Wedding Policy

Wedding Policy


I. Requirements of the Constitution of the Church
II. Role of the Minister
III. Counseling
IV. Arrangements
V. Facilities
VI. Rehearsal
VII. Music
VIII. Photography
IX. Decorations
X. Other Regulations
XI. Fees
XII. Policy Communication


A recent wedding held at ITPCCongratulations on your plans to be married! Marriage is a blessed and sacred union, and we are delighted to be a part of your plans. It is our desire to make your preparations for this shared life together, and for the wedding ceremony, as memorable and meaningful as possible. To this end, the Session of Indian Trail Presbyterian Church has approved certain policies respecting weddings, their arrangements, and the use of church facilities. The primary reason for having such policies is to assist you in planning a wedding service that is marked with worshipfulness, dignity, and joy.

Weddings need not be elaborate affairs to be memorable, but if well planned with mutual respect for each other’s needs and traditions – yours and the church’s – a beautiful and sacred event will leave you with treasured memories.

Please read this information on wedding policies carefully and do not hesitate to raise questions or concerns with the pastor during your conferences together. Back to Contents

I. Requirements of the Constitution of the Church (Book of Order)

“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 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 asked to lead the service shall provide for a discussion with the man and the woman concerning:

• The nature of their Christian commitment, assuring that at least one is a professing Christian
• the legal requirements of the state
• the privileges and responsibilities of Christian marriage
• the nature and form of the marriage service
• the vows and commitments they will be asked to make
• the relationship of these commitments to their lives of discipleship
• the resources of the faith and the Christian community to assist them in fulfilling their marriage commitments

This discussion is equally as 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.” (W-4.9000, 4.9001-2) Back to Contents

II. Role of the Minister

The minister of Indian Trail Presbyterian Church (ITPC) will have final authority over the wedding. The couple may request that another ordained minister assist in the service, provided that the ITPC minister in charge has been consulted, and the invitation extended by the ITPC minister in charge and approved by the Session. Back to Contents

III. Counseling

The marriage is considered to be an important event in the establishment of a Christian home; therefore, it is necessary that you arrange with the minister in charge for a series of conferences prior to the wedding. Arrangements must be made at least two months prior to the wedding date; preferably the minister should be contacted at least three months prior to the wedding date, earlier if possible to insure use of the building and to arrange for counseling.

In the case where a previous marriage of either the bride or groom ended in divorce or annulment, the premarital conference with the minister must precede any other arrangements with the church.

Normally the conference with the minister will consist of an initial counseling and planning session with the bride, followed by one or two conferences with the bride and groom together, and a conference with the groom. Back to Contents

IV. Arrangements

A. Worship Service
Before it is anything else, the sacred ceremony of marriage is a Service of Worship. The law does not require that weddings take place in the church, nor does it require that the officiating person be an ordained minister. When you make the decision to marry in the church it should be because you wish to glorify God for the gift of each other; because you desire to affirm your vows in the presence of God, and have God’s blessing on your marriage; and because you wish to make your service a witness of faith in Jesus Christ to the gathered congregation. Any reasons less than these would be an inappropriate use of the church.

B. Date
As soon as you have determined that you wish to use the facilities of the church, the minister should be contacted. At least two months notice prior to the date of the wedding is encouraged to allow time for counseling and preparation. Sunday weddings should be cleared at least 90 days in advance.

• Church Building
It is important to reserve the date and time of the wedding with the minister and secure the approval of the minister in charge before any announcements or other arrangements are made. The church cannot schedule a wedding or rehearsal in conflict with established service or programs or in close proximity with previously reserved wedding dates and times.
• Dates to Avoid
Additionally, because of the difficulties of securing adequate help and pastoral services, certain dates should be avoided: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day. However, special arrangements may be made with the minister provided they are made well in advance and approved by the Session. Back to Contents

V. Facilities

A. Wedding Service
The sanctuary will seat approximately 225 people.

B. Fellowship Hall & Kitchen
The Fellowship Hall will accommodate approximately 200 persons, up to 100 if seated at tables.

