Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Lutheran Church –Missouri Synod
Physical address of the church: 329 Avenue A Snohomish, WA 98290 360-568-2700
The following information concerning weddings at Zion is provided to help you in
planning your wedding and to acquaint you with the accepted customs of our church.
I Introduction .............................................................................. Page 1
2. Marriage in the Church
3. Biblical Basis
II Getting Started ......................................................................... Page 2
1. Wedding Ceremony 10. Musicians
2. Who May be Married at Zion? 11. The Rehearsal
3. Premarital Guidance 12. The License
4. Civil Ceremony 13. Rented Items
5. Initial Arrangements 14. Furnishings
6. The Pastor 15. Seating Capacity
7. The Wedding Coordinator 16. Handicap Accessibility
8. The Parish Hall Coordinator 17. Parking
9. The Organist
III Planning the Wedding Worship Service................................. Page 5
1. Outline of Marriage Worship Service 5. Instrumental Music
2. Decorations 6. Vocal Music
3. Unity Candle 7. Suggested Scripture Readings
4. Recorded Music
IV Additional Notes ...................................................................... Page 7
1. Wedding Party 4. Photography
2. Dressing Areas 5. Bulletins
3. Nursery 6. Gifts
V Prohibited Items ....................................................................... Page 9
VI After the Ceremony................................................................ Page 10
1. Throwing rice, etc.
2. Reception/Parish Hall Use
3. LWML Service
Approved April 17, 2006 (Wedding Guidebook for Zion.doc)
Welcome! We are pleased that you have considered having your wedding at Zion Lutheran Church. It is our
hope that you will be truly blessed as you keep Christ the center of your wedding day and throughout your
2. Marriage in the Church
The church wedding is a worship service. The major focus is to give glory and praise to God. The couple making
their commitment to each other is secondary to that of worshipping God.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
The church is a house of God, designed to worship God, because of this anything that doesn’t give glory to God
is not permitted.
As you come before the altar to pledge your love and life-long faithfulness to each other, the Church offers what
it has been authorized by Christ to give: God's blessing. As you kneel you will hear the words which make a
Christian wedding unique: "The Lord God, who created our first parents and established them in marriage,
establish and sustain you, that you may find delight in each other and grow in holy love until your life's end.
Please discuss your plans with the pastor ahead of time so that all will be done to give glory to God.
3. The Biblical Basis
While the laws of the state regulate marriage as a civil contract, God's Word declares that it is much more than a
legal agreement. In fact, Scripture tells us that marriage was established by God Himself.
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Marriage is a divine institution in which God Himself joins the lives of two people. He has designed marriage for
the welfare and happiness of the people He has created.
Jesus also taught this same view of marriage, as we read in Matthew 19:6 which says, "Therefore what God has
joined together, let not man separate." Jesus taught that God instituted marriage to be a lifelong union.
The New Testament teaches how this marriage relationship is to exist each day in the life of husband and wife.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave
himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the
husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as
the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your
wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing
with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any
other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just
as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and
mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery – but I am
talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and
the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)
II. Getting Started
On the basis of Scripture, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church has established the following policy.
1. Wedding Ceremony
We believe that a wedding ceremony is a worship service, therefore all elements of the service including the vows, the
music, service folders, photographs, flowers, and the conduct of the wedding party shall seek to honor Christ and
implore God’s blessings upon the couple. For this reason the wedding service requires careful planning in
consultation with and the approval of the pastor.
2. Who may be married at Zion?
We believe that a Christian wedding is one of the privileges of church membership, therefore:
A. Weddings may be held at Zion Lutheran Church when at least one of the couple is a member of the congregation, or
with the approval of the pastor.
B. Members of a church in fellowship with us may make an application to be married with Zion’s pastor. They must
have a valid reason for wanting to be married at Zion, and they must notify their home pastor(s) of their intentions.
Note from Zion’s Board of Elders: Members of Lamb of God Lutheran Church of Everett, Washington, will be
assessed as members of Zion Lutheran Church for weddings until they have their own facilities. [4/3/97]
C. Members who worship regularly and are active in the life of Zion Lutheran Church, and family members (children or
grandchildren) of active Zion Lutheran Church members may be married here with the approval of Zion’s pastor.
