The Marriage Service
A wedding day service will be one of the happiest and holiest moments of a couple’s life. In it, couples will promise life-long commitment and fidelity to one another, to God, and to His church. As they make this promise, they will receive the promise of God’s continual presence and His abundant blessings, and the prayers and support of the pastor and the congregation of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (BSLC). All plans for the marriage should be approached from this point of view.
On the basis of Scripture, marriage is an exclusive union between one male and one female till death parts them. And it is in that union that the male is charged to love and cherish and care for his wife as Christ loves and cherishes His church, even unto death; and the female is called to love and obey her husband as God’s people are called to love and obey our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is also with this understanding that BSLC firmly believes that same-sex marriages are not in accordance with the confessional standards of the congregation and thus are not permitted under any circumstance without exception.
It is the policy of BSLC that its Pastor serves as the officiating minister for all weddings conducted in the congregation's facility. If a couple desires another non-LCMS clergy to assist in their wedding service, they must discuss this with the Pastor of BSLC prior to asking the other clergy. Other LCMS clergy may be an option after initially discussing it with the Pastor of BSLC.
Five Pre-Marital Counseling Sessions (PMCS) are required. The fifth session will finalize the wedding ceremony. A wedding application form and a relationship questionnaire from ZoeScore.com must also be completed before the first PMCS. Note that the pastor will not officially agree to conduct the wedding service until after the fourth pre-marital counseling session is completed. The pastor has sole discretion to make exceptions to this pre-marital counseling policy.
Membership at BSLC is strongly encouraged for both the groom and the bride. Opportunities to learn more about the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod will be presented in the PMCS if this is not already the case. All couples are expected to attend worship regularly in the time leading up to their wedding and thereafter.
The Lord’s Supper is a possible option at a couple’s wedding service under the right circumstances. However, the church communion policy will be strictly adhered to.
Both of the persons getting married are to be baptized into the Christian faith and be able to acknowledge their faith in Jesus Christ.
There is always to be lessons from the Scriptures read. A first lesson, a Psalm, a second lesson, and/or a Holy Gospel reading maybe selected from the list provided. There are other Scripture readings that a couple may choose from, but readings that are not from Scripture are not permitted.
Traditional vows will always be used. However, personal vows may also be made by the couple during the service when those vows are approved by the Pastor during or before the fifth PMCS.
The BSLC Office will make arrangements for a Sexton to be present at the church for all church weddings.
BSLC does not provide musicians for a wedding service. Couples are welcome to provide their own musicians with the pastor’s approval. Guest musicians are to be informed as to what music may or may not be appropriate for the wedding service. Couples should make arrangements with the musicians as soon as the tentative date has been cleared with the Pastor.
Since the wedding is a worship service, care should be taken to ensure that all music keeps with the tone of a Christian worship service. Music that reflects the Lutheran tradition, classical, and contemporary is welcomed. Couples may want to consider the use of hymns in the service. Vocal or instrumental musical selections are also welcome. A list of pre-approved music is provided on a separate sheet. If the couple would like to use music that is not pre-approved, it must be cleared by the pastor during or before the fifth PMCS.
The wedding couple can select their own soloist, should they desire one. Solo selections must be from the pre-approved list or approved by the Pastor during or before the fifth PMCS.
Wedding Candle or Wedding Sand
A couple may wish to use the lighting of a wedding candle or the pouring of sand as a symbol of their union in marriage. If so, it is the responsibility of the couple to furnish the appropriate items needed to do this. The BSLC Altar Guild can provide a candle stand.
All decorations must be tasteful and limited to reasonability. The church itself will be decorated in the liturgical color of the season. Depending on the liturgical season, there may be options for the liturgical colors in the sanctuary.
If the couple wishes to use an aisle runner, they must supply their own.
A wedding ceremony is a worship service. Please advise guests that they are not to take flash pictures during the ceremony. A professional photographer may use a non-flash camera during the wedding service but is to remain out of the Chancel area and not obstruct the view of guests in attendance. The frame of the worship service is defined as beginning with the Invocation and ending after the Benediction. Videotape recordings may be made using the available light in the sanctuary from a stationary position. An unmanned video camera may be placed discreetly in the chancel area. The Pastor will remain robed after the service if pictures are desired to be taken with him or to re-enact any part of the wedding service for a photo.
Provocative clothing and casual wear is not appropriate for a worship service, it is therefore also not appropriate for a wedding service. Modesty and reverence must always be applied when choosing wedding attire.
The church office will produce the service bulletins unless other arrangements are made. Couples are welcome and encouraged to do their own, but they must be approved by the pastor on or before the fifth PMCS.
Weddings will not be scheduled during Holy Week (Palm Sunday to Easter) and are discouraged during the entire season of Lent. Weddings are to be scheduled as soon as possible through the pastor.
Rehearsal times are generally in the evening of the day before the wedding, exceptions can be made by the pastor for special circumstances. All members of the wedding party are expected to be ON-TIME for the rehearsal; close family members are also encouraged to attend (i.e. parents, grandparents). The director of the rehearsal is the Pastor.
Generally, the Best Man and the Maid/Matron of Honor are to be at least 18 years of age. For exceptions, speak with the Pastor. It is recommended that children in the wedding service be at least four years of age. A minimum of one usher is needed who is at least 14 years of age. The usher must attend the wedding rehearsal.
Alcoholic Beverages & Smoking
No alcoholic beverages may be possessed or consumed on church property outside of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Any member of the wedding party that is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to participate in the wedding service (this includes the bride and groom). There is no smoking allowed in the church building.
The couple must bring their marriage license to the rehearsal. No marriages will be conducted without an Illinois State marriage license in the Pastor’s possession before the wedding service. Information on obtaining a marriage license may be obtained at the local county court house.
Receptions at the church must be pre-approved by the Pastor and/or the Board of Trustees. The maximum occupancy of the fellowship area is 150 people. All arrangements for the reception are the responsibility of the couple and must be in compliance with applicable state laws and codes of the Village of Antioch.
Rice and other flying objects
There is to be no throwing of anything (i.e. rice, sugar rice, e.t.c.) inside or outside the church. Bubbles may be used outside of the sanctuary and flower pedals may be thrown outside the building.
It is customary to provide stipends (monetary gifts) for those who are providing professional services to make your church wedding possible. Musicians - $75 to $150; Soloists - $35 to $75; Sexton - $35. A stipend for the pastor is also appropriate. Keep in mind that the pastor generally dedicates 15 to 20 hours of time to a church wedding; stipends for the pastor can range between $150 and up.
Final Word Be advised that all aspects of the wedding service are ultimately under the approval of the Pastor. Issues not specifically expressed in this policy are left to the discretion of the Pastor and/or the Board of Elders and/or the Church Council.