting pastors are welcome to participate in the wedding ceremony; however, the invitation for the visiting pastor to participate in the wedding should be made by the pastor of Stout Memorial United Methodist Church. Please discuss this in your initial appointment with the pastor.
The first steps in preparing for your wedding involve initial planning for available dates and meeting with the pastor. Members, regular attendees, or their family members may have weddings at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church. An outline of the process is as follows: Contact the church secretary to review the available dates for your wedding on the church calendar. You may either pick up a copy of the wedding guidelines and forms, or they may be mailed to you as you provide your current mailing address. After receiving and reviewing the guidelines, the couple should schedule an appointment with the senior pastor to ensure that the plans for the wedding and the church’s philosophy are compatible. The pastor will confirm the date of the wedding and give consent to it’s being tentative placement on the church calendar. After meeting with the pastor the completed application along with the deposit must be returned to the church office within three weeks. If you have any questions regarding the forms or policies, please discuss these when meeting with the pastor. Once the application and fees have been received the wedding and wedding rehearsal will then be scheduled on the church calendar. Upon final processing, a letter will be sent to the couple to confirm the scheduled event. The application is not considered complete until the confirmation letter has been sent to the bride. Public announcement that the wedding will take place at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church should not be made until this process has been completed. Scheduling Conflicts No Weddings will be scheduled on Easter Weekend, the week of WV Annual Conference, Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day. Only one wedding can be scheduled per day. We will make every effort to accommodate your desired date and time, but care will be taken to ensure that previously scheduled weddings and church programs are adequately protected. The rehearsal for the wedding party is normally scheduled the evening before the wedding. One hour is the normal time allotted for the rehearsal; therefore, we ask that the bride and groom emphasize to the participants that everyone needs to be on time. In order to adequately prepare the facility for the next day’s activities, Saturday wedding parties must vacate the premises not later than 9:00 p.m. Other days may be flexible, but this must be arranged in advance.
Music Music is a wonderful way to enhance the worship experience and celebrate God’s love in a tangible way. The music should direct attention to God, who sanctifies marriage, and special care should be taken to assure that it is appropriate. The music may begin up to 30 minutes prior to the service. As this is a service of worship, the congregation may be invited to join in the singing of hymns at appropriate times in the service. Vocal and/or instrumental solos are another way to enhance the wedding music. Please be sure to select music and musicians that will enhance the worship experience of your wedding. Our church accompanist has first refusal on providing music for all ceremonies at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church. Please contact the church to check on her availability. If she is unavailable another accompanist can be selected in cooperation with the senior pastor.
Decorations and Sanctuary Furnishings The Stout Memorial UMC sanctuary requires very little decoration. Wedding decorations should not detract from the symbols of the church. The placement of all the sanctuary’s furnishings is set by the church and they may not be moved. Included are the cross, Bible, pulpit, altar, paraments, seasonal banners, pulpit chairs, pascal candle, crucifer’s cross, and hymnals. Also included are the pew Bibles and hymnals. Weddings scheduled during Advent/Christmas (Thanksgiving through January 6) or Easter (March, April, and/or May) seasons may have seasonally appropriate decorations that may NOT be moved. Flowers may be place on each side of the chancel rail - No artificial flowers may be placed on the altar. No flowers shall be place on the piano or organ. No aisle cloths or runners may be used. Only silk flower petals may be thrown. Only bubbles may be used when exiting the church. The bubbles should be used at a distance from the doors so that none will come inside the building. Rice, birdseed, silly string and confetti are safety hazards and should not be used when the couple leaves the church or at any time before, during or after the service. Nails, tacks, staples, clamps, pins or anything which can mar the woodwork or walls may not be used. Pew bows may be attached with ribbon only. Candles may be used outside the chancel area only with special permission by the Chairperson of the Altar Guild. The church is pleased to provide the altar candles and candles for the candelabra. No other candles are permitted. Wax candles are not permitted with the exception of the unity candle and it must be placed under the direction of the pastor. Any candles used as a part of any decoration must be dripless. A dripless candle is one that is encased in steel or an oil burning candle. No wax candles are to be used. Special care should be used when decorating with candles to ensure the decorations are not too close to the flame of the candles. The florist must coordinate the time for delivery of the flowers and decorations with the wedding coordinator. Please provide protective material beneath floral containers. Care should be given to protect the furnishings of the church. The person or persons decorating are responsible for cleaning once the decorating is completed. The decorations should be promptly removed immediately following the final photographs and departure of guests. The wedding party will be held responsible for any damage done to the building and/or furniture and is responsible for cleaning the floor and furniture should an accident occur.
