First United Methodist Church 201 E. Third Street Mishawaka, IN 46544
telephone (574) 255-4707 fax (574) 255-4797 e-mail: Senior Pastor, Larry Whitehead Associate Pastor, Carolyn Kern Hostess, Sharon Leamon, 231-9106 Organist, Christine Seitz, 255-5979 Revised March, 2005

Congratulations! If you are reading this booklet, you have either decided or are close to deciding upon getting married. Getting married is a big decision. When one marries, one is putting a lifetime of integrity "on the line". Your personal truthfulness is at stake. And, if you think this sounds too melodramatic or overdrawn, then you need to rethink what marriage is all about! The marriage ceremony is one of the most sacred rites of the church. It is a service of worship in which two persons commit themselves to each other in holy wedlock. Getting married is not about hearing what your fiancé is going to do for you; it's about telling everyone what you are going to do for your fiancé. And when you get married in the church, you tell not only everyone else, you tell God also. To make your commitment before God implies that you intend to make your commitment consistent with God's plan for creation in general and God's plans for the two of you specifically. When you get married, you create a covenant. A covenant is binding like a contract. Marriage is also a contract -- a legally binding responsibility that only a court of law can set aside. A covenant supposes an even greater promise that no one can void. Such obligation is not to be entered into lightly by either the groom or the bride. To call marriage a "piece of paper" is to miss the depth of the commitment that one is called to make. One should never make this choice until one can make it freely and joyfully. To make a covenant is to see your personal participation in the relationship with your spouse as woven into the very fabric of God's truth and love. To make a covenant is to join God in creating the world -- a world new and better, a world more loving, a place loving enough for children to be born into with assurance of their being valued for themselves. If you are ready to give yourself in love and hope to such a possibility, congratulations! You're not only what your intended spouse needs, but you're what the world needs!

1. The staff recommends making contact with the church as soon as your wedding date is set. After we have received a deposit of 50% of the total wedding fees, the date will be placed on the church calendar. The chapel and sanctuary are available for weddings. The seating capacity of the sanctuary (including the balcony) is 450; the capacity of the chapel is 75. Weddings will be scheduled between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Sundays and major holidays are not appropriate. 2. The minister in charge will meet together with the bride and groom at least three times. These meetings afford a chance to clear mutual arrangements and discuss other issues including premarital counseling. You are responsible for calling to make these required conferences. 3. Contact the church organist, Christine Seitz, to discuss the music. She can be reached at 255-5979.

We ask that you respect our church policies and have regard for the atmosphere of worship during the service. Be sure to read all policies carefully before making any commitments. Policies will not be altered. If there are any questions, please call the church office. Please observe the following rules for the rehearsal and the wedding: 1. We have a no smoking policy in the entire building. 2. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the premises, including the parking lot. 3. No rice, birdseed or confetti may be thrown anywhere in the building or on the grounds adjacent to the church.

Our lounge and fellowship hall are available for receptions. There is a separate policy and charge for use of these facilities. You may obtain a copy of the policy and make arrangements for receptions with one of the church secretaries. The same rules apply when using our facilities for receptions as stated on the previous page under church policies.

Flower girls and ring bearers are wonderful additions to a wedding party. However, a word of caution is in order. Children who have not been to kindergarten or preschool seldom can follow directions and stay attentive through the service. Four and five year olds are problematic. Three year olds rarely can function. However, no age is prohibited. If you do choose a younger, pre-school age child, the pastor expects that the child will be treated with respect for their age. A child should not be scolded for being unable to do what they are not old enough to do.

According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the pastor of First Church is in charge of the wedding. A minister from another church may officiate in the wedding ceremony. This is a matter, which requires the consent of the officiating minister and a formal invitation to the guest minister. A minister from First Church will direct the rehearsal and assist in the wedding. Any minister who participates in a wedding at First Church is required to wear a robe (the church does not furnish one.)

The organist of this church will play for all weddings. In the event of a conflict in schedule, the organist will arrange for a qualified substitute. Couples are encouraged to confer with the minister and the organist well in advance of the ceremony concerning the choice of music. Sacred music, which would be used in a worship service, is appropriate for the wedding ceremony; the organist, in consultation with the pastors, makes the final decision about what constitutes "sacred music." Secular selections will be considered, at the discretion of our organist, for pre-service music only.

The configuration of our sanctuary and sound system requires the services of our trained sound technician. The fees for this position are included in our fees for the wedding. If a sound technician is needed for a service in the chapel, the church will secure one for you if you so desire. The same fee applies. For chapel services, you may also have someone of your own choosing perform this function.

