Rogier Van der Weyden, Matrimony
Detail from the Seven Sacraments Altarpiece (1445-1450)
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium
The outward and visible sign in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the exchange of Vows by the couple getting married. The inward and spiritual grace is the couple's union in heart, body, and mind by which their life together becomes an effective sign (or image or icon) of the union between Christ and his Church.
Unlike the other six sacraments which are administered by a bishop, priest, or deacon, the ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony are the husband and wife themselves. The priest or deacon simply guides them through their exchange of vows and then bestows God's blessing on their union.
The bond created by the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is lifelong and exclusive. The husband and wife vow to forsake all others and be faithful to each other as long as they both shall live. The grace of the Sacrament strengthens the couple with the grace to fulfill their vows in lifelong fidelity and growth in holiness.
In the United States, officiating at weddings is the one remaining sphere in which the clergy act as functionaries of the State as well as the Church. Marriage is not only a Christian Sacrament but also a binding contract in secular law. For this reason, weddings may take place only for those who are free to marry according to the laws of both Church and State.
As you consider the possibility of celebrating your marriage at St. Uriel's, the following parish guidelines provide some detail regarding weddings in the Church. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 732-449-6173.
Wedding Guidelines at St. Uriel's
Please note that the following guidelines are those that have been in effect up through the present Interim Period at St. Uriel's. It will be the prerogative of the next Rector to modify and update them as appropriate. Until then, the Interim Priest is happy to entertain any questions from couples considering getting married.
Please understand also that while the Interim Priest may commit to officiating at weddings during his expected tenure at St. Uriel's, he cannot commit the next Rector to doing so!
The parish and staff of St. Uriel’s joyfully welcome you as you prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony. The love you have privately come to realize and share will now be made public through a sacred sacrament. We join in the support of family and friends as you undertake a new way of life.
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with insights and information which will help to make your wedding day a happy and holy event. It details the various steps that are important as you prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony. One of the parish priests will assist you in the preparatory steps which will lead to your wedding day.
We assure you of our continued support, help and prayers. If we may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Before any arrangements can be made, please contact the parish office at 732-449-6173 to reserve a date for your wedding.
Part 1. Confirming the Parish for Your Wedding
The first step is to contact the Rector [or Interim Priest] prior to arranging any other details of your wedding.
This initial meeting will enable the priest to determine whether you are eligible to married at St. Uriel's, confirm the availability of proposed dates, and outline the requirements of marriage preparations as well as specific details for weddings at the St. Uriel’s. This meeting will also allow you to clarify any questions you may have regarding the requirements.
To be married at St. Uriel’s, at least one member of the couple needs to be an active member in the life of the parish.
IF YOU WERE RAISED IN THE PARISH AND HAVE MOVED AWAY, you may be married at St. Uriel’s, provided that you are active in a parish where you now reside, upon written request of that parish's Pastor.
Weddings may be scheduled on Friday evenings, Saturdays, or on weekdays.
Weddings are normally not scheduled on Sundays - because the clergy are busy with their Sunday duties and it is expected that those participating in the wedding will be attending church on Sundays themselves.
Lent is a penitential season and it is normative not to schedule weddings in Lent. Exceptions may be made for some extreme reason, but that must to be cleared by the Rector [or Interim Priest]. Examples include military deployment, moving out of State, etc. "We have the hall reserved" does not count as an extreme situation.
If either member of the couple has been divorced, the Bishop's permission for remarriage in Church will need to be obtained in accordance with the procedures of the Diocese of New Jersey.
Please note that NO weddings can be scheduled until the couple has met with the Rector [or Interim Priest].
Please note also that the Canon Law of the Episcopal Church gives the clergy the right to refuse to officiate at any wedding for any reason, or without giving a reason.
Part 2. Preparing for Your Marriage
In accord with the marriage preparation policy established by the parish, you will need to complete the following:
Preliminary assessment of readiness for marriage.
Participation in at least one of the recommended marriage preparation programs, e. g. Pre-Cana, Engaged Encounter, etc.
Completion of the necessary forms for our Church records, including copies of baptismal certificates.
Plan the ceremony with the assistance of a priest in the parish, Director of Music Ministries, and Altar Guild Director.
Wedding coordinators are nice, but their work stops outside of the Church premises. The parish clergy and staff are the parish wedding coordinators.
Part 3. Planning the Liturgy
Your wedding celebration must follow the rubrics and use the texts in the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. Within those parameters, however, you will have some options (e. g. choices of Scripture readings) to personalize your wedding celebration.
In approaching the planning sessions, please be mindful of the following:
If both bride and groom are practicing Anglicans, you are encouraged to celebrate your wedding within the context of the Eucharist. If either the groom or bride is not of the Christian faith, it may be more appropriate to celebrate the wedding ceremony within a service of Scripture readings and Prayers which would enable all of your guests to fully participate.
The Church of St. Uriel the Archangel can seat comfortably 225 persons.
Part 4. The Particulars of the Liturgy
All music for your wedding will be arranged at a meeting with the Church Musician (Organist) of St. Uriel's. You may contact the Parish Office at 732-449-6173 to set up a meeting in order to discuss musical selections for your wedding along with the compensation for the ministers of music.
Only music integral to the wedding liturgy and appropriate to the sacred ceremony is permitted. Frank Sinatra singing, "I Did It My Way" will not work. The Clergy and Church Musician of St. Uriel's will be happy to help you with appropriate choices of musical selections.
St. Uriel's Organist will play at all weddings. At your request, she will suggest cantors and various instrumentalists for your consideration. If the family wishes a personal friend who is a musician to play at the wedding, this may be acceptable. However, the guest musician must meet with the approval of the Church Musician and Clergy.
All fees and stipends for musicians and the Church are to be paid by the time of the Rehearsal.
Photographers are never allowed to enter the sanctuary or pulpit.
Flashes and camera lights are not to be used during the liturgy.
Videographers are requested to remain stationary during the liturgy.
With permission, posed photographs may be taken for up to thirty minutes following the liturgy. Weather permitting, posed pictures may be taken outside on the parish grounds.
FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS:
NO candlebras in the sanctuary.
All flower adornments will be done by the Flower Guild of St. Uriel's. ONLY fresh cut flowers and live plants are permitted, and these may not be removed following the ceremony.
Runners are not permitted. They tend to get tangled and people can trip on them. They are a safety hazard.
The priest conducting the wedding will also conduct the rehearsal. The priest assumes responsibility for directing the procession of the wedding party.
The wedding may not proceed without a valid license from the State of New Jersey. The license must be presented to the officiating priest no later than the rehearsal. The priest assumes responsibility for completing the license after the wedding and returning it to the appropriate authorities.
Food and drink of any type are not allowed in the parish. For insurance reasons, we cannot allow rice to be used.
Please consider appropriate dress for rehearsal AND wedding. This is a CHURCH – modesty is required.