3. Premarital Guidance
We believe that marriage is a lifelong union of one man and one woman unto one flesh. Marriage has been instituted
by God, therefore we require that every couple seeking to be married at Zion participate in marriage preparation
activities with Zion’s pastor or by other arrangement regarding the practical and spiritual aspects of a Christ-centered
4. Civil Ceremony
Persons who have been married in a civil ceremony are welcome to have their marriage vows blessed by the church.
(Inform the pastor if this is your situation.)
The following arrangements should be made before making further plans for your wedding:
5. Initial Arrangements
Your preparation for a wedding at Zion begins with your initial consultation with the pastor.
When reserving a date, please remember that Holy Week (the dates of which change each year) begins on Palm
Sunday and concludes on Easter Sunday. Since this is a period of time when all the attention of the church is
directed toward Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, no weddings take place at Zion.
o Normally, only ONE wedding is scheduled per day. In the rare instance that a second wedding is scheduled,
that wedding party must comply with Zion’s scheduling needs.
o Payment of $100 fee is required to reserve your wedding date. This amount will be applied to the total fee. If
you cancel your wedding, the fee is refundable up to 30 days prior to your scheduled date. (Discretion for
extreme circumstances allowed.)
6. The Pastor
The pastor who will officiate at your wedding service has been called by Zion Lutheran Church to "preside
at rites of the church." That means it is the responsibility of the pastor to see that your marriage service is
performed in keeping with the policies of the congregation and within the tradition of the Christian Church.
The pastor from Zion will be the officiant. The pastor from Zion will also decide the extent of participation by any
guest pastor. Only pastors on the clergy roster of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod will be considered.
7. The Wedding Coordinator
All weddings will utilize the services of Zion’s Wedding Coordinator. The Wedding Coordinator should not be
confused with a personal attendant or wedding planner. Rather, the Wedding Coordinator is primarily a
representative of Zion Lutheran Church to be the liaison between the couple and the church. The Wedding
Coordinator can be of assistance to you by answering many questions regarding the wedding process. The
primary task of the Wedding Coordinator is to ensure that your wedding service flows as smoothly as possible.
The Wedding Coordinator will be at the rehearsal, and on site to assist the pastor and wedding party on your
wedding day until the service is over.
8. The Parish Hall Coordinator
All events in our Parish Hall will utilize the services of Zion’s Parish Hall Coordinator. The Parish Hall Coordinator can
answer questions about our Parish Hall & facility use.
9. The Organist
The regular church organist administers use of the organ at Zion. Normally, the organist of Zion will play at all weddings
where organ music is desired. We will provide you with the name of the organist and it will be your responsibility to
contact her/him directly to discuss the music. If our organist is not available, the Wedding Coordinator can suggest a
substitute. Should you desire another organist, she/he should be trained and have experience with a pipe organ. Permission
for any organist not on our list must be obtained from Zion’s church organist.
In addition to an organist, some couples like to incorporate a vocalist or instrumentalists (e.g. flute,
trumpet, string quartet, etc.) within the ceremony. Please discuss this with the organist in your initial
contact. This will allow plenty of time to schedule extra rehearsals.
Arrangements for the sound system must be made no later than 30 days in advance.
11. The Rehearsal
A rehearsal is not always required, but is helpful. Please discuss this option with the pastor.
It is a good idea to set aside approximately 1½ hours for the rehearsal. It is important for everyone to
arrive on time. All attendants, ushers, parents of the bride and groom, musicians, and readers should be
present. In order for the rehearsal to run smoothly, and on time, you may want to limit the number of
other people at the rehearsal. Have other guests meet you at the rehearsal dinner.
Things to bring with you to the rehearsal
[ ] Rings [ ] Unity Candle and tapers and other candles for candelabra
[ ] Bulletins [ ] Checks for musicians, etc. …
[ ] Decorations [ ] Other…
Many times it is difficult for the pastor to attend either your rehearsal dinner or your wedding reception
if it is held away from the church. If you would like either the pastor or the pastor and his wife to attend
such events, please invite them well in advance (at the same time you send your other invitations is
customary). This will give the pastor time to respond to your invitation and avoid surprises.
