In Christian marriage two partners enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and receive a pledge of support from their family, friends, and community. At Holy Communion we take marriage seriously and understand that loving and committed relationships are a gift from God.
All weddings at Holy Communion are conducted according to the Book of Common Prayer and our theological understanding of marriage is embedded in the marriage rite itself. The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (found in The Book of Common Prayer, p. 423) begins with these words:
“Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of these two people in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation . . .”
Marriage is a covenant made between two people (not a ceremony performed by a priest). God established marriage to be a joining of two people into a union of “heart, body and mind.” The church, represented by bishop or priest, blesses the union; but the couple, through the exchange of vows and rings, makes a marriage.
The clergy and parish staff will work with you to create a meaningful service of worship and a good beginning for your marriage.
Holy Communion celebrates both same-gender and opposite gender marriages, and the same requirements exist for all people seeking marriage.
Blessing of a Civil Marriage
The blessing of a civil marriage can also be performed. Preparation for this is made in consultation with one of the clergy, to whom a couple should speak directly. Sometimes these services take place during the Sunday morning worship service, or they can be a stand alone service, like a traditional wedding.
Getting Married at Holy Communion
Step 1: Complete and submit a wedding application
The wedding application requests all the information we will need to consider your request to hold your ceremony Holy Communion. Requests for wedding dates should be made at least 90 days prior to the desired date of the ceremony. Once we have reviewed your application and confirmed that the wedding date you request is available we will confirm the date with you and assign a member of the clergy to serve as officiant for the wedding.
Step 2: Meet with clergy
After the wedding date has been confirmed one of the parish clergy will contact you to set up an initial meeting to get acquainted, go over basic wedding details and plan for pre-marital counseling. A priest from another parish with whom the couple has a close personal relationship may assist in the ceremony and preparation by prior arrangement with the rector. The couple will have several meetings with the priest to discuss the spiritual significance of the wedding ceremony as well as scripture selections, music options, flowers and other logistics.
Step 3: Pre-marital counseling
The Episcopal Church requires couples that wish to marry to take part in pre-marital counseling. Please speak with the priest who will bless your marriage to make arrangements.
Use of the Building for Receptions
Questions about the use of the Parish Hall for wedding receptions should be directed to Angela Breeher. Please note, however, that we do not allow Saturday evening receptions that last beyond 6 pm, as we must prepare for services Sunday morning.
Photography and Video
All weddings are worship services. It is important that efforts to capture the ceremony in photography or film be unobtrusive, so that everyone—bride, groom, wedding party, family members and guests—can give their complete attention to the ceremony. We have specific requirements for wedding photographers and videographers. They should speak to the priest before the ceremony.
Other Important Details
• If either of the parties is divorced, a copy of the divorce decree must be given to the clergy at the beginning of pre-marital counseling. The priest will apply to the Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri for permission to officiate. The application is not onerous and is designed to offer a way to reflect on the relationship that has ended and the well being of children (if any) from the previous marriage.
• The couple is responsible for securing a marriage license in the State of Missouri. The License should be turned into the church office at least 72 hours before the ceremony.
• The celebration of marriage at Holy Communion is normally reserved for our members and their family members, adults who may live elsewhere but grew up in the parish, and members of other congregations who would like to be married in St. Louis. If you are interested in exploring membership in Holy Communion, please sign up for our Pilgrimage class for Newcomers.
• The canons of the Episcopal Church require that at least one of the parties to the marriage be a baptized Christian and the wedding ceremony is attested to by at least two witnesses.
• Clergy from other traditions may be invited to assist in the ceremony, by invitation of the rector. Please speak with the clergy person about how to make these arrangements.
• We do not ordinarily celebrate marriage in places other than the Church or chapel (for very small weddings).
• In accordance with ancient church custom, marriage is not celebrated in the season of Lent.
• The Episcopal Church requires that the vows be stated precisely as they appear in the Book of Common Prayer.