Planning a wedding can be an exciting and meaningful experience. It also can be a tense and anxious time with short tempers and hurt feelings. At Upper Dublin Lutheran Church we want to support the first type of experience and help you to grow together with a deeper appreciation of God’s love and purpose for you. Couples can be overwhelmed with all of the details of a wedding. Whether you intend to have a lot of guests or an intimate gathering of family and close friends, you have arrangements to make concerning invitations, appropriate celebrations, time for the two of you, what you will wear and where you will solemnize your marriage. In these pages we will try to provide the information that you will need to know about us and how we can support your marriage. The information is organized around some questions. Please start from the beginning and read it all even if you know the answer. We have packed into our answers a little more than what is asked.
Why Have a Religious Ceremony?
This is really the most important question of all. While couples have many answers to this question, our answer sets the basis for all our comments. We solemnize marriages in faithfulness to God’s promise to bless the covenant of fidelity between a man and a woman. God’s love and faithfulness are the center of the religious ceremony. The Pastor and congregation are called by God to witness to this promise and we gladly witness by offering our services. Of course, we take our responsibility with great commitment and have many resources to utilize in a faithful marriage ceremony.
Do the Pastor and Building Go Together?
Yes and No. The Pastor is not like a secular officer who legalizes marriages on demand, and the church building is not a facility to be rented. However, the congregation’s ministry through the pastor is not limited to the building. Therefore, ceremonies elsewhere, as in a home or outside, are possible. The Pastor represents the ministry of the congregation; therefore, the comments in these pages still apply.
How Do We Plan the Wedding Ceremony?
The Pastor will counsel with you and share the resources of the Lutheran Church for your ceremony. These are very appropriate liturgical services that focus on God’s blessing of your marriage. You may bring to the counseling session other items for your marriage ceremony that you feel would be appropriate. Together, with the Pastor’s advice, you will be able to put together the entire service. If you would like the printed version of this information which includes additional information please click on this link, UDLC and send us your name and address and we will mail you the booklet.
What About Music?
It is possible to have a marriage ceremony without any music. Music is added to the marriage ceremony for the same reason we sing hymns and listen to preludes and offertories at other worship services. Music glorifies God, witnesses to his promises and blessings, and unites us in worship. At Upper Dublin, music is not a secondary addition. If it is used in worship, it is part of our God-centered experience. The music, like the ceremony itself, should be an act of worship. Through the years, we have learned how to be faithful to God in our musical tradition, and have had to make decisions about various musical pieces. Considering our wonderful heritage of sacred music, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Commission on Worship strongly discourages the use of secular tunes and so-called “traditional wedding marches.” It is not the style that matters, but the purpose for which the music is intended. As in our Sunday Worship, we are comfortable with a wide range of music.
What is Involved in Pre-Marital Counseling?
The Pastor is committed to help the two of you to prepare for your marriage beyond the actual ceremony. God blesses a commitment of lifelong faithfulness and the Pastor and congregation have many resources to support your life together. Your first session will review your wedding plans and prepare you for additional sharing in subsequent visits. Some people seem to be afraid and others wish that the pastor would make an evaluation of the potential success of the marriage. That would be very unlikely, since the focus of these counseling sessions is support not judgment.