C. Furnishings
The Fellowship Hall is reasonably stocked with long tables, each seating 8 persons, and an adequate supply of folding chairs. There are approximately 200 punch plates and cups, and two punch bowls available for use.

D. Parking
Parking is in two locations: Gribble Road and Indian Trail Road, as well as Park Road and Indian Trail Road.

E. Dressing Rooms
Almost any classroom may be utilized for the Bride’s dressing room. Although the Uniform lesson classroom may offer more space. The use of any room must be cleared with the minister.

F. Reception
If a reception is planned for the Fellowship Hall, it is understood that the wedding party will be responsible for engaging a caterer as well as advising the caterer of the church’s regulations and policies respecting weddings. The church will NOT accept responsibility for any food items. (See also: Other Regulations – Kitchen) Back to Contents

VI. Rehearsal

If a rehearsal is planned (it is strongly recommended for all wedding services involving attendants other than Best Man and Maid of Honor AND for all services expecting a congregation of more than 30), then all members of the wedding party are asked to be in attendance. Generally, 1 ½ hours will be required to complete the rehearsal. If a rehearsal dinner or other event is scheduled to follow, then 1 ½ hours plus travel time to that event need to be scheduled. It is strongly recommended that the rehearsal be scheduled as early as possible in the evening.

No stand-in for the bride is permitted at the rehearsal. Back to Contents

VII. Music

Since the chief reason for having a church wedding rather than a civil one is to acknowledge the Christian significance of marriage, it follows that any music used in a church wedding should be worthy of the worship of the Almighty God. Instrumental music should evoke the spirit of prayer and praise. Any vocal texts should be God-centered, not human centered. Such music expresses the joyful gratitude of the couple and their guests for God’s gift of love. It also conveys a sense of reverence for the sacred relationship into which the bride and groom have been called.

The music selected for the wedding service should not be considered a “cover” for the seating of guests or as entertainment before the main event. Rather it should set the mood for worship. Vocal selections, if used, should express the religious significance of this great step in the lives of the bride and groom.

The Minister of ITPC is the final authority of all music and vocals to be included in the wedding service. Any special music or vocals are to be discussed with the minister as plans are made for the wedding service. Back to Contents

VIII. Photography

A wedding recently held at ITPCEvery opportunity and courtesy will be given following the service for photographs to be taken. Any part of the service can be posed at that time, and the minister will be available for such photos.

In order to preserve the dignity of the service and to respect God’s house, no photographs of any kind will be permitted during the service. Permission may be granted to the official photographer only to take a photograph without flash of the processional and the recessional only from the vestibules.

Ushers should be urged to respectfully advise guests with cameras that no photographs may be taken during the service itself.

When the reception takes place at the church, and as a courtesy to your guests, couples are strongly urged to consider going directly to the reception following the service. A brief time spent there (20-30 minutes) receiving friends, cutting the cake, etc., prevents the long
delays which guests must often endure following the service. You might then return to the Sanctuary, complete the photographic session and once again join your guests. You should discuss your plans with the minister.

A. Video Recording
Video recording of the service may be made in the sanctuary using natural light only. The camera operator should restrict movement
to an absolute minimum. More than one camera is not permitted. Please discuss this with the minister.

B. Audio Recording
Arrangements for the operation of the church’s sound system and the recording of weddings must be made through the church office.
The church will be glad to record, at a nominal charge, the service for the benefit of the bridal couple upon request. These recordings are
made on a cassette tape. A wireless microphone set is available and may be used under the supervision of an approved sound technician from the church. All sound equipment will be operated by authorized church sound technicians only. Back to Contents

IX. Decorations

Great care and expense has been invested in the design of the sanctuary to give glory to God and to direct our attention to Him. Mindful
of this, we seek to keep additional decorations to a minimum. Floral or ribbon markers for the pews of immediate family are perfectly acceptable, but beyond a simple adornment of flowers or candles in the chancel, other decorations are discouraged.

The church traditionally uses the beautiful white and gold paraments for joyous occasions such as weddings.

