Guidelines and Policies

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Table of Contents

  Planning 

  Divorce and Remarriage 

  The Gift 

  Decorations

  Music 

  Pictures and Video 

  The Team 

  Counseling 

  Miscellaneous 

  Costs

Greetings!

        We're very pleased that you would like to have your Christian Marriage Worship Service at Crossroads Presbyterian Church.  Many churches have different traditions, customs and guidelines concerning weddings.  Some have developed over the years out of the culture and are very flexible. Others are an expression of the church's theological understanding of God and the marriage relationship.  They should not be flexible.  Our church is no exception.  We have some traditions that could be changed and adapted to each wedding.  Some are symbolic of our core understand of God.  The information contained on these webpages will help the couple understand our traditions and customs so that their wedding will be a wonderful expression of their love for one another and faith in God.  We hope you will find the information helpful in forming your wedding plans. 

        Your decision to enter into this new relationship together will be an all encompassing one. It will take time and a great deal of energy. Please read through these pages carefully. 

        Our prayers are with both of you as together, you begin to make plans for your marriage ceremony.  We wish God's blessing upon you.
 

Steps to Planning

Early planning is a must.  The further ahead you plan, the fewer disappointments you will encounter. The Pastor prefers at least six months in advance but will make exceptions under extenduating circumstances.

1.      Please read the entire Planning Your Wedding website.

2.    Call the Church Office (248-624-3821) to set an initial appointment with Pastor John and the Wedding Coordinator.

3.    Fill out the “Wedding Information Form” and mail it to the church with a check for the deposit.  Your reservation is not guaranteed until the deposit is received.

4.    Session approval of request.

5.    Meet with Pastor John for a preliminary discussion of the pre-marriage counseling, the wedding service in the Presbyterian tradition and the next steps.

6.    Meet with Wedding Coordinator to review the policies and guidelines of the Crossroads Presbyterian Church, the planning process of a wedding, the schedule for the rehershal and the logistical arrangements for wedding.

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The Presbyterian Tradition 

        Christian marriage services held in the Crossroads Presbyterian Church will normally be conducted according to the Presbyterian tradition. While membership in a Presbyterian church is not required, at least one person shall have received the sacrament of Christian baptism.

Divorce and Remarriage

        Since the 1600’s, Presbyterians have understood that while a marriage is a solemn covenant that is intended to last a lifetime, a relationship may breakdown and for the emotional and spiritual well being of the couple, a divorce is inevitable.  While the remarriage of either spouse is permitted, they should be cautious about not entering a new relationship until they have sought counsel and waited for the wounds to heal. Therefore, Pastor John recommends that a couple wait at least one year before seeking pre-marriage counseling after the divorce of one or both parties.  The same would apply following the death of a spouse.
 

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The Gift of Marriage 

        Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage, a lifelong commitment is made by a woman and a man to each other, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith.

 In preparation for the marriage service, the minister shall provide for a discussion with the man and the woman concerning

1.      the nature of their Christian commitment, assuring that at least one is a professing Christian,

2.    the legal requirements of the state,

3.    the privileges and responsibilities of Christian marriage,

4.    the nature and form of the marriage service,

5.    the vows and commitments they will be asked to make,

6.    the relationship of these commitments to their lives of discipleship,

7.    the resources of the faith and the Christian community to assist them in fulfilling their marriage commitments.

        This discussion is equally important in the case of a first marriage, a marriage after the death of a spouse, and a marriage following divorce.

        If the minister is convinced after discussion with the couple that commitment, responsibility, maturity, or Christian understanding are so lacking that the marriage is unwise, the minister shall assure the couple of the church’s continuing concern for them and not conduct the ceremony. In making this decision the minister may seek the counsel of the session.

