Wedding Policy

The governing body of the congregation has established the following policies and practices to insure that the wedding will be a good experience for the church and for the couple.

Weddings at First Presbyterian Church are to be scheduled through the pastor at a time when the buildings to be used are free for such use. The wedding fee includes use of the sanctuary for 2 hours. The building will be open one hour prior to the start time of the wedding. If you need access to the sanctuary earlier, you will need to make special arrangements and an additional fee may be charged. The fee also includes use of the sanctuary for one hour for the wedding rehearsal. The building will be open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the rehearsal and will be closed exactly one hour after the agreed upon start time. Please be on time.

Normally the pastor on the staff of the church shall conduct the ceremony. When this is not possible or when the couple request another minister, another minister may be invited to conduct the service upon the invitation of the pastor, or in his/her absence, the Clerk of the Session or Chair of the Worship Committee. Whoever conducts the ceremony should be a duly ordained minister of a church in correspondence with the Presbyterian Church (USA). This person must be registered with the State of Louisiana, and the service must be consistent with the ones suggested in The Book of Common Worship.

Whenever persons to be married at First Presbyterian Church are not members of this congregation, it is expected that at least one of them must show satisfactory evidence of his/her membership in a Christian church or of his/her faith as a Christian. For unless the vows be spoken from the heart of a Christian, there seems to be no substantial reason for having the service in a Christian church.

Those who seek the services of the minister of First Presbyterian Church for a marriage service will be expected to participate in pre-marital counseling. Such counseling is for strengthening the relationship of the couple to be married. There will normally be two sessions, one to get to know the couple and discuss family background, marriage expectations, finances, religious background and other matters. The second session will be devoted to determining how the service will be conducted (methods of procession down the aisle, who is seated, etc.).

The pastor provides the couple with a marriage ceremony that includes choices to be made by the couple such as prayers to be used, forms of marriage vows, various statements on the gift of marriage, and possible Scriptures to be read. The couple makes these choices in consultation with the minister and a customized marriage ceremony is produced that is satisfactory to the couple and the minister.

Those who present themselves for marriage must, without exception, provide a license granted by the State of Louisiana authorizing a minister to perform the marriage.

Those who are to have the wedding service at First Presbyterian Church will be expected to plan their floral decorations so that they will not be so lavish that they are not in keeping with the worship furnishings. These arrangements should be placed in a way that they do not interfere with the proper arrangements of the pulpit furniture for a worship service. Wire may not be used to affix bows or flowers to the pews or any wood or metal surface. It is our desire also that all will comply with our wish for simplicity, enough to assure our intention that no couple coming to this church for their wedding would ever feel that they could not "compete" with lavish floral displays sometimes seen at weddings. Candles may be used so long as care is taken not to get wax on furniture or carpet, and so long as safety factors are taken into consideration. No candles can be placed in the center aisle or side aisles. The candles and candelabra in the sanctuary are available to be used in the service. No lighted candles may be carried by anyone in the wedding party. The chancel furniture can not be moved.

All decorations, extra programs, unity candles, ring pillows, pew bows, and all other wedding accoutrements must be removed from the church when the wedding party leaves. We operate a busy building and cannot be responsible for items that are left. All decorations, aside from fresh floral arrangements that are intended to be a donation to the church for the enjoyment of the congregation at the next worship service must be removed from the sanctuary. You are welcome to throw flower petals, birdseed, rice, etc., as long as a person of your designation cleans up the remnants of such festivities. Silk flower petals may NOT be thrown outside of the church.

Pictures may be taken before and after the wedding service. It is our preference that timed exposures may be taken from the back of the sanctuary or balcony during the service. Flash cameras may be used while the wedding party is making its entrance up the aisle but after the entrance of the bride, only minimal flash photography is to be used during the rest of the service. Photographers are not to move about taking pictures during the service. Video cameras may be used during the service so long as they operate from a fixed position either in the back or front of the sanctuary or balcony. No special video lights are to be used during the service. The officiant will be glad to pose after the service with the wedding party for any photographs that may be necessary.*  
*Guest officiants may choose to waive these restrictions or impose others. Please check with the presiding officiant.

The fee structure for a wedding at First Presbyterian Church is attached. All fees are to be paid to the church by checks made out to the church except for the music fees. A deposit of $500 is necessary to hold the date for a wedding. The remainder of the wedding fee is due two months before the wedding. The wedding party will not be allowed in the building on the wedding day until all fees are paid. Payments must be in the form of a check. Cash can not be accepted.

If the couple wish to use the church organ, we can provide the name of an organist for you to contact or the couple may use their own organist. Please provide the name of the organist to the wedding coordinator prior to the rehearsal.  If instrumentalists or soloists are used, the couple are expected to make their own arrangements with them. The church will be glad to provide a list of instrumentalists and soloists that may be contacted. Please remember that the marriage service in a Christian church is a worship service and music should be chosen that is consistent with that purpose. A CD player is no longer available, but arrangements can be made if you have a component that is compatible with our sound system. Someone of your designation must be responsible for coordinating such music.

It is to be understood that the officiating minister is in charge of the rehearsal and wedding service. He/she will seek to direct it in accordance with the wishes of the couple insofar as propriety and the Book of Order dictate. The service should be consistent with the worship of Almighty God. Any desires of the couple should be made known to the officiating minister well in advance of the ceremony. The church wedding coordinator will also be present at the rehearsal and the ceremony to assist the pastor and the wedding party. Additional bridal consultants are unnecessary, but if present shall be limited to assisting the bride and her attendants before they enter the sanctuary.

Normally, the signatures for completion of the Marriage Certificate will be gotten at the end of the marriage ceremony. As required by law, the minister will mail the completed certificate to the Louisiana Vital Records Registry. A copy of the final certificate will be mailed to the couple however, a certified copy is needed for legal purposes and the couple are responsible for getting this copy from the Vital Records Registry.

These policies shall be given to all persons who seek information about getting married at First Presbyterian Church.