Who can be married at Our Savior’s?
In most cases, wedding ceremonies are performed for those couples in which at least one person is a member of this congregation. Exceptions to this rule may be made for members of other congregations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod or church bodies with which the Missouri Synod is in full altar and pulpit fellowship. Upon occasion, the pastor may agree to do a wedding for those who are in the process of becoming members or those who are between churches at his discretion. However, one should not pretend to be interested in membership merely for the sake of having their wedding at Our Savior’s. The pastor may also perform civil weddings off the premises for whomever he chooses to do so.
How much does it cost to be married at Our Savior’s?
Churches handle fees for weddings differently. Some congregations charge a single fee which covers various services while other congregations don’t charge a fee but require the wedding party to contract for those services individually. At Our Savior’s, the wedding fees include: up to 8 hours use of the facility and custodial services for the rehearsal and wedding day, premarital counseling materials, an audio/video technician to control the sound system, record audio an basic video of the service, handle any playback of recorded music, and provide for soloists and musicians to be heard through the sound system, an honorarium for the pastor, and preparation of your wedding bulletin if needed. The fee for these basic required services is $400. In the rare case of weddings performed for non-members, this fee is doubled with the additional amount applied to the wedding fund for special needs.
In addition to the services provided in the basic wedding fee, additional hours for use of the facility and custodial service is $50 per hour. You may also choose to rent the church’s special wedding candle-abras with 30 no-drip oil candles for $30. You will also be responsible for fees paid to your organist and/or other musicians (we recommend $125 for an organist or pianist and $50 for each vocal or instrumental musician). While the cost printing your wedding bulletin is included in the standard fee, you may be responsible for purchasing the color cover (available at Christian books stores or online – see “links”).
Can I get a refund if I cancel my wedding?
If you reschedule your wedding, the fees already paid will simply be applied to the new date. If you cancel your wedding, the church will provide a full reimbursment if premarital counseling has not begun or $50 less than the full amount if the PREPARE inventory has already been taken.
How many people can be seated in the sanctuary?
The main seating area of the church can accomodate approximately 300 people with some overflow capacity if chairs are set up in the side aisle. An additional 36 seats are available in the balcony.
Is the church air conditioned?
The Church sanctuary, chapel, and dressing rooms are air conditioned. The Fireplace room is not yet air conditioned but may be by the time of your wedding. The custodian will turn on the air conditioning to the same levels we use on Sunday mornings. This will make your guests more comfortable, but being in the front of the church for pictures and for the ceremony, your wedding party will not be cool and comfortable because of the lights, their formal clothing, and stress (as Pastor, I’m always hot up there). If we turned it down to make the wedding party comfortable during pictures and during the ceremony, your guests would be too cold. The air conditioning will be set at 70-72 degrees by the custodian at those times of year when it is needed.
How do I find out what dates are available?
The Church Master Calendar can be seen on our website or by clicking HERE. Navigate to the month and day you are considering. Weddings and other events already scheduled will be shown there. Once your wedding application and fees have been received in the church office, your wedding will be shown on this calendar as well. (For your privacy, we don’t normally list the wedding name on the church calendar.) A tentative time for the wedding rehearsal will also be set. The time of the service and of the rehearsal can be changed as your plans develop.
Even though a particular day may be clear on the church calendar, please remember that we must see that the Pastor is also available that day, so wait until you see your wedding show on the calendar or contact the church office to verify the day.
Please resist the temptation to consider holiday weekends for your wedding: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and the week between and including Christmas Day and New Years’ Day. It is important to our congregation that the Pastor and staff be able to enjoy holidays like most others. If the Pastor should choose at his discretion to allow an exception, the fees for your wedding on these dates will be double. Finally, for religious and practicality reasons, weddings are not scheduled seven days before or seven days after Easter Sunday.
What hours will the building be available on the day of my wedding?
We expect that you will be needing to use the church for about an hour for the rehearsal and about five hours for the wedding. Therefore, the building will be made available to you up to four hours prior to the wedding. This allows an hour for the rehearsal, an hour for the ceremony, and two hours for the custodian to make the building ready for Sunday morning services. Some photographers want to start taking pictures five or six hours before the ceremony, but we have found that this requires a great deal of extra time during which the wedding party is fully dressed and often standing. An additional fee of $50 will be required for each additional hour more than four prior to the ceremony.
Will I have to share the church with other events on my wedding day?
It is our intention to NOT schedule other events at the church on your wedding day. In extremely rare circumstances, a private wedding may be held in the chapel or another party may request a morning or evening wedding on the same day as your wedding. However, we will ask for your permission before allowing any other weddings to be held at the church on your wedding day.
It is also possible that we will have no other choice but to schedule a funeral at the church on your wedding day. If we must do this, the funeral will be held early in the morning, all those guests will have left, and the church will be ready for your wedding by the time you’ve arranged to arrive. We will avoid this if at all possible.
We will also seek to avoid any church meetings or youth activities in the church from the time of your rehearsal through the time when your wedding party leaves the church. In the rare circumstance that anything else is schedule to occur at the church on your wedding day, we will make you informed of this in advance.
Does the church have any special wedding candles?
For weddings at Our Savior’s, the six candles behind the altar are normally lit but the altar candles are not lit since they are used only when Holy Communion is offered during a service. We also have two 15-candle abras which can be set in a circular or a spiral. For a rental fee of $30 you may use both candle abras and we will provide you with 30 oil-filled candles. Photographs of these will be added here later.
Can I use a Unity Candle?
