Congratulations on your engagement! If you would like to discuss having your wedding at St. Mark's Church, please call the Parish Office at 203-966-4515.
“Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church.” Book of Common Prayer, p. 422. Holy Matrimony, in the church, is a life-long union between a man and a woman, who make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows. BCP, p. 861.
Some frequently asked questions about marriage at St. Mark's:
1. I am a member of St. Mark’s and I would like to be married there. How do I arrange it?
Set up an appointment with one of the clergy as far ahead of the proposed date as possible, and in no case less than three months before. [See question #5 below if either person has been divorced.] After you have made an appointment with one of the clergy, the parish secretary will tentatively reserve a wedding date for you.
2. I am not a member of St. Mark’s but would like to have my wedding there. Is that possible?
Yes. One of our priests would be happy to discuss this with you. Set up an appointment with one of the clergy to discuss your situation well in advance of your proposed wedding date. All of the following information is applicable.
3. Is counseling required?
Yes. Several sessions with a clergy person are required. These sessions will explore the couple’s readiness for marriage and their expectations regarding it, as well as present the church’s understanding of marriage as a sacrament. The actual planning of the wedding ceremony with the clergy is also part of these sessions.
4. What will the wedding ceremony itself consist of?
The Book of Common Prayer contains the service for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (p. 423). The service is available in booklet form, which will be given to the couple at their first meeting with the clergy. The couple chooses the scripture readings to be included in the service, from among the choices provided in the prayer book. The couple may ask family members or members of the wedding party to read the scripture. Also, the couple, in consultation with the clergy, chooses whether to have the marriage service stand alone, or be in the context of a service of Holy Eucharist.
5. What about music for the wedding?
St. Mark’s organist will be happy to meet with the couple to plan the music for the wedding. As this is a sacred service, music provided is traditional for an Episcopal wedding (i.e. we do not incorporate “show tunes” or popular music). The fee for the organist is $350 to be paid by check provided to the organist at the rehearsal.
6. Are there special requirements when marriage after divorce is sought?
The above-mentioned counseling sessions are required, and must be scheduled so that they can be concluded at least three months prior to the wedding date. The clergy must then make an application to the Bishop for permission to perform the wedding when there has been a prior divorce.
7. Can we hold our reception at St. Mark’s?
St. Mark’s does have facilities in which a reception could be held – the parish hall which can hold up to 200 guests as well as a cozier library which can hold up to 70 guests, with the option of opening up into the courtyard in nicer weather. The church provides only the space; the couple will need to arrange for the reception to be catered and decorated in accordance with church policies and procedures.
8. Can we have a priest of our own choosing from outside the parish perform the wedding?
One of the clergy of St. Mark’s will be the celebrant/officiant at all weddings. If there is a clergyperson who is a relative, a close family friend, or who has played a significant role in the life of the couple, please discuss this with the clergy, and if it is pastorally appropriate, the clergy of St. Mark’s will invite that clergyperson to play a specified and agreed-upon role in the ceremony.