Marriage is one of the most important commitments we make in life. Because marriage in the Episcopal Church is regarded as a sacrament there are certain requirements which are set forth in the Canons or laws of the Church. In addition, this parish has its own guidelines for weddings which are held here.
General Requirements: Church canons encourage that a couple (of whatever gender) gives at least 30 days notice of their intention to be married, so please speak to the clergy as soon as you can. The date for your wedding cannot be confirmed until you meet with the clergy. The Episcopal Church encourages that clergy counsel couples prior to marriage. It is also important to understand the liturgy for the service and the various options available to you. To be married in the Episcopal Church, at least one of you must be a baptized Christian.
GUIDELINES REHEARSAL: The wedding rehearsal is an important part of the wedding preparation to ensure a smooth-running service. Rehearsals require an hour and usually take place on the afternoon of the day before the wedding. (Music is not usually included in the rehearsal.)
LICENSE: The marriage license must be obtained in the town or towns in Maine in which the wedding party reside, or are staying. If you are from out of state, you must apply for a license in the town in Maine where the wedding is to take place. Further information can be obtained through the any Town Office in Maine. The marriage license must be brought to the wedding rehearsal and left with the clergy. After the wedding it is mailed back to the town office for their files. To obtain a legal copy of one’s license one must then contact the town office after the wedding. One does not need to have a license to get married, though without a license the marriage will not be seen as a legal affair, only a religious union.
GUEST CLERGY: The officiating minister is normally one of the clergy of St. John’s Church. Before another clergy person is invited to participate, the Rector of the parish should be consulted. An official invitation to participate will then be extended by the Rector. Clergy not resident of the Diocese of Maine must secure special licenses from Diocese of Maine to officiate, but we do welcome other celebrants.
THE LITURGY: The service for weddings at St. John's is “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” from the Book of Common Prayer. Among the several options you may choose for your service is the Celebration of Holy Eucharist. The Prayer Book service allows for an easy inclusion of this sacrament and it adds approximately 20 minutes to the length of the service. Other prayers, readings and alternatives are permitted with permission.
MUSIC: Normally the Parish Organist plays for weddings. His name is Dr. Anthony Antolini (207-354-2263). Please schedule an appointment with him to discuss appropriate music for your wedding. All music should be consistent with the high standards of the liturgy and of good taste. Texts usually are from Holy Scripture, The Book of Common Prayer, or texts congruent with them (BCP p. 14), though appropriate poems and writings are acceptable. It is appropriate to recognize the corporate nature of the service by choosing hymns to be part of your wedding. A list of suggested hymns is available. Any request for an organist other than the Parish Organist must be approved by the Rector and the Parish Organist. In such cases the traditional ‘bench fee' will be charged. Arrangements for additional instrumentalists should be made through the Parish Organist.
FLOWERS: Flowers are the responsibility of the bride and groom. Once one has a florist it is important to let our Altar Guild know what you are planning. There are some restrictions to our space here at St. John’s and it is important that we be able to work with your florist. Altar flowers can be left at the church following the ceremony to be used for Sunday services. The Altar Guild contact person is Kathy Cuthbertson 354-8908. (artificial flowers are not used at St. John's)
PHOTOGRAPHS: There are rules concerning the taking of pictures within the church. Photos can be taken if they are not distractions from the event, and do not draw any attention to the photographer. Photos may be posed in the church following the service. A video camera may be used only with the permission of the Rector and placed in a stationary location where it will not be a distraction.
AISLE RUNNER: While white runners are being used less and less these days, they are permitted here. Please consult with your florist.
CONFETTI: Confetti, rice, and glitter may not be used in the church or on the church grounds.
HONORARIA: Use of the Parish Hall: If the Reception takes place in the Undercroft and/or Parish Hall a donation for the use of the facility is expected. Honorarium for Parish Organist: $150 (due before the wedding) There will be a $25 per hour fee charged for rehearsals and/or other musical arrangements. Make check payable to Anthony Antolini. Honoraria for Clergy: There is no set amount as each wedding is unique, nor is this required. If you are requesting other clergy to participate or officiate then arrangements should be made with them to compensate them for their services.
SERVICES OUTSIDE THE CHURCH BUILDING: There are times when a couple will want to get married outside or at another location. This is permitted and the details should be made with the clergy about arrangements. There are wonderful and sacred sites around the state that are wonderful for such events.