A message from PPC to the Happy Couple:
A wedding is a thrilling, joyful, life-changing event, celebrated with delight and pleasure with family and friends. The center of that event is the worship service where a couple makes life-long promises to one another in the presence of God, with the assurance of God’s blessing upon the relationship.
If you have decided you want to be married at PPC, we encourage you to begin noting your questions and concerns for discussion with the pastor. Each conference will begin with a time to review those concerns and questions. We want your wedding service to be an expression of you and your love for one another.
We at PPC promise to do all that we can to help prepare you for the joys and responsibilities of your new life together following the exchange of your wedding vows.
During the time of preparation, we welcome and encourage you to make a special effort to attend Sunday worship services with us. One of the best ways to assure the health of your relationship is to worship weekly, becoming one in a life of faith through prayer, worship and service. If you would like to consider becoming a member of the congregation, we would be happy to talk with you about that as well.
Above all, we want you to know that we remain available to help you through this important time in your lives. In the weeks, months and years that follow, we promise to be available to help you continue to grow in your life together.
Weddings Policies & FAQ:
Arranging for a wedding at PPC and frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Weddings at Poland Presbyterian Church :
Must we be members of Poland Presbyterian Church to be married here?
No. We only require that at least one member of the couple be a professing Christian. Non-member weddings must be approved by the Head of Staff and the Church Session.
One of us is Christian and the other comes from another faith tradition. Can we be married at PPC?
Interfaith marriages require special care and counsel. If a couple is considering such a marriage, they should seek the counsel of their religious leaders long before attempting to plan a marriage service. If the pastors at PPC are confident that in marriage the couple can continue to live and express their faiths while fulfilling the expectations of Christian marriage, they will be glad to officiate at the service. Aspects of other faith traditions that are in keeping with Christian worship may be included in the wedding service.
Does the church permit divorced persons to remarry?
Yes. The gospel is not about punishing people for their pasts, but about inviting them to new life. However, before the church will marry a divorced person, it is essential that an honest assessment of the former marriage be taken. Our pastors are trained to assist with such discussions and will lead the couple through this conversation in pre-marriage preparation, discussing factors that caused the failure of the earlier marriage.
Who can serve as officiating pastor?
Each wedding at PPC will be officiated by a member of our pastoral staff. You may request a specific PPC pastor, or a pastor will be appointed on the basis of his or her availability. If you are interested in having a non PPC pastor officiate or participate in the service, you should indicate this to the officiating pastor during your first meeting. Ecumenical weddings are welcomed at PPC. Ministers or priests (or clergy of non-Christian traditions) are invited to participate in the service by the officiating pastor, whose responsibility it is to make those arrangements. The couple is responsible for the preparation or approval of any documents that may be required by another denomination. Also, theirs is the responsibility of providing an honorarium for the visiting clergy.
May we include family and friends in service leadership?
It is very appropriate for family and friends to be invited to participate in the leadership of the service, often being asked to read from Scripture. We ask that you keep in mind, however, that in the same way that weddings are times of great joy, they can also be times of considerable stress. So consult with the pastor about this.
Does the church require pre-marriage counseling?
Yes. Though each pastor at PPC has a slightly different approach to pre-marriage preparation, the conversations generally focus on the couple’s relational history and expectations, family backgrounds, work and financial issues and other pertinent areas that will impact the development of the marriage.
May we include the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in our wedding service?
The Lord’s Supper may be celebrated if both the husband and wife are professing Christians. When the sacrament is celebrated it must be offered to all baptized people attending the service. Often the pastor will ask the bride and groom to assist in serving the elements to the congregation. The pastor will be glad to speak further with you about this at your first pre-marriage conference. The inclusion of the Lord’s Supper usually extends the service by no more than ten minutes.
How long is a typical service?
Services range in length from thirty-five minutes to an hour, depending on the order of worship.
Is the church accessible for people with disabilities?
Yes. There is wheelchair accessibility from the south end (at rear of Education Building, take elevator to 2nd floor.) ADA bathroom facilities are available on the 3rd floor of the Christian education building.
What about a printed program for our wedding?
Couples often enjoy having a printed program, especially if the service will include congregational participation. Programs can be produced by an outside printer however, the officiating pastor will provide the final order of worship. A final copy of the service and the list of participants will need to be provided to the pastor.
May we throw rice or release balloons?
Exuberant delight in a new marriage is understandable, but for many reasons we do not permit the throwing of rice, confetti or birdseed, all of which litter the sidewalk for others and may sometimes present a hazard. Balloons are an ecological hazard and can suffocate birds that may attempt to eat them. Friends and family are most welcome to gather on the steps and sidewalk of the church for celebration and photographs, but please do not throw things that create hazards for the church.
