Planning Your Wedding
As you look forward to your wedding day, there are two important tasks your congregation and pastor can help you with: one is planning a wedding, the other is preparing for marriage. A wedding lasts thirty-five minutes, a marriage lasts a lifetime. The policies of Holy Cross Lutheran Church are designed with both of these blessed events in mind.
A Worship Service
A church wedding is, first and foremost, a service of worship. The community gathers to join the couple in worshipping Christ and giving thanks for God's blessings. The bride and groom share their vows in this worship setting, and are thereby presenting their marriage as an offering to God. A marriage service performed in a court house or private home is blessed every bit as much as one performed in a church. Therefore; the reason to request a church wedding is not to seek God's blessing, which is freely given, but to worship God and to be surrounded in this worship by the supporting fellowship of your congregation. The church is a house of prayer and all parts of the service – music, words and dress are to reflect the depth, beauty and meaning of Christian worship. Having a church wedding only because it is a beautiful place and has a center aisle is not appropriate.
A Congregational Event
A church wedding is a congregational event, and the minister presides as pastor of the congregation, not as a private wedding agent. Church weddings grow out of a history of being an integral part of congregational life, and so a wedding is most meaningful when the bride or groom or both have been involved in the life of the church. If you or your partner are not currently active members, the pastor will probably suggest that you take part in the worship life of the congregation for a period of months leading up to your marriage so that you may be a part of the faith community in which your wedding will take place. You will also discover that congregational involvement can be an enriching part of your marriage in the years to come.
The Rite of Marriage
The service will follow forms approved for use by the EvangelicalLutheranChurch in America. This will include wording from the LBW and Renewing Worship. The question “who gives this woman to this man?” is not used in ELCA marriage liturgy. There will be an opportunity for the family and congregation to respond to a question regarding the support of the couple’s relationship after the declaration of intention.