12. The License
For all but the blessing of a civil marriage, couples must secure a license to marry from a county courthouse in the
state of Washington. No exceptions! Please be sure it is delivered to the church office at least 1 week before the
13. Rented items
You are responsible for any rentals beyond that which the church owns. Any floral stands or other items
rented for your wedding must be delivered and picked up within the time set aside for your wedding and
reception. We will not store items that do not belong to us. The church assumes no liability for rental
No furnishings or appointments in the church building are to be moved without prior permission (this
includes the piano, bell choir tables, and altar furnishings).
15. Seating capacities
Sanctuary: (Seating capacity) 200
Parish Hall: (Room capacity) 263; (Seating capacity) 200
16. Handicap accessibility
There is an elevator in the church.
Parish Hall is wheelchair accessible from the Union Street entrance.
Parking lot __#?__ spaces, plus 2 spaces for disabled. Street parking is available.
III.Planning the Wedding Worship Service
The order for marriage in the Lutheran Service Book is not a rigid form. The liturgy, like marriage itself, is meant
to open doors to possibilities, not to exclude creativity. The pastor will discuss liturgical options with you as you
meet to plan your wedding.
1. Outline of the Marriage Worship Service
You may use the following outline in order to develop a bulletin for your wedding service.
Prelude (organ, instrumental music)
Procession (organ, instrumental or congregational hymn)
Prayer of the Day
Hymn or Solo (optional)
Lessons (one or two scriptural passages may be read here)
Hymn or Solo (optional)
The Exchange of Vows and Rings
Pronouncement of Marriage
The Lighting of the Unity Candle (optional)
Hymn or Solo (option - during the lighting of the unity candle)
Blessing by parents and wedding party (optional)
The Lord's Prayer
Introduction of the Couple (optional)
Recession (organ, instrumental or congregational hymn)
The pastor who presides at the wedding is the final judge as to what is appropriate. Family and/or friends
may be used to read the statement about marriage, to read lessons, or to assist in the prayers.
The paraments (altar cloths) at Zion are designed and used according to the church year. They are not
decorations. Thus the paraments may not be changed for your wedding in order to coordinate with colors
you have chosen. At times, other appointments are used in front of the church to emphasize liturgical
seasons. These too, are not to be changed for weddings. Decorations outside of free-standing floral
arrangements need to be approved by the Wedding Coordinator.
Floral decorations may be used. Real flowers are encouraged for use in the chancel and on the altar.
It is your responsibility to arrange for flowers.
In addition to the candles upon the altar, Zion also has freestanding candelabra that you may use. Check
with your Wedding Coordinator to reserve these and to arrange their placement in the church. The use of
these and other decorations should be discussed with the Wedding Coordinator. The candelabra hold 7
candles each (14 total). Candles should be 10” or 12” tall (12” might be better because the church is so
big). Candles should be ¾” in diameter.
It is your responsibility to arrange for dripless and smokeless candles.
If an aisle runner is to be use, it will need to be a minimum of 50 feet long. (The aisle is 48’ 7” from the
door to the bottom altar step. The center carpet is 57” wide.)
Decorations are to be removed immediately after the ceremony. (Flowers may be left for worship – please
let the pastor & Wedding Coordinator know as soon as possible if this is the case.)
Any other items not picked up after 10 days will be disposed of by the congregation.
3. Unity Candle
The Unity Candle is a recent innovation in the marriage service. Lighting the candle visually symbolizes
the joining of two lives in marriage. Symbols make a lasting impression so it is important that we use
them with care. You are invited to light a unity candle during your marriage ceremony if you desire. The
pastor officiating at your wedding will discuss the most appropriate methods of lighting the candle and
the messages these methods denote to the congregation. Note: You are responsible to provide your
own unity candle along with two dripless tapers (side candles and holders).
4. Recorded Music
Some couples ask to use recorded music. While there is nothing inherently wrong with recorded music, you should know that
live accompaniment could head off many of the technical difficulties associated with recordings. Missed cues and long pauses are
uncomfortable for everyone, and ultimately detract from the beauty of the occasion. If recorded music is desired, please contact
the Wedding Coordinator so special arrangements for the sound system technician can be arranged.
5. Instrumental Music
Throughout the centuries music has been one of the primary vehicles that the church has employed to praise
and thank God. There is a vast selection of music that is particularly appropriate for wedding ceremonies.
Remember that your wedding is a worship service. Therefore it is important to choose music that emphasizes
our praise and thanks to God.