        Christian marriage should be celebrated in the place where the community gathers for worship. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the minister and the supervision of the session.  The marriage ordinarily takes place in a special service which focuses upon marriage as a gift of God and as an expression of the Christian life. Others may be invited to participate as leaders in the service at the discretion of the pastor. Celebration of the Lord’s Supper at the marriage service requires the approval of the session, and care shall be taken that the invitation to the Table is extended to all baptized present. The marriage service may take place during the Service for the Lord’s Day upon authorization by the session. It should be placed in the order as a response to the proclamation of the Word. It may then be followed by the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
 

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Flowers, Decorations, Candles, etc 

        Flowers, decorations and other appointments for the Church Santuary should be appropriate to a place of worship, enhance the worshipper’s consciousness of the reality of God, and reflect the integrity and simplicity of the Christian life.

        The use of flowers and floral decorations in the Sanctuary should be tasteful and discreet.  Some couples choose to use a Wedding Candle arrangement in lieu of flower baskets.  Greens may be used in a tasteful manner. 

        Pew Bows, Greens, or Flowers may be used, but only insofar as they are capable of being attached to the pews with the use of non-marring tapes or brarckets.  Tacks, nails, etc. are prohbitted.  Often, white bows are used to reserve pews for family members and special guests, but they must also be affixed without harming the pews.

        The wedding corrdinator shall discuss with the couple their plans for decorations.

        Elaborate floral displays shall not be permitted on the communion table.

        Some couples like to use a white runner.  A 50 foot length is sufficient for our Sanctuary.  The bride and groom may also, decide to use a kneeling bench but, it is the responsibility of the wedding party to arrange for these from an outside source.

        We provide the stand for the Unity candle and acommanying candles. The couple may choose to provide their own candle with prior approval from Pastor John. 


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Music 

        The marriage service is directed by the Pastor and the supervision of the Session.  Embarrassing situations are easily avoided by discussing all plans for music, as well as potential guest musicians to be used within the marriage service, with Pastor John during your planning sessions.

        We affirm that music that directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the Church is most suited for the wedding ceremony.  Songs that express the a couples commitment, feelings and dreams for one another may also be used with the permission of the pastor. At times, it is desirable for the congregation gathered for the wedding service to join in hymns and other musical forms of praise and prayer.

        Pastor John strongly encourages friends or familiy members who wish to perfom a special song for the ceremony providing the music is approved in advance.
 

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Pictures and Video Taping

        The Wedding Serivce is a service for the worship of God.  As such, the taking of flash pictures during the Wedding Service is prohibited.  Pictures with flash may only be taken during the Processinoal and Recessional. Non-flash photography may be taken during the service from the back of the sanctuary.  Close-ups of events during the Wedding Service may be re-staged after the service is concluded. The couple is expected to inform the photographer before the wedding ceremony of these restrictions.

        Video taping of the wedding service is permitted, but the equipment and personnel must be as unobtrusive as possible.  The videographer will follow the same guidelines as those for still photographers.

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The Wedding Support Team 

        We hope to make your wedding ceremony at the Crossroads Presbyterian Church a wonderful experience that solidifies your love for one another.  We have found that this requires a team effort.  The Pastor cannot do it alone.  Therefore, we require services of our Wedding Coordinator, Accompanist, and Custodian.  All three are required even when another church makes arrangements to use our sanctuary.

        The Wedding Coordinator will meet with the couple to review the plans for the rehearsal, the time schedule for the day of the wedding, flowers and other necessary arrangements.  She will conduct the rehearsal to ensure that each person understands his or her part.  And on the day of the wedding, she will assist the wedding party with the necessary preparation.

        Our Accompanist is highly qualified and quite flexible.  Normally, the couple will select the songs with wedding coordinator but they may contact the Accompanist for special music.  If a relative or friend is a gifted musician, upon request, our Accompanist will graciously step down.

        The Custodian serves the couple both before and after the actual wedding ceremony.  He prepares the sanctuary for the rehearsal and wedding by setting everything in place. After the ceremony and everyone has existed, he prepares the sanctuary for Sunday morning worship service.  He does so many things behind the scenes, that they are too numerous to mention. 

