5. Pre-Marriage Counseling And Wedding Policies
Qualifications and Approval
We believe the Scriptures teach that marriage is an institution established by God, and that it is a lifetime commitment. We also believe an understanding of the biblical foundation for marriage is essential for any couple considering marriage. For those requesting Pre-Marriage Counseling, asking to be married, or inquiring about the use of our facilities, we require:
1. Both partners give clear testimony of being born-again believers, who personally trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal life.
2. Both partners be scripturally qualified to marry.
3. Both believing partners be committed to a Christian marriage, as defined in the Bible.
4. The couple be married by a church Elder-approved Officiant, who holds to the teaching of Scripture. If the Officiant is unknown to us, one or more church Elders will meet with him for approval.
5. Both partners be willing to complete our Pre-Marriage Counseling or a church Elder-approved Pre-Marriage Counseling program.
6. The wedding participants abide by the Building Use Policies of the church.
The ideal would be to enter into Pre-Marriage Counseling before having made a commitment to one another. In view of the seriousness of the commitment you are considering and the importance of the material to be covered, couples should allow at least four months before their marriage to complete the counseling comfortably.
The church Pre-Marriage Counseling is designed to assist the couple in building a biblical understanding and foundation for their marriage and consists of five basic parts:
1. The Criteria for Marriage
2. Christian Marriage I: Basics
3. Christian Marriage II: A Christian Husband, A Christian Wife
4. Before Your Marriage
5. Your Wedding and After
We want to be very clear that going through Pre-Marriage Counseling does not guarantee approval of your marriage. The Officiant and Pre-Marriage Counselors assigned to you must be satisfied that you understand and meet the requirements and qualifications for marriage before approval. After the third session, your Pre-Marriage Counselor will submit his recommendation to you and to the Officiant for final approval. Wedding dates are penciled in on the Master Calendar until final approval. Invitations should not be sent until final approval is received.
Your Wedding Ceremony and the Church Facilities Use
Your wedding ceremony and accompanying music is expected to be Christ-centered, God honoring, spiritually edifying, and in good taste. Any departure from traditional music and ceremony requires prior approval of the Elder overseeing Pre-Marriage Counseling. The couple should ask themselves how their ceremony and music will bring honor to the Lord.
It is the desire of the church to make the building available to the Lord's people who wish to use it for weddings and to minimize the expense for them. For church members, there is no cost for use of the building, unless extensive plans incur above-normal wedding costs. Non-church members may contact the church Office to determine the wedding fee. Reserved dates for the wedding and rehearsal are tentatively penciled in, awaiting approval of the marriage Officiant and/or Pre-Marriage Counselor. The fee is fully refundable if the wedding is canceled. Reservation requests and subsequent confirmation are considered on the basis of: 1) the clear testimony of personal salvation on the part of both partners and your biblical eligibility for marriage; 2) the approval by the church Elders of the Officiant, and 3) your willingness to actively participate in a Pre-Marriage Counseling program.
The couple requesting use of the building is responsible for arranging music and providing all decorations, flower containers, candelabra, candles, table linens, dishes, etc. All equipment, including rental equipment, must be removed from Chapel premises immediately following the reception. The piano and organ are available for the wedding, reception, and rehearsal but may not be moved.
Dripless candles must be used. Non-flammable, protective material must be placed under candles on the platform to protect carpeting. The florist should be careful not to cover air-conditioning or heating vents when arranging protective material.
Smoking is not permitted inside the building. The wedding party is asked to notify their Florist, Caterer, and Wedding Consultant to observe this policy. Birdseed is permitted outside the building only.
If desired, the Building Manager will make a cassette recording of your wedding if you provide a C-90 or C-120 cassette tape to him at the wedding rehearsal.
A church Wedding Liaison will be present to assist the wedding party both at the rehearsal and at the wedding. She is there to help with church policy and to offer assistance to the Officiant and the wedding party in sending the wedding party down the aisle, etc. Should you have a Wedding Consultant, she will be happy to work with her.
The wedding party assumes responsibility for any damage, loss, or breakage to Chapel property.
If both participants are in agreement with these policies, return the enclosed Request Form to the church Office within two weeks. When Pre-Marriage Counseling is begun, a Wedding Information packet will be sent.