The hostess of this church will be present at all sanctuary weddings. She will also be present at chapel weddings that require her services. In the event of a schedule conflict, she will arrange for a qualified substitute from our church. The hostess opens the building two hours prior to the start of the ceremony. She cares for the needs of the bridal party and assists them with the processional, recessional and receiving line. The hostess also directs the florist, photographer, videographer, wedding coordinator and any other person(s) involved in the ceremony.

The minister is always in charge of the rehearsal; persons who are rendering wedding related services may confer with the minister in advance. The bride and groom should insist that all members of the wedding party be as prompt for the rehearsal as they will be for the wedding. The following suggestions will guide you as you prepare for the rehearsal: 1. The minister will schedule the time of the rehearsal; usually the day before the wedding. We prefer starting no earlier than 6:00 P.M. Please allow at least 90 minutes for the rehearsal. 2. It is crucial that the entire wedding party be present and on time. Ushers are especially important. It is helpful if both sets of parents are also present, if possible. 3. The organist may or may not be at the rehearsal. Other musicians or vocalists may also be there, but we will not take time during the rehearsal to rehearse their music. Arrangements should be made with the organist to schedule any necessary rehearsal with vocalists or musicians. There is an additional fee of $50 if the organist accompanies vocalist(s). 4. Photographing and video taping are welcome at the rehearsal. 5. The marriage license (legal document and keepsake document) should be delivered to the church secretary, along with the final payment of all wedding fees, at least two weeks prior to the wedding.

A license is good for sixty days in Indiana. Don't wait until the last minute to obtain your license; the wedding cannot take place without it! 6. If there is to be a rehearsal dinner, everyone being on time is important. The pastor may attend the rehearsal dinner, but only if asked in advance. If the pastor's spouse is expected, an invitation is needed. (Please encourage your wedding party to schedule bachelor/bachelorette parties at some time other than the night before the wedding. A wedding is no place for a hangover.)

We encourage brides to check with the church secretary if wedding dresses are to be delivered to the church. The church provides a dressing room where they may be delivered. We regret that the church cannot be responsible for the security of any personal items such as clothing, wraps, purses, silver and glassware brought to the church for use in the wedding or reception. Every reasonable effort will be made to assist the wedding party in protecting such property. Perhaps a friend of the family might be willing to be responsible for these valuables during the wedding service.

During certain seasons of the liturgical year, the sanctuary is decorated according to seasonal colors. None of the liturgical decorations may be removed or covered during weddings. If such decorations create an aesthetic problem, we suggest that you schedule your wedding for another date. A beautiful sanctuary or chapel requires very little decoration. We discourage using any decorations that will hide from clear view the worship symbols in the chancel; including the cross, the communion table, the pulpit or lectern, and the kneeler. Please discuss decorating plans with the pastor in advance to assure protection of church property. Any decorations attached to pews, candelabra, etc. must be secured without the use of wire, tape, glue, or any other material which might mar the finish. No furnishings or existing decorations may be moved without pastoral approval. We no longer allow the use of aisle runners. Please note that flower petals (real or artificial) are not allowed. No flower containers from the church are available for use. The church furnishes all candles used on the communion table, pew stands, and the candelabras with the exception of the unity candle. A unity candle is optional. The church furnishes a holder and two tapered candles, but the couple is responsible for the purchase of a 3 inch diameter unity candle, if one is desired. Worship bulletins (programs) are optional, but not furnished. Bulletins can be purchased from most Christian bookstores, and if one is desired, the order of service can be obtained from the minister in charge. Most quick print services will typeset and photocopy the bulletins. Many couples are printing their own bulletins on their personal computers. Please do not ask that exceptions be made to any of these procedures. We thank you for your cooperation and we are happy to serve you.

Because the wedding is a service of worship, there are limitations that are not alterable. All photographs must be taken before or after, but not during the sacred service. Pictures may be taken during the processional and recessional, but only from behind the back pew. Pictures during the ceremony are distracting to the congregation. Most professional photographers will know and respect this limitation. Amateurs and semi-professionals will need to be told. The photographer may take pictures before or after the ceremony in any part of the building. If a room other than the sanctuary is used for the taking of pictures, it must be left in the same condition in which it was found. All photography must be completed within an hour following the conclusion of the receiving line. The bridal party may reassemble in the sanctuary after the ceremony to pose for any parts of the ceremony or to take any other wedding pictures desired. The bridal party may also schedule the picture taking prior to the service if time permits and if there is no conflict with another wedding. All video taping must be done with available light from the balcony or from behind the back pew. No cameras will be allowed in the chancel area.