The congregational organist has many selections and will assist you in your musical selections. If the organist has a
question regarding the appropriateness of a song you will be asked to contact the pastor for final determination. Please
remember: "Whenever music is employed in the service and by whatever instruments or voices, it should be of high
quality and not cloud the mood of the service with triteness or sentimentality. It should moreover be within the ability
of the performers at hand to play or sing with assurance." (Manual on the Liturgy p. 348).
6. Vocal Music
If you are wondering about whether or not a vocal selection is appropriate for your wedding, here is a tip: If you can
answer "yes" to any of the following questions, the music is probably appropriate:
1. Does the music/text reflect praise and/or thanksgiving to God?
2. Is the song based on, or does it reflect a scriptural theme?
3. Is this song in the form of a prayer?
The following selections are examples of vocal music that are inappropriate for use
during a wedding worship service:
I Swear You're my Hero Endless Love
Speak Softly, Love The Wind Beneath My Wings Love Can Build a Bridge
Since the wedding service is a worship service, it is appropriate for those gathered to sing together. A hymn
also adds to the sense of participation in the service by those attending. Hymns may be sung in place of other
vocal music or instrumental procession and recession.
7. Scripture Readings
Usually, two scripture lessons are read during the wedding service. You may choose to have more or less. The order of
worship indicates that at least one lesson should be read. In addition to readings from the Bible, a selection from a
secular source may be used if it is in harmony with the spirit of a Christian worship service and with the biblical
understanding of marriage. Be especially careful with poetry. Many love poems are personal and private expressions
not appropriate for public reading at a wedding. (The pastor must approve all non-scripture readings.)
IV. Additional Notes:
1. Wedding Party
A minimum of two ushers (more if more than 150 guests) is necessary in order to seat and dismiss worshipers.
Ushers should be mature people, as the nature of their task requires confidence and decisiveness. The Wedding
Coordinator will go over their duties with them at the rehearsal.
Carefully consider the maturity of child(ren) when including them in your wedding party.
You are urged to have your wedding party arrive at the church on time.
2. Dressing Areas
Room 3 / 4 in the church has a large mirror in it and is available for the bride and her attendants to dress/prepare.
Room 2 in the church is available for the groom and his attendants (sorry – no mirror). There is no secure area for
valuables. As a precaution, all doors to the church basement will be locked after the wedding service begins.
Latecomers will need to use the front doors. The church assumes no responsibility (liability) for loss or damage to
personal belongings. Please take appropriate precautions.
Please remove belongings from the church as soon as possible after the wedding. The church building will be
locked shortly after the wedding service is concluded. Please arrange for someone to care for the personal
belongings and have the items removed by 1 hour after the end of the wedding service.
No children are to be left unattended.
No nursery is provided for the children.
An unstaffed “comfort” room with a rocking chair and changing table is provided at the back of the sanctuary.
We strongly suggest that formal pictures be taken before the service.
It is important that pictures be done in an efficient manner and concluded at least 30 minutes before the wedding
service is scheduled to begin.
You will be able to join your guests at the reception in a more timely fashion by having your pictures taken before
the ceremony. Some may object to this practice because of the tradition of "not seeing the bride" before her
march down the aisle. The origin of this tradition however, dates back to the 1800's and arranged marriages where
the groom was not allowed to see the bride's face before the ceremony was completed to assure that he would not
back out of the arrangement.
Please inform your photographer that pictures will be taken before the ceremony and that the time needs to be
limited to one hour and fifteen minutes.
Video taping your ceremony is permissible, but must be done in an unobtrusive manner. The Wedding
Coordinator will talk with your videographer about camera placement. For connection to the church sound
system, please consult the Wedding Coordinator. Videotaping can also be done by Zion’s videotaping crew for an
additional fee. Please talk to the Wedding Coordinator if this is something in which you are interested.
No flash pictures may be taken during the wedding service.
It is helpful, but not necessary, to have printed bulletins to inform members of the congregation of the order of
worship and the names of participants in the worship service. You should discuss the use of the bulletin with the
pastor. Purchase of bulletin covers and printing are the responsibility of the couple. Zion’s church office can print
wedding bulletins with sufficient notice. The couple must provide the bulletin covers.
Note: The bulletin is the best place to remind the worshipers that no flash pictures should be taken during the
service and a reminder to shut off all electronic items (see sample note below).