The pastors and staff at Poland Presbyterian church (PPC) consider it a privilege to assist you in having your wedding service here. In addition to assuring that the service is a beautiful beginning to a vital and successful marriage, the pastoral staff will continue to be available to you for consultation and support as your life as husband and wife unfolds.
We hope that you will find the information here helpful in resolving questions you may have about planning a wedding service at PPC. We have attempted to address general as well as more detailed concerns that are often discussed in conferences with couples anticipating marriage. Please read through this brochure, noting any questions you may have.
A Christian wedding involves not only the bride and groom but also a community of family and friends who come together as worshipers for the marriage service, seeking God’s blessing in the life of the bride and groom. It is a joyous and reverent celebration of God’s grace, active in the lives of all husbands and wives, parents and children, family and friends.
The service proclaims that marriage is a gift created by God, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit. It presumes that you both share the belief that marriage is a life-long covenant of mutual love, faithfulness and service. It also presumes you want your wedding to take place in the church as an expression of your own faith and desire to have God as an ongoing partner in your marriage.
The Service for Christian Marriage of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the official service used for weddings at PPC. Because the ceremony is a witness to the Christian gospel and its understanding of marriage, the content of the service is under the supervision of the officiating pastor. Within the liturgy there are ample opportunities for a couple to shape a service that expresses their lives and faith commitments. Members of the wedding party, family or friends may participate in the service. While the officiating pastor will provide a list of suggested scripture readings from which to choose, the liturgy also provides opportunities for specific requests for music, scripture lessons, hymns, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and the inclusion of other personalized expressions of commitment.
Arranging for a Wedding at PPC
The church facilities are available to people of this community for wedding ceremonies, both to members and non-members alike (Non-member weddings must be approved by the session, which is the governing body of the church). The sanctuary seats 280. Weddings traditionally take place on Saturdays. Occasionally, a Sunday afternoon service is possible, when other church programs are not using the spaces. Similarly, it is possible to schedule services on weekdays, when program needs permit.
When considering holding your wedding at PPC, contact the church’s Office Personnel (330-757-1547). Arrangements for the wedding and rehearsal dates must be cleared through the church office and head pastor.* The Office Personnel can tell you whether the dates you are contemplating for the wedding and rehearsal are presently available and will pencil them into the church’s calendar on a tentative basis. However, conferences with one of the ministers are required and no definite commitment for a wedding will be made until after at least one conference. A deposit** of $250 (non-members) and $100 (member) will then be required to reserve the space. (The deposit will be applied to your final church fees.) Only after receipt of deposit will the wedding date and rehearsal date be confirmed.
*If two requests are made for the same date/time, preference will be given to members of Poland Presbyterian Church.
** The deposit will be put against the remainder of the full amount of the Basic Building Usage Fee. The remaining amount of the total overall fee based on the fee schedule attached must reach the church office one week before the wedding date. A full refund will be given 2 months prior to the date reserved if cancellation is needed.
In meeting with the pastor the following will be discussed: an opportunity for the pastor and couple to get to know one another better. Pre-marital counseling, which will cover three broad topics (1) Nature of Marriage, (2) Christianity in Marriage, and (3) How to navigate a marriage. Also, to be covered is planning of the actual worship service, a tour of the sanctuary, an understanding of what will happen on your wedding day, and any questions that the couple may have. The couple will need to meet with the pastor at least twice and may need other meetings as well.
The Wedding Ceremony
It is customary for one of the ministers of this church to preside at all weddings. If, for any reason, it is desired to have a guest clergy conduct or assist in the ceremony, this should be cleared with the minister BEFORE arrangements are made with the guest minister. The minister of Poland Presbyterian Church will extend an invitation to the guest clergy with the permission of the church’s Session.
Music for the Wedding
The wedding ceremony is a service of worship, and the music for the service should be appropriate in expressing gratitude and praise to God for the gift of marriage. (Secular or popular songs of special meaning to you are better reserved for the wedding reception.)
Our church organists are available for weddings. After your initial meeting with the officiating pastor you should contact the Director of Music, to discuss the music for the service, including any hymns to be sung by the congregation. If you plan to use one of the organists, it will be included with the wedding fee. If neither of the church’s organists is available to play at the wedding, or if another organist is desired, this fact must be made known to the Director of Music at least two months prior to the date of the wedding. The guest organist must be approved by the Director of Music.
