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Planning Your Church Wedding

Contents

Guiding Principles For A Christian Wedding Service
Your Wedding Service
The First Step In Planning A Wedding Service
Eligibility For Marriage
Potential Hindrances To A Wedding Service
Membership Requirements For A Wedding Service
Your Wedding Party And Ushers
Premarital Counseling
Wedding Bulletin
Wedding Music
   1. Principles Governing The Use Of Music In A Christian Wedding Service
   2. Suggested Music For A Christian Wedding Service

A. Guiding Principles For A Christian Wedding Service

A wedding is a divine, worship service. The principles governing a worship service would also apply to a wedding service.

You would want the words of songs sung in your wedding service you to be reverent and sacred. The words may be a prayer for you and your marriage, verses from Scripture, a Christian hymn, or a song about your relationship to Jesus and his love for you and your dedication to him. In choosing these kinds of songs for your wedding service, you would be following God's Word, which says that all things done in a service should provide for the spiritual uplifting of those present (ref. 1 Corinthians 14:26). Secular or popular music you may appreciate may be planned for your wedding reception. Typically songs and music for a wedding service must be approved by the pastor. A list of suitable music for a Christian wedding is included in this planning information.

Find out from your pastor who may participate in conducting your wedding service and serve as guest pastors, an organist, musicians, soloists, or choral members.

Plan on taking pictures after your wedding service, not during it.  Photographers taking pictures during the wedding service, disrupt it. You might have your wedding service video taped from the rear of the church in a place that is not distracting and in a manner that does not divert attention from the service itself.  Discuss this with your pastor. Plan to have pictures taken after your service, providing that time does not conflict with another scheduled wedding.

Should you hire a wedding consultant to assist you in planning your wedding, inform your consultant that all plans involving the use of the church, its property, its service, and that all proposed decorations for the wedding service should be approved by the pastor in advance of the wedding date. Churches together with their pastor reserve the right to prohibit any plans which conflict with their congregation's policies, doctrine and practice, the spirit of their divine worship services, the use to which their church and property have been dedicated, or the public safety of those attending the wedding.

Discuss with your pastor whether the church permits the throwing of rice in the church or outside of it. A good idea is to substitute bird seed, which could be thrown outside of the church.

Your Wedding Service

In planning a church wedding you are wisely choosing to ask our Lord's blessings on your marriage and to have it sanctified by his Word and prayer. He alone has instituted marriage and is able to bless and preserve it. By asking Jesus to be present at your wedding you are beginning a marriage centered in Christ and his Word. Be assured he is pleased to join a couple in the fellowship of a Christian marriage. He performed his first miracle at a wedding in Cana. Jesus says, "All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will absolutely not cast out" (John 6:37); "Behold! I stand at the door and am knocking. If anyone should hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). Your pastor will be pleased to assist you in planning your Christian wedding service and preparing you through Christ's Word for this important event in your lives.

The First Step In Planning A Wedding Service

Shortly after your engagement meet with your pastor to announce your wedding plans. Before proceeding with other preparations have the pastor verify you are eligible according to God's Word to be married in his church, and that he, the organist, and the church will be available on the date you have chosen for your wedding. Most weddings are planned a year or more in advance. To avoid a scheduling conflict with other weddings, especially during the months between May and October, confirm your wedding date as soon as possible. Early planning is also essential to allow sufficient time for the pastor's premarital counseling and other classes, if any.

Eligibility For Marriage

To be eligible for marriage a couple must be truly single in the eyes of God. If neither the man or woman have been married previously, their eligibility is usually certain. If either of the couple has been married before, eligibility for remarriage should be verified. Your pastor can explain from God's Word when a couple is eligible to be remarried. To be eligible for marriage, you should also have your parents' approval of your marriage; this is especially true if you are minors.

Potential Hindrances To A Wedding Service

Your pastor assumes every couple is honest with him from the time they announce their wedding plans. He trusts that a couple will confess any immorality on their part which could hinder his conducting their wedding service. If a couple have been living together out of wedlock, or if the bride-to-be is pregnant, they should bring this to their pastor's attention immediately. No sin they have committed is unforgivable because of the cleansing power of Jesus' blood shed for all sins on the cross. The pastor is not there to judge the couple but to share with them the counsel of God and the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, they should not be afraid to discuss their past sins with their pastor when they first see him. If the pastor learns later the couple has been withholding the truth from him, he reserves the right to cancel their wedding service.