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Pre-Marriage Counseling

  Pastor John is required by his ordination vows to ensure that the couple is adequately prepared to offer their vows of commitment.  He also enjoys getting to know the couple and for them to get to know him.  The counseling is a two way street.  The sessions are designed to allow the couple to reflect on their relationship, their roles, and their goals.  He will make some observations and asks some questions.  With few exceptions, couples have said that these sessions helped them to understand the other person a little better and their own role in the relationship.

1.      Introductions – This session will introduce the couple to Pastor John, the Wedding Coordinator, and the policies and procedures of the Crossroads Presbyterian Church.

2.    ALPHA Series – We cannot really love another person until we have first discovered God’s love.  Alpha is an introductory course designed to help a person understand the Christian faith.  The couple is encouraged to attend the entire Series but is required to attend at least the first session.

3.    Getting Acquainted – This session asks a lot of questions. Where did you live? What was it like at home? How did your parents show love for one another? How did you meet? How did you become interested? Why him? Why her? And a whole lot more is asked and answered.  The couple is required to watch together the movie Love Stinks.

4.    Understanding our Uniqueness – Each of us is gifted and talented.  We have our own particular uniqueness that makes us who we are.  Using the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator, we will discover how that uniqueness will enhance and distract the relationship.

5.    The Nuts and Bolts of the Relationship – We will discuss how each person understand their role and responsibilities in the relationship. The couple will be required to watch the movie, War of Roses.

6.    The Wedding Service – We will finalize the plans and the liturgy that will be used for the ceremony.  The couple will be encouraged to be creative in their planning.  They may choose to write their own vows, include poems, narrative material, video, prose or Scripture that reminds them of their love for one another, their faith and their commitment.

        The Pastor reserves the right to conduct additional counseling sessions if necessary before he will agree to marry the couple.

        Couples who are not able to attend these session together may obtain the pastoral services in their town of residence or participate in a Pre-Marriage workshop with Pastor John’s approval.

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Miscellaneous 

        The use of rice or confetti is not permitted.  Couples are encouraged to use alternative symbols such as non-staining bubbles, or to omit these expressions of joy.

        The sanctuary is not air-conditioned.

        Preparation of foods in the Church’s kitchen facilities is not permitted.

        Prepared food, eating and serving utensils may be brought or catered into Fellowship Hall with the Church’s kitchen used as a pantry.

        The Church’s Custodian will set up and take down tables and /or chairs in Fellowship Hall for Receptions.

        Exceptions to the Fees for the use of the building may be made at the discretion of the Pastor with the concurrence of the moderator of the Building/Grounds Ministry Team.

        The Security Deposit is refundable in whole or in part depending upon the condition of the facilities after the event is concluded.

        Alcoholic beverages and use of tobacco products are not permitted in any of the church facilities.

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Honorariums and Fees 

        Honorariums and fees shall be paid at least fourteen (14) days in advance of the wedding date and held by the wedding coordinator.  Please make checks for the sanctuary, fellowhisp hall, candles payable to Crossoroads Presbyterian Church and checks for honorariums for the minister, accompanist, and custodian payable to that individual. The Wedding Coordinator shall provide a list of names. 

 

FEES 

MEMBERS 

NON-MEMBERS

Sanctuary

$200

Fellowship Hall Reception

— 

$200 (plus $200 refundable security deposit )

Candlelit Ceremony

$50

$50

Unity Candle

$15

$15

 

 

 

HONORARIUMS

 

 

Accompanist

$125

$150

Custodian

$75 ($105 with reception)

$75 ($105 with reception)

Wedding Coordinator 

$75

$75

Pastor

As appropriate

$200

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Crossroads Presbyterian Church
1445 Welch Rd
Walled Lake MI 48390

Send us a note mailto: office@crossroadspc.org