The wedding ritual is a straightforward event that does not allow much room for alteration of its basic parts except for where to include the music. The service begins formally with an INVOCATION, which asks God's presence and guidance. Then the congregation (witnesses) is told of its role in the ADDRESS TO THE ASSEMBLY. There follows the optional PRESENTATION OR BLESSING, which can be done in several ways. The couple is then told once more the significance of what they are about to do in the ADDRESS TO THE COUPLE. They are then asked in the DECLARATION OF INTENT if that is what they mean to do. Assuming their answers are still affirmative, we proceed to the marriage. We first say a PRAYER to ask God's guidance. Then come THE VOWS which is the covenant act itself, followed by sealing those vows with THE GIVING AND RECEIVING OF RINGS. If there is a UNITY CANDLE, it is included here. The officiate then attests to the making of the covenant in THE PRONOUNCEMENT. The covenant is then blessed with THE BLESSING PRAYER. The service is then formally concluded with THE BENEDICTION. Virtually all these elements are necessary. The text of the service, however, is another matter. The traditional service we generally use is printed following this statement. There are other options that the minister will consider (including some personal rewriting) only if there is enough time prior to the wedding date to prepare them well. Also, the pastor has the final approval on optional services or wordings.

(We use No. 1 unless other preferences are indicated.) (1) Bride's Mother Groom's Father Groom's Mother Bride's Father Bride Groom Maid of Honor Best Man Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (alternating) Others as desired (2) Groom's Father Bride's Mother Bride Groom Groom's Mother Bride's Father Maid of Honor Best Man Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (alternating) (3) Bride's Father Bride's Mother Bride Groom Groom's Mother Groom's Father Maid of Honor Best Man Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (alternating) Flower Girl Ring Bearer Others as desired

In place of a receiving line, the bride and groom may return and dismiss the guests themselves.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION Indiana Marriage Laws
The legal age for marriage without parental consent is 18 for both male and female. At age 17, parental consent is required. Female applicants for a marriage license must have the results of blood tests on the official Indiana blood test form or proof of Rubella shot-age one on. Out-of-state physicians may perform the tests and the Indiana form may be obtained for out-of-state tests from the South Bend Medical Foundation or the Indiana Board of Health in Indianapolis. If the female applicant is age 50 or over, no blood test is required. Male applicants of any age are not required to have a blood test. Both applicants must present proof of birth date. Applicants MUST present a birth certificate, valid driver’s license, Indiana picture I.D., military I.D., or baptismal record. Marriage licenses must be obtained from the County Clerk’s Office (both persons to be married must go to the office): Mishawaka County Services Annex, 219 Lincolnway West; South Bend – basement of County Court House, 101 S. Main Street. You need to obtain your license in the county in which you reside. (Out of state county if it applies.) The cost of the license is $18 (cash) if Indiana residents; $60 for out-of-state residents. (Fees are subject to change without notice.) The license is valid for 60 days from the date of application.

Wedding fees are determined by several factors: A church is not like a business with set fees for services (with discounts for favorite customers). A church is a community of persons of faith with priorities of ministry and mission. All that we do must first serve and protect the church's mission. Those persons who are members and who are active in the life of the congregation have a different relationship to the support of the church and its ministry. Therefore there are different fees for members and nonmembers. Member fees are for those weddings where the bride or groom or one of their parents are full members of this church. Nonmember fees are for those weddings where neither the bride nor the groom are members of this church and neither has a parent who is a member of this church. The ministers and the congregation are happy to provide beautiful settings and caring professional service for the very special act of getting married. There may have been a time when such services could be offered without counting the cost, but it is not possible any more. Therefore we ask you to understand that these fees are still an effort to make available the quality of wedding services which will make your wedding special.

A check for $100 is to be given at the time of the final payment (due two weeks prior to the wedding) in case anything is broken or the guidelines are deliberately not followed. The check will not be deposited and if everything is okay, that same check will be returned within one week after the wedding.

Church members who do not annually contribute in excess of full fees will be expected to pay that rate.

Chapel Without Rehearsal $150 honorarium $125 Chapel & Rehearsal $175 honorarium $150 $125 $ 75 $250 no charge $775 $100 Sanctuary & Rehearsal $175 honorarium $150 $125 $100 $ 50 $350 no charge $950 $100

Minister (member) Organist Hostess Custodian $ 75 Sound Tech. Building Use $250 (member) no charge $600 Refundable Deposit


Pew Stands and Candles Soloist, if secured by the church Organist Accompanying Soloist Carillon Bells Sound Technician for Chapel, if secured by the church TOTAL OF OPTIONAL ITEMS GRAND TOTAL DEPOSIT

OPTIONAL $35.00 (not available in chapel) 50.00 50.00 25.00 50.00 $______________ $______________ $______________

BALANCE DUE $______________ (At least two weeks before wedding, along with the license.) A deposit of 50% of the total wedding fees is required to hold the date when you reserve the church for your wedding. The deposit will be returned at the discretion of the minister if the wedding is canceled. Balance is due to the church secretary at least two weeks before the wedding.

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