When the church has been decorated for particular Christian festivals such as Easter or Christmas, no rearrangement or removal of church decorations will be permitted without prior consent of the pastor. Please be sure to check the extent of these arrangements if your wedding is planned for either of these times.

Nails, tacks, staples may not be used on church walls or furnishings.

A. Furnishings
The chancel furnishings (pulpit, communion table, baptismal font) may not be moved, except with permission of the minister and Property & Grounds committee chair person. A kneeling bench can be provided by the florist.

B. Flowers
Our church has two permanent containers for floral arrangements. Our permanent containers must remain in the Sanctuary. When used tastefully and modestly, simple floral arrangements can greatly enhance the setting for the service in the chancel (i.e. raised area).

If a flower girl is used to distribute petals along the aisle, only white petals may be used to avoid carpet stains.

Flowers and other decorations should be completely removed following the service although appropriate floral decorations will be welcomed by the church for the Sunday Service, providing no other floral arrangements have been previously made for that Sunday. In this regard, please check with the church office.

C. Candles
Candles may be used in the sanctuary. One or two freestanding candelabras may be used provided that a drip mat is placed on the floor beneath. Experience tells us that there are not truly “drip-free” candles and carpeted floors must be protected. For safety reasons, unattended candles may not be used in the aisles, on pews, in windows, or elsewhere in the sanctuary.

A Unity Candle ensemble is permissible in the chancel, if the couple chooses to use one. This ensemble is supplied by the florist at your request. Again, a drip mat must be used to protect the carpet. Back to Contents

X. Other Regulations

A. Smoking is not permitted inside the church buildings at any time.

B. Alcohol may not be served on church property. Members of the wedding party, their guests, and persons providing wedding services
are strictly enjoined that under no circumstances may they attend the wedding or rehearsal under the influence of alcohol.

C. Bird seed may not be thrown inside the church buildings, but is permitted outside. It should not be distributed until after the ceremony.

D. When the kitchen facilities are used, the kitchen must be left as it was found with respect to the cleaning and storing of dishes, silverware, utensils, and the removal of trash. No leftover food is to be left in the refrigerators or kitchen.

E. When breakages or damage is incurred to the church property as a direct result of wedding activities, the wedding party will accept responsibility for restitution of such damages.

F. If you desire that the congregation be invited to the wedding, please mail an invitation to: Congregation of Indian Trail Presbyterian Church, PO Box 187, Indian Trail, NC 28079.

G. A person representing ITPC, who has authority to enforce rules set forth for weddings in this church, shall be present at every rehearsal and wedding. The person in charge shall have complete authority to cancel a wedding or a rehearsal for any deviation from this
church’s policies.

H. The church will make every effort to protect personal items such as wedding dresses, purses and silver brought to the church to be
used in a wedding or a wedding reception. The church will not be liable for such items if lost, stolen, or damaged.

I. The church will not be liable for any personal items brought to the church to be used in the wedding or reception. Back to Contents

XI. Fees

All fees are due one week prior to date of wedding.

Active and inactive members, and children of members have first priority.

Staff Fees (Members)

MinisterAn honorarium is acceptable.
Organist/PianistNot supplied by church.
Sound Technician (if sound system is used)$100
Sexton (includes rehearsal)$100
If reception is held in the Fellowship Hall$200

Building Usage: Members
There is no usage fee for use of the buildings for members of ITPC. However a contribution of $30 would help defray the utility costs. There is a $100 refundable clean up/damage deposit. When members use the fellowship hall they are expected to sweep and mop the floors, and set tables and chairs back up as they found them. The kitchen should always be left clean and with no trash left in the trash containers. No food should be left in the refrigerator.

Keys will not be available for loan.

Staff Fees (Non-Members)

Sanctuary & Fellowship Hall$500
Sexton (wedding & rehearsal)$100
If reception is held in Fellowship Hall$200
Refundable Damage Deposit$100
Sound Technician (if sound system is used)$100

Keys will not be available for loan. Back to Contents

XII. Policy Communications

It is the responsibility of the wedding families to communicate these policies to all members of the wedding party and to all persons involved in any aspect of the wedding and during preparation. Back to Contents