THE MINISTRY OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
GUIDELINES AND INFORMATION OF ST. ANDREW’S UNITED CHURCH, COCHRANE, ALBERTA
Welcome to St. Andrew’s United Church. We joyfully celebrate with you your desire to have your marriage begin with the blessing of God, and offer you our best wishes. St. Andrew’s United Church has been solemnizing weddings for more than a century so you join a rich heritage of celebrating the love and commitment your wedding ceremony symbolizes.
The following information and guidelines will help you in your planning. If you have any other questions or concerns with regards to your wedding ceremony, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of the ministry staff as you work together to plan your special day.
Date and Time
Book the date you have chosen for your wedding as soon as possible. Please phone the Church Office to check the availability of this date, and to ensure that a minister is available. Remember that, during the summer, ministry personnel take vacations, so the sooner we can make arrangements around your wedding date, the better. All weddings are conducted by one or the other ministers of St. Andrew’s except in exceptional circumstances and by prior approval.
Once the date for your wedding has been chosen, a non-refundable deposit of $100 is required in order for the Church to be considered booked.
Preparation for Your Wedding
Once the date for your wedding has been confirmed, you will meet with the minister conducting your ceremony. The first meeting allows us to get to know one another, and to begin to plan for the type of wedding you envision. While certain parts of the Wedding Ceremony are mandated by Provincial Law, and the United Church has a suggested outline for the marriage ceremony, there is a great deal of room for your own individuality within the service itself. We encourage couples to work with the minister to plan a service that best reflects your personalities, so that your wedding is truly a reflection of you.
All couples are required to attend a Marriage Preparation Weekend offered by Calgary Presbytery of the United Church. The minister will provide you with information and dates for this workshop. As the date of your wedding draws closer, you will meet a second time with the minister to finalize any last minute details, and to set the time for your rehearsal.
The Sanctuary (seating capacity of 280)
St. Andrew’s is a simple but beautiful place for your wedding. You are invited to decorate with flowers, pew bows, and other simple decorations, however these should be in consultation with the minister who can help you decide the best places for these. Please remember that, if you are not an attending member of St. Andrew’s, you are a guest in someone else’s worship space. Furnishings are not to be moved without permission. No confetti please.
Photographs and Videos
Pictures of your wedding will provide you with memories for years to come. Your family and friends may take photos during the processional and recessional, and during the signing of the register, however guests are asked to remain in their seats. No one will be allowed to take photos during the worship service itself, with the exception of one identified photographer, whom the minister will speak with prior to the ceremony. The photographer you have chosen will be expected to follow all rules set out by the minister, or will be asked to leave the Sanctuary until the service is concluded. As well, one person has permission to take a video of your wedding, provided they set up and remain in one place throughout the service. The minister will offer suggestions as to the best place to video.
St. Andrew’s has a gifted musician who will be happy to provide the music for your wedding. You should arrange to meet with her early in your planning, especially if you have special musical requests. Should you wish to provide your own musician, please let the minister know well in advance. You are welcome to use taped music during the service, but should make sure you have arranged for someone to be responsible for turning this on at the appropriate time.
The following fees are applicable for your wedding.
$210.00 minus the $100.00 deposit for the Sanctuary.
$40.00 for the caretaker who will set up the Sanctuary and make sure it is ready for your wedding.
$200.00 – $250.00 for the minister’s honorarium.
$130.00 for the musician.
$80.00 for a soloist, should you request one.
$50.00 donation to St. Andrew’s, should you request a wedding away from the Church but conducted by one of the ministers.
There may be a fee for kilometres traveled to your wedding site depending on the distance. You can discuss this with the minister at the first meeting. All fees should be paid at the Rehearsal. Please put each fee in the envelopes provided, addressed to the correct recipient as indicated on the front. Should any of these fees present financial hardship to you, please don’t hesitate to speak with the minister so other arrangements may be made.
Every marriage conducted within the Province of Alberta requires that a marriage license be in the possession of the conducting minister before the wedding ceremony takes place. You are responsible for obtaining this license and for providing any additional legal documents required with regards to previous marriages or special circumstances. Please make certain that all the information on the Marriage Registration Form you receive with your license is correct before you leave the Registry Office. It is extremely difficult to make changes to this document once you have signed it. There is a fee for obtaining a marriage license, and certain expiry dates apply; check with your local Registry Office for complete information. It is the Minister’s responsibility to return the completed Registration Form to the Provincial Vital Statistics office for registration. However, you will not receive a Marriage Certificate unless you apply for it after your marriage. This usually takes about five to six weeks after the marriage takes place. In the meantime, you will receive a Certificate of Marriage from the minister which will help you begin to make any changes to your surname, bank accounts etc.
Wedding Planners and Consultants
Many couples now engage a professional wedding planner or consultant to help them with the many details of their special day. Your planner will be glad to know that, once they arrive at the church, they can simply enjoy both the rehearsal and the wedding service. These are, in every respect, conducted under the authority and direction of the minister.
Wedding rehearsals help all participants in the wedding ceremony feel more relaxed and clear about what is expected of them at the service. Typically, rehearsals are held the evening before the wedding, however more and more couples are choosing to have their rehearsal two days before, in order to feel less rushed. Please arrange your rehearsal date and time with the minister well in advance. It is important that you arrive on time for the rehearsal, and that only those directly involved in the ceremony and the parents of the bride and groom attend. The rehearsal should take approximately one hour.
The community of St. Andrew’s United Church wishes you many blessings on the wonderful journey you have begun as you plan your wedding. We celebrate with you this exciting time in your life, and warmly invite you to make St. Andrew’s you church home as you experience the joys of Christian marriage.