In order to maintain the focus of the worship service - please mute all personal electronic devices (pagers,
watches, cell phones, toys, etc.) before the beginning of the worship service and please refrain from using
cameras with flash during the ceremony. Thank You.
Make arrangements to receive and store gifts at the wedding and the reception. At least 2 people are needed to be
in charge of the gifts. The church assumes no responsibility (liability) for loss or damage to gifts. Please take
V. Prohibited Items
Tobacco in any form, illicit drugs, firearms, and alcoholic beverages (except for the wine used in Holy
Communion) shall not be permitted on the premises.
o It is not uncommon for alcoholic beverages to be consumed at the occasion of a wedding. Should you
choose to have your wedding at Zion, we ask you to inform your friends and family that no alcohol (or
drugs) may be consumed/used on the premises (parking lots or any other church property). Ask
your friends to take it easy with alcohol at your rehearsal dinner and to abstain completely prior to the
rehearsal and wedding ceremony. While weddings are cause for celebration, they are also solemn
occasions of worship, requiring a certain standard of behavior. Weddings at Zion are a privilege;
therefore, the pastor and Wedding Coordinator may dismiss any persons in the wedding party or at the
wedding who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
No pets allowed in the church or parish hall (except service animals).
No food, drink, or chewing gum inside the sanctuary (where the service takes place).
VI. After the Ceremony
1. Do not throw anything (rice, birdseed, confetti, etc.) inside church facilities.
We ask that you do not throw rice at your wedding. Originally the throwing of rice was done to increase fertility
(symbolizing the close relationship between women and the life-bearing grain). Because rice is a slippery mess when wet and
difficult to clean up, people started throwing birdseed or using bubbles. Birdseed is also extremely difficult to clean up. If
you wish to be showered with something as you leave the church or your reception, bubbles are preferable. We ask that
nothing of this nature be thrown (blown) inside the building. Confetti and rice are not permitted on the church property.
Releasing balloons is also discouraged.
2. The Reception/Parish Hall Use
Arrangements for wedding receptions at the church must be made with the Parish Hall Coordinator or the
Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML). The contact name(s) will be provided by the Wedding
3. The Service of the LWML
LWML service for wedding receptions includes setting up the tables and chairs. White butcher paper is put on the
guest tables unless the bride has something special she wants on them. (Tables are 8’ x 3’)
Lace table clothes are put on the punch and the bride’s tables. Bride’s table consists of a table for coffee and tea, a
table for the cake and a table for the cake plates and forks.
The church has silver coffee and tea service, which includes sugar, creamer and sugar tongs.
There is a crystal punch bowl for the punch. The cake is served on glass snack plates.
LWML has a clean up crew that will come in to put the table and chairs away as well as sweep the floors.
The ladies work the kitchen side of the reception by filling the coffee and tea for the person pouring them. We
restock the cake plates, forks, napkins and the coffee cups.
The bride is to supply the coffee, tea, sugar cubes and half and half creamer. The cake is to be put together, if
needed, by the person delivering the cake.
If the bride wishes to have nuts and mints, she must also supply them.
The bride also provides napkins and punch cups for both the bride’s table and the punch table. We recommend
5 ounce cups for the punch. The punch supplies along with a written recipe are required.
If the bride is to have a buffet, she is to supply paper plates, plastic silverware and napkins as well as the food.
The church does not have any chafing dishes.
We recommend ice rings be made for the punch using the main ingredients instead of ice. When the ice ring
melts, it adds flavor to the punch instead of diluting it.
It is considered an honor to be asked to cut the cake or pour the punch and the coffee. The bride is to ask her
family and friends to do this. We recommend two people for the cake, at least two people for the punch, and two
to four people for the coffee. The number for the coffee depends on if she uses one or two coffee/tea service. The
extra for the coffee and the punch is to allow the people to rotate and be allowed time to mingle.
Set up is usually done the night of the rehearsal, which allows the bride time to bring in the items for the
Please notify LWML as soon as possible to allow us time to get a crew set up and to allow us time to meet with
the bride and family if they so choose. We will show you the silver service and the lace table clothes as well as
discuss set up of the table and chairs.
The LWML looks forward to helping you make your wedding reception a stress free and memorable time.
NOTE: no alcohol is permitted. If the bridal party wishes to have a toast, sparkling cider is recommended.
Wedding Guidebook for Zion.doc (4/17/06 jd)