Vocal and instrumental soloists can add great beauty to a service. If you wish to have a friend or family member sing or play at the service, arrangements must be made with the officiating pastor at the service planning conference. All soloists must be present at the wedding rehearsal for a musical run-through with the organist. (The organist may accompany the soloist on piano if this is preferred.)
The minister will approve the music to be sung or played by soloists before and during the wedding service. Remember this is a CHRISTIAN WORSHIP SERVICE and the music selected should be appropriate for such a service.
Other Professional Services
The level of involvement of other professional-photographers, videographers, florists and wedding coordinators — is at the discretion of the officiating pastor. The following policies are to be honored:
Photography and Videography
Guidelines and policies preceding and following the wedding service are different than those necessary during the service itself. Formal photographs of the wedding party can be taken within the sanctuary for up to one and a half hours before the service, and formal photographs and “reenactments” of the service may be arranged in the sanctuary following the closing recessional for a period not to exceed one hour.
Though photographic and video recording of a wedding service can be a great blessing for remembering the ceremony over the years, unrestricted use of cameras can be distracting and disruptive. Photographers and their assistants moving without constraint during the service is an unnecessary distraction and inappropriate in a service of worship. To ensure that worship itself remains the focus during the service, the following policies have been established:
Gifts and Personal Equipment
The church is not responsible for gifts, guest books, cameras, or any other items left after the wedding. Similarly, the church is not responsible for loss and/or damage of items belonging to the wedding party and guests. A member of the wedding party should remove candles, flowers, etc. within one hour following any wedding and/or reception. If the wedding party wishes to retain the floral arrangements, they should do so immediately following the service. The building must be vacated one hour after the service is over.
Direction of the Wedding Ceremony
Such detailed arrangements as instruction to the ushers and bridal party will be the responsibility of the minister conducting the service. No wedding consultant should be engaged in this responsibility without prior permission of the minister. The ministers of the church have been trained to conduct all religious ceremonies of which this is one. Additionally, PPC will provide a church wedding coordinator to give instruction, and work alongside with the pastor as well as the bride and groom to ensure that the wedding rehearsal and wedding go smoothly. This person is familiar with the church policy and follows the instructions of the officiating pastor.
A former pastor of the congregation should not be asked to officiate at the service or to provide counsel or any other pastoral function. Friendship between a former pastor and members may continue until “death do us part” but pastoral ministry and the pastoral relationship properly lasts only if the pastor-congregation relationship exists. Under special circumstances a former pastor may be invited to assist or officiate. This exception must be approved by the Head of Staff and the Session.
Floral displays contribute to the sense of celebration at a wedding, but we ask that restraint be shown in decorating the sanctuary and narthex, taking into consideration the elegant simplicity of the worship spaces at PPC. Wedding vows are exchanged in front of the Communion Table, which means that floral displays need to be placed at the sides of the chancel. Two flower stands are available and sufficient for a festive atmosphere. Flowers and other decorations cannot be tacked or otherwise attached to sanctuary furniture or fittings as well as doors (internal and external) and hand railings. If aisle petals are dropped a handful is sufficient.
The selection of a florist is the responsibility of the wedding couple. The florist should be informed of these guidelines.
Aisle runners (approx. 75 feet) are permitted but are strongly discouraged due to safety issues and time restraints and not necessary for a beautiful wedding. The church does not possess an aisle runner. Should you wish to have one, it will be your responsibility to provide it.
The church does own candles that are attached to the end of the pews. These candles can be made available upon request.
Church Furniture and Equipment
The movement of any equipment and furniture, if necessary, is the responsibility of the church’s custodian. The custodian is also responsible for moving the equipment or furniture back to its original place following the wedding service. Members and family of the wedding party should not endeavor to move such items. Nails, thumbtacks, or screws may not be used to fasten decorations to any of the furniture. Floral arrangements should enhance the symbols of the church and not hide them. Flowers may not be placed on the Communion Table or the piano. Flower stands are available from the church, if desired.
We are happy to share our facilities for weddings. We want your wedding day to be joyous and meaningful. We ask that the church building be used responsibly and fairly. The church building will be available two hours before the service and one hour after the service. Poland Presbyterian Church is a NON-SMOKING FACILITY. Persons of your wedding party and guests are to smoke in the Parking Lot – away from the building.
Please also note: No alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are permitted in the church building or on the church grounds.
Wedding rehearsals will begin promptly at the scheduled time. All members of the wedding party, including parents, readers, ushers, soloists and musicians, are expected to attend. Routinely, rehearsals take one hour. For very small weddings or wedding parties, a rehearsal may not be necessary. The decision as to whether a rehearsal is necessary will be made by the officiating pastor, in consultation with the couple.
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