Photographer The photographer is an important person in weddings and we welcome them to our church for their work. In keeping with the sanctity of the service, the Worship Committee has established the following policies: The photographer may take photographs in the church or on the grounds preceding and following the ceremony, however, the time of the photographs must be coordinated with the pastor. They normally begin no earlier than 2 hours prior to the wedding and 1 hour following the wedding. When the pastor begins speaking, all photographs must cease. Photographs may be taken from the narthex during the recessional. Pictures with flash, flood lights or camera lights may not be used in the sanctuary during the ceremony. Videotaping or filming of the wedding with the available light of the sanctuary is allowed. The camera must be kept stationary on a tripod with the location to be determined an hour prior to the ceremony. It is the responsibility of the couple to inform the photographer/videographer of these policies prior to the wedding. The Wedding Coordinator will review the policies with the photographer/videographer upon his or her arrival at the church.
Wedding Bulletins If a printed bulletin is to be part of the wedding, the preparation and printing is the responsibility of the bride and groom. The order of worship will be determined while meeting with the pastor. Please have the wedding bulletin reviewed by the officiating pastor prior to printing.
Reception/Rehearsal Dinner The reception or rehearsal dinner may be held in either the Fellowship Hall or the Family Life Center of the church. If you should desire to have your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner at the church, please initially reserve the date with the church secretary. Details will be discussed at the time of your planning meeting with the senior pastor. Additional custodial fees are required for these activities and are outlined in the Finance section of the guidelines. Equipment on the stage of the Family Life center may not be removed.
The caterer is responsible for providing all items required for the reception. It is expected that the caterer will professionally care for the church facilities and that all equipment will be removed immediately after the catered event. The kitchen and all areas used for the food must be cleaned up by the caterer immediately following the reception. Food and beverages cannot be taken into the sanctuary. Alcoholic beverages and smoking are not permitted in the building.
Dressing Areas Dressing areas are available for all members of the wedding party. The pastor will show these areas at the time of the initial meeting. Dresses and tuxedos should not be delivered to the church prior to the arrival of the wedding party. Food and drink (non-alcoholic) are welcome to be brought in for the wedding party. Food and drink is restricted to the dressing areas. Please designate someone to be responsible for cleanup of the dressing areas prior to leaving the building.
Wedding Gifts If guests bring gifts to the wedding, arrangements should be made to take the gifts with you when you leave.
Nursery Services If a nursery is required, a Stout Memorial United Methodist Church nursery worker must be in attendance and paid at our normal rate. This must be arranged a minimum of 3 weeks prior to the wedding with the church office which will inform the pastor and nursery workers. Our childcare policy states that there must be a minimum of two workers to care for children, so please coordinate whether you will provide a volunteer or if other paid personnel must assist.
Finances Related to Your Wedding A security deposit is due upon completion of initial Pastor meeting and acceptance of wedding guidelines. The wedding party is responsible for insuring that the areas of the church are left in good condition. This will be promptly refunded if there are no damages and all guidelines have been followed. The remaining fees are due to the church office 3 weeks prior to the wedding. If the fees are not received 3 weeks prior to the wedding the wedding will be cancelled unless other arrangements have been made for the fees to be paid. Security Deposit: $300.00 Church Facilities: (non-members only) $500 for use of the sanctuary and dressing rooms $600 for use of the sanctuary, dressing rooms, and additional classrooms. $800 for use of the sanctuary, dressings rooms, fellowship hall or family life center. Minister’s Honorarium (which includes planning/counseling sessions, rehearsal, and wedding) $200.00 Organist: $150 Sound System Coordinator: $100 Building Representative: $100 Janitor: $150 Nursery Workers Normal rate: $12.00 per hour
The church office will contact the organist, sound system coordinator, wedding coordinator, and nursery supervisor to apprise them of the date of the wedding. In your confirmation letter you will be given names and phone numbers of each person so that you can contact them regarding the specifics needed. Examples: It will be your responsibility to contact the organist regarding requested music, rehearsal times for special music, etc. It will be your responsibility to contact the nursery supervisor regarding the number of children that will be in the nursery and how many workers vs. volunteers will be required. It will be your responsibility to contact the sound system coordinator regarding special equipment needed, recorded music that might be used, etc. It will be your responsibility to contact the wedding coordinator regarding the times you need in the church for decorators, caterers, florists etc.