Membership Requirements For A Wedding Service

Discuss this with the pastor.  You may learn that either the bride or groom must be a member in good standing of his congregation or a congregation in fellowship with his church. "In good standing" means one who worships regularly in the church and supports the work of the Lord with his time, talents, and treasure.  If the bride or groom is not a member of the congregation or a sister congregation, the pastor may require the non-member to enroll in adult information classes upon making the initial arrangements for the wedding service. Usually the member will be expected to attend those classes with his or her fiance(e). Usually the non-member is not required to become a member upon completing the classes. The purpose of the classes is to share the gospel and the religious beliefs of the member with the non-member. The religious understanding gained from the classes will benefit the couple after they are married.

Your Wedding Party And Ushers

The couple's attendants in their wedding party and their ushers do not have to be members of the congregation or of a sister congregation. All members of the wedding party and the ushers are usually asked to be present for the wedding rehearsal. A wedding is an occasion to celebrate. Jesus himself did at the wedding of Cana, at which time he performed his first miracle by supplying an abundance of the best wine for the reception. He does not command abstinence from alcoholic beverages but he does forbid drunkenness. Drunkenness is sin. For this reason you would do well to urge your attendants and ushers to keep their celebrating within proper limits. Do not expect the pastor to tolerate drunkenness in God's house and in a worship service. Anticipate that he will exclude from your service any member of your wedding party who should be intoxicated.

Premarital Counseling

Discuss this with your pastor.  He may require all couples whom he marries to attend premarital counseling before the wedding. He may refuse to marry a couple whom he has not counseled. If he requires premarital counseling, you can expect that both of you must attend, even if one of you is not a member of his church. Premarital counseling is for the purpose of making the arrangements for your wedding service and for sharing biblical information indispensable for building a mutually pleasing Christian marriage to the honor of Christ's name. During the counseling you will be given practical information to aid you in establishing and preserving your marriage for life. You can anticipate that the non-member will be required to accept and abide by basic Christian principles for marriage, such as eligibility, mutual consent, a lifetime commitment, the self-sacrificial love of the husband and the willing obedience of the wife, and the furtherance of the member's spiritual growth and relationship with his or her Savior, Jesus.

Wedding Bulletin

You may desire a wedding bulletin for your service. If so, your pastor can share with you the order of service and other suggestions for laying out the contents of your bulletin. He may be able to offer suggestions for the purchase of bulletin covers and the printing of the bulletin, if you ask him to do so.

Wedding Music

Principles Governing the Use of Music in a Christian Wedding Service

As a worship service the wedding gives glory to God, who instituted marriage and blessed it. Its music, then, should serve to glorify God and spiritually edify those present. The music serves no other purpose.

Marches, waltzes, or popular love songs are not suitable for worship. A processional or recessional is not the equivalent of a march or waltz. Both are walked with a fitting reverence; neither are marched, waltzed, or promenaded. Both serve to steady the participants during their walk down or up the aisle, while beautifying the service with their reverent spirit. Hymn preludes dedicated to Jesus, the Father, or the Holy Spirit are usually preferred.

Suggested Music for a Christian Wedding Service

The following is a list of suitable music. In addition to music in this list, certain hymns and organ works based on those hymns may be considered. The works listed may not be in your organist's music file. You should have the organist verify that he or she has the music that you might select from this list. You will be expected to provide the music for your organist if he or she does not have it on file.  Northwestern Publishing House carries a full line of suitable music for a Christian wedding service.

In addition to the music listed below, all selections from "The Parish Organist" Vol.9 (ed. T. Gieschen) and "Wedding Music" Vol.l & 2 (ed. W. Buszin) are recommended.

