The first question a couple must answer is whether or not they desire a Christian marriage or simply a place in which to be married.
There is a risk that the nature and purpose of Christian marriage can be lost when the church and the building are reduced to no more than a beautiful setting for a service. It is vital for couples planning to be married in the church to understand that Christian marriage assumes the centrality of Jesus Christ and our life of discipleship in His life and the life of His Church, both in the new relationship and throughout their life together. The marriage liturgy itself is the beginning of that remarkable journey.
If you are seriously considering the implications involved in a Christian marriage, are willing to reflect deeply on these matters prior to marriage, and have determined that these can and will form your common life, we look forward to working with you at St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s.
The following guidelines are meant to serve as assistance to couples and families and to provide clarity about all that is entailed and expected at a wedding at the Church of the Incarnation. Please take the time to carefully study this document before filling out the Wedding Date Request Form, either in an on-line version or by downloading the form and mailing it to the parish office here on the website.
What is Christian Marriage or Holy Matrimony?
Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the Church, and for that reason a marriage can only grow spiritually with a couple’s deliberate life together as Christians. According to the Catechism in The Book of Common Prayer, a sacrament consists of “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace” (p. . The principal part of the outward and visible sign of Holy Matrimony is both the lawful union of a man and woman brought about through the wedding ceremony and their physical union. The inward grace of marriage is the presence and power of God given to the man and woman in order that they may keep the vows and promises they have made to one another and to God.
Holy Matrimony, therefore, involves not just a man and a woman, but also God and His Church, the Bride of Christ. Each wedding at Incarnation is a service of worship and, as such, reflects the character and traditions of this parish community as it bears witness to the teaching of Christ and His Church concerning Christian marriage.
The aim of the parish clergy and the Marriage Preparation Course offered by the parish is to assist couples as they prepare to engage in the vocation of Christian marriage. Specifically, this occurs through instruction about the nature and meaning of Christian marriage, as well as practical teaching whose purpose is to provide a solid foundation for a lifelong relationship of mutual love and support.
Preparing for marriage is a holy process because it is an answer to God’s call to a deeper commitment to Him, to one’s future spouse and to a share in the sacrament that St Paul teaches is a sign to the world of the great mystery of Christ’s love for His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Who may be married at St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s Church?
Any man and woman, if they have attended Sunday celebrations of Holy Communion each week for the previous six months unless impeded by health or care for a family member.
If either or both man or woman have been divorced, they fulfill all the requirements of the Diocese of Fredericton as outlined in Canon 4.4.
The couple has completed Back to Basics courses 101 & 201.
The couple has completed all 4 marriage preparation interviews.
The couple are willing to follow the guidelines outlined below, and they both profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and are sincerely committed to establishing a Christian marriage.
The couple is willing to conform to the good standards of this document and any requirements by the priest officiating the wedding.
The couple has committed to making St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s their church home.
If the Bride or Groom has not been baptized and Confirmed, they are strongly encouraged to be baptized and Confirmed.
How are wedding arrangements made?
1. The Wedding Date Request Form is completed from our website from this link http://smsbchurch.org at least 6 months (8 months if this is a second marriage) prior to the anticipated wedding date. Once you have read the wedding policies, fill out the request form and submit it, it will be sent to Carol Anne Foster. The Rector will follow up the submission of the request form. Prior to the couple setting any wedding related dates the scheduling of a wedding must receive the approval of the Rector. The couple may need to meet with the officiating priest before a date is affirmed.
2. Once the Wedding Date Request Form has been approved and the wedding date is set:
a. The Bride and Groom will be notified that the date has been approved and will be sent a copy
of St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s Christian Wedding Policies, which includes the Christian Marriage Policy Agreement at the end of that document.
3. Two weeks after the receiving the agreement, the couple must
a. Submit a signed copy of the Christian Marriage Policy Agreement
4. Two months before the wedding date, the following documents must be submitted to the Carol Anne Foster:
a. The provincial marriage license.
b. The Photography and Videography Agreement, signed by the photographer and/or videographer.
c. The Wedding Music Information Sheet
d. The Scripture Lesson Sheet, which lists the Scripture passages that will be used in the service.
5. One month before the wedding date, submit 100% of all fees to the church office. These include: $125 Organist fee, $75 Sexton fee & $125 for the church facilities.
No wedding announcements should be ordered until the date and time have been confirmed by St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s Church. If one or both of the parties has been married before, no booking of a wedding can be made until the couple has met with a member of the clergy staff. (When divorce is involved, announcements ought not to be ordered until the couple has received final permission from the Bishop of Fredericton to be remarried.)
What is the nature of the marriage service/liturgy?
Weddings at St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s take place according to either The Book of Common Prayer (1962), or the Book of Alternative Services.
Each couple is asked to decide about the following aspects of the wedding liturgy:
1. the readings and/or lessons they desire (see Scripture Lesson Sheet for options with the complete texts)
2. What music will be used (hymns or contemporary Christian music only) Any questions about music should be directed only to the Rector and church organist.
3. Whether the Holy Communion will be celebrated as part of the wedding liturgy.
A wedding service with Holy Communion typically lasts 50-60 minutes; a service without Holy Communion typically lasts 35-40 minutes.
When may a wedding take place?
Weddings are not permitted during holiday weekends, the seasons of Advent and Lent, including Holy Week. Weddings are held on Saturdays. The earliest wedding hour at our church is 11:00 am. No more than two wedding may be scheduled on one day and there must be at least four hours between the start times of each wedding.
What about music?
Music is coordinated by the Music Director, Stephen Alexander, and can only be chosen in consultation with him.
What financial costs are to be contemplated?
Checks are to be made out to “St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s Church.” A payment of 100% of the fees is due 1 month prior to the service.
St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s Church: $350
This fee includes the rental of the facility and the staff required for the wedding day, security for the day of the wedding, the fee for the staff musician, and the cost for producing wedding leaflets.