Why Be Married In The Church?
A wedding is a religious ceremony. Traditionally in the Christian faith the service of marriage has called attention to the fact that it is a sacred occasion when a couple covenants to spend the remainder of their lives together, and when they vow publicly to love and cherish each other as long as both shall live. It is therefore fitting that marriage be solemnized in the setting of a church and by an authorized representative of the Christian faith.
As soon as you determine that you wish to be married in First Parish Congregational Church, you should ascertain what dates the church is available and see what facilities are available for the ceremony itself and for a reception, if applicable. You will then be required to complete the Wedding Information Form, and return the form with your $100 non-refundable deposit to the church office. Your wedding date will then be reserved on the official church calendar.
A Minister For Your Wedding
When your Marriage Information Form is received with the deposit, the request will be shared with the pastoral staff, who will consider their personal availability to determine the officiating minister. The available minister will then contact you to schedule future meetings. (Special arrangements may be made when a visiting minister is desired.)
Conferences for Your Wedding
The minister who officiates at your wedding will visit with both of you at least three times between the initial appointment mentioned above and the rehearsal. Because the service of marriage is an intimate and sacred one, it is important that you and the minister become well acquainted and that you have ample opportunity to think through and discuss some of the deeper meanings of this most significant step in your life.
First Parish's Wedding Fees
Note that members of First Parish Church need to speak with the Senior Minister about using the facilities for a wedding.
A non-refundable deposit of $100.00 is due with the submission of the Wedding Information Form (to download a PDF, use button).
Sanctuary and Parlor Rental Fee
Minister's Service Fee
Soloist, Instrumentalist, or Organist Fee
Recording / Streaming of Wedding
The Wedding Service
Because it is hoped that your wedding will be as meaningful as possible, your personal input and suggestions for the ceremony are invited. As long as the religious content of the service is preserved, other requests will be carried out as the couple desire. The officiating minister will share with you samples of services that would be appropriate.
Music For Your Wedding
It is preferred that the church’s organist play for all weddings. You should arrange for a conference with the organist at least four weeks before the event to discuss the music to be used in the ceremony. Our organist can be contacted through the church office at 207-283-3771 x22.
Because the wedding service is a worship service of the church, the music chosen for the service should be reflective of a worship setting. Vocal selections, in particular, should reflect the spiritual view of love and marriage and express the blessing of God on the spiritual union. Secular music that stresses solely the emotional aspect of love, apart from God, is more suitable and effective at the wedding reception.
Vocalists, Instrumentalists, and/or Organist
Should you desire a vocalist or instrumentalist at your wedding, our Organist can secure these for you. A wide range of instrumentalists and male and female vocalists are readily available.
If you have a personal choice of vocalists or instrumentalists in mind, please make certain that he or she understands the church’s policy on wedding music as previously noted and that music for the service is to be approved by the Organist. The vocalist or instrumentalist should provide our organist with the music they plan to present at least two weeks before the wedding.
The organist’s responsibilities include the music conference with the bride and groom, the preparation of the service music, a run-through with the soloist(s), if applicable, and the wedding service. There will be an additional $50.00 fee for every soloist or instrumentalist over two (this is at the Organist’s discretion).
Unless yours is to be a small wedding attended only by your immediate family, a rehearsal should be scheduled for a day preceding the actual ceremony. All members of the wedding party should be present, as should the parents of the couple. The rehearsal will last approximately forty-five minutes. Because more than one rehearsal sometimes is scheduled for an afternoon or evening, the rehearsal must begin at the prescribed time.
The church is completely handicapped accessible. Prior notification of the expected attendance of a handicapped individual is helpful.
The Wedding Reception
The Fellowship Room of the church offers an ideal site for a wedding reception. The room will accommodate up to 200 guests. Kitchen facilities are readily accessible, too. Your caterer needs to coordinate this through our Administration Committee.
No alcoholic beverages at First Parish Church:
For insurance liability reasons, as well as the sacredness of your wedding, no alcoholic beverages should be consumed on church property at anytime.
No rice at First Parish Church:
For environmental reasons rice or confetti is not to be thrown following a wedding. Birdseed or bubbles are now commonly used, but they must not be brought into the building. They must be handed to guests only after they have left the building.
As soon as you have set the date for your wedding, you will wish to contact a florist to discuss floral arrangements for the sanctuary. There are several excellent florists in the area familiar with our facilities, and who will work closely with you.
If your wedding is on a Saturday, and you wish to leave the altar flowers for use in our Sunday worship, please indicate this on the Marriage Information Form. The fact that the flowers are from your wedding will be noted in Sunday’s worship bulletin.
Photographers and Videographers
Because the wedding ceremony is a sacred one, it should not be interrupted. Participants, guests, a photographer or videographer taking flash photographs or moving about and invading the wedding space needs to be avoided. Therefore, please inform your wedding party, guests, photographer and videographer that only available light photos are permitted during the service. These non-flash photos are to be taken from the rear of the sanctuary or balcony. He or she may take photographs of the wedding party preparing to enter the sanctuary after the service. However, the time is not to exceed one hour past the wedding ceremony. The ushers will be instructed to ask wedding guests with cameras not to take flash photographs during the service. Videographers may operate their cameras only from the rear of the sanctuary or balcony.
First Parish Media Services
The First Parish MediaTeam can also video your wedding using our 4 remote- controled cameras. Our Cameras can obtain camera angles unavailable to videographers. Usually we can give you your DVD before you leave the church. All this at a price lower than you would expect. Internet Streaming is also available.
The Marriage License
Because marriage is a civil matter as well as a spiritual one, a marriage license from the State of Maine must be secured and presented to the officiating minister before a ceremony can be performed. It is suggested that you bring the license to the officiating minister as soon as you have obtained it so you need not worry about it in the busy hours immediately preceding your wedding day. In Maine, the minister completes the license and is responsible for returning it to the State. You, however, will receive from the church a special certificate of marriage. No wedding ceremony can be performed without presenting a valid marriage license.
The residence of the bride and the groom determines where the intentions of marriage may be filed:
a) If both the bride and the groom reside in the State of Maine, in the same town, then the license must be obtained from their municipal office. They are free to marry anywhere within the State of Maine.
b) If both the bride and groom reside in the State of Maine, but in separate towns, they may file their intentions at EITHER resident town (they do not have to file in both) and they are free to marry anywhere within the State of Maine.
c) If either the bride or the groom resides in the State of Maine, then they must obtain their license at the municipal office where the resident lives. They are free to marry anywhere within the State of Maine.
d) If both the bride and groom reside outside of the State of Maine, they may file their intentions at any municipal office. They are free to marry anywhere within the State of Maine.