Pre-Service Music     Title & Composer:

Abide, O Dearest Jesus, Karg-Elert, Sigfrid
Adagio from the Occasional Oratoria, Handel, G. F.
Adagio in A-Minor, Bach, J. S.
Air for the 6-String, Bach, J. S.
Air from the Water Music Suite, Handel, G. F.
Andante from Organ Concerto II, Handel, G. F.,
Aria from Concerto Grosso XII, Handel, G. F.
Arioso (Largo from Violin Concerto in G-Minor, Bach, J. S.
Bridegroom of Our Soul, Blackburn, John
Bridegroom of Our Soul, Gieschen, Thomas
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, Armsdorf, Andreas
Ich ruf' zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Bach, J. S.
If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee, Bach, J. S.
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Bach, J. S.
Jesus, Lead Thou On, Manz, Paul
Jesus, Priceless Treasure, Bach, J. S.
Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus, Buszin, Walter
Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus, Gieschen, Thomas
Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus, Hillert, Richard
Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now, Manz, Paul
Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now, Walther, J. G.
O Holy Spirit, Enter In, Karg-Elert, Sigfrid
Oh, Blest the House, Whate’er Befall, Jenne, Natalie
Oh, Blest the House, Whate’er Befall, Pachelbel, Johann
Oh Take My Hand Dear Father, Gieschen, Thomas
Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above, Bach, J. S.
Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above, Schneider, Johann
Sheep May Safely Graze, Bach, J. S.
Sinfonia to Cantata No.106 (God's Time Is The Best), Bach, J. S.
Suite Gothique (Especially Movements 1,7,2), Boellmann, Leon
Take Thou My Hands and Lead Me, Wienhorst, Richard
The King of Love My Shepherd Is, Milford, Robin
We Thank Thee, Jesus, Dearest Friend, Buxtehude, Dietrich

Processional Music     Title & Composer:

Adiagio from the Occasional Oratoria, Handel, G. F.
Adiagio in A-Minor, Bach, J. S.
Air from the Water Music Suite, Handel, G. F.
Andante from Organ Concerto II, Handel, G. F.
Aria from Concerto Grosso XII, Handel, G. F.
Canon in D-Major, Pachelbel, Johann
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Bach, J. S.
Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus, Nolte, Waldemar
Marche Nuptial, Sassmannhausen, W.
Processional in G-Major, Stanley, John
Sheep May Safely Graze, Bach, J. S.
Sinfonia to Cantata No.106 (God's Time is the Best), Bach, J. S.
Three Trumpet Tunes, Rohlig, Harald
Trumpet Tune in D-Major, Purcell, Henry
Trumpet Tune in E, Johnson, David
Trumpet Voluntary in D-Major, Purcell, Henry

Wedding Solo     Title & Composer:

Bridegroom of Our Soul, Drese, A.
Come, Lord Jesus to This Place, Busarow, D.
Entreat Me Not to Leave Me (Song of Ruth), Gounod
God of Love, Eggert, K.
Lord, Who at Cana's Wedding Feast, Busarow, D.
O Lord, at Thine Altar, Williams, D.
O Perfect Love, Burleigh, H.
O Perfect Love (from old hymnal), Barnaby, A.
Oh Blest the House Whate’er Befall (duet), Markworth, H.
The King of Love My Shepherd is (St. Columbia), Baker, H.
The Lord's Prayer, Malotte, A.
Wedding Prayer (with a revised text), Dunlap, F.
Wedding Song (with a revised text), Stukey, Paul
Whither Thou Goest (Song of Ruth), Singer, G.
Also fitting are hymns 452, 422, 375, 360, 600, 506

Recessional Music     Title & Composer:

Allegro Maestoso from Water Music Suite, Handel, G. F.
Fanfare: Awake the Trumpets Lofty Sound (from Samson), Handel, G. F.
How Lovely Shines the Morning Star (Alleluia, Let Praises Ring), Bender, Jan
How Lovely Shines the Morning Star, Pachelbel, Johann
Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus--Chorale, Nolte, Waldemar
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past, Manz, Paul
Marche Triumphant, Sassmannhausen, W.
Now Thank We All Our God, Bach, J. S. (Fox)
Now Thank We All Our God, Bach, J. S.
Now Thank We All Our God, Karg-Elert, Sigfrid
Postlude in G-Major, Handel, G. F.
Psalm XIX, Marcello, Benedetto
The Emperor's Fanfare, Soler
Three Trumpet Tunes, Rohlig, Harald
Toccata in F-Major, Buxtehude, Dietrich
Trumpet Tune in D-Major, Purcell, Henry
Trumpet Tune in E, Johnson, David
Trumpet Voluntary in D-Major, Purcell, Henry



Unpublished work. Copyright 1993 JCS of Christian Inconnect. All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced for distribution or publication without prior permission from Christian Inconnect.

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