Yes. A Unity Candle consists of one large candle and two smaller side candles. The side candles are lit prior to the service by the pastor or ushers or by the mothers of the bride and groom. During the ceremony, bride and groom each take one side candle and join their flames together to light the larger candle. The side candles may then be blown out or remain lit. This is presently a popular custom. A special musical piece can be played or sung during this time in your service or the pastor can explain the significance of the unity candle while you are lighting yours.
Where is the Unity Candle placed?
The Unity Candle and side candles can be placed directly on the altar or on a movable table we provide so that the couple may face the congregation while lighting it. Photos of these options will be placed here at a later time.
What decordations are allowed in the church?
Fewer couples are using special decorations for the church these days. However, rental companies have torch candles for the ends of the pews, bows, ribbons, aisle runners, and so on available. Our primary concern is that your decorations are in good taste and consistent with a Christian worship service and that placing your decorations does not mar the pews (seats), walls, and so forth. Therefore, nails and tacks and permanent-type adhesives should not be used. Removable tape, padded hooks and clamps are good choises. If you rent additional candles, we ask that you purchase good quality candles which do not drip wax or equipment which catches the wax.
When can we decorate?
We suggest that you consider decorating during office hours on the Friday before your wedding so as not to require additional custodial service over eight hours. You might also have people decorate during the rehearsal as long as they don’t make too much noise or on the day of your wedding during the hours prior to the ceremony — while pictures are being taken. Any time that you want to decorate after the rehearsal may add additional fees, depending upon the number of hours you need to be in the facility prior to the wedding ceremony.
Can I use an aisle runner? How long is the aisle?
Yes. An aisle runner is a long piece of plastic or cloth rolled up at the top of the center aisle of the church which is then unrolled, usually by the ushers, just prior to the wedding party’s procession into the church. It helps to pin or somehow tape the end of the runner to the carpet so that it stays in place while being unrolled. Many brides have found that a higher quality runner is more expensive, but a cheaper runner does not stay in place very well.
Can I have other Pastors participate in the ceremony?
There are three ways that we can answer “Yes” to this question. First, if your home pastor is a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and he is the primary officiant – meaning that he is responsible for the wedding which is merely being performed in our building. In this case, it is not necessary for our pastor to be present at all.
Second, if our pastor is the primary officiant of the wedding – conducting the premarital counseling and being responsible for the details of the ceremony, your home Pastor may participate as an additional pastor in the ceremony as long as he is a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Third, if your pastor is not a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, he may participate only as any other member or friend of your family. In other words, he may not wear his robes nor clerical collar while coming forward during the ceremony. You may mention in your bulletin that he is a pastor in another denomination, but he may not wear official vestments according to the teaching and practice of our congregation.
While this may seem harsh, please keep in mind that other denominations such as Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, and others have condemned the beliefs and practices we hold dear.
Can I ask a relative or friend to do the readings?
Yes, you may. At the right time in the service, they would come forward to the lectern (podium) to do the reading. One person may do all three readings, two readings, or one reading and I will do the others; or you can have up to three people each take one reading. We should be sure to get them the readings in advance, if possible.
What if a relative or friend wants to “say a few words” during the wedding ceremony?
If someone wants to “say a few words” they should do so at your reception. A wedding service is a worship service and we believe that only those rightly trained and called to preach or teach in the church are allowed to speak freely to the congregation.
How many people can I include in my wedding party?
Besides the bride and groom, we have had as many as eight people on each side — eight groomsmen and eight bridesmaids. Six on each side is more comfortable, but up to 8 are possible. In addition, Jr. bridesmaids or groomsmen can be included as well.
Where should we put the guest book?
We have a podium on wheels that the church uses for its guestbook. On the day of your wedding, the custodian will put our guestbook away and you can use the podium. You may also roll it anywhere you would like in the entrance way.
Where can we put flowers?
Flowers may be put on stands around the chancel (the area behind the communion rail), but keep in mind that you’ll have wedding party standing in that area as well. Flowers can also be placed on the shelf behind the altar. You may wish to have a spray of flowers around the unity candle either on the table or on the altar. Our only serious concern is that you not have potted plans or anything with dirt on the altar. Cut flowers or artificial flowers are allowed on the altar.
How do I find an organist or pianist?
If you don’t have a friend or family member who you would like to ask to play the organ or piano, inform the pastor of your music needs, he has a list of organists and pianists who often play in our church.
How do I find a soloist?
The pastor can also help you find vocalists.
Can the Church help me find a trumpet player?
Once again, the pastor can help you with this.
Do I need to have songs pre-approved?
Yes, you do. A wedding ceremony in the church is a worship service and we have guidelines for music in our worship. Most classical music without words is acceptable with the exception of “Wedding March” by Wagner (this is the music often used on TV shows and movies. It comes from a German opera written under the Nazi’s depicting pagan worship and marriage rites.) and “Ava Maria” (which is a Roman Catholic prayer to Mary).
For music with words, the Pastor must review the lyrics for appropriateness in a worship service. Appropriate words should be distinctively Christian and doctrinally correct although some artistic license may be allowed. Songs from contemporary radio, movies, or show tunes are better left for use at your reception. A list of suggested solos is provided for you in this wedding material.
Can we play a song through the sound system instead of having someone sing?
Yes. Our sound system includes cassette tape and compact disk players – or some other devise such as an mp3 player can be ‘plugged in’ by our audio/video technician who will also be available to play the correct piece at the proper time in the ceremony. The same considerations for instrumental and vocal music will apply to prerecorded music.
Can we use recorded music instead of the organ or piano for walking in and walking out?
Yes. For the wedding party on a budget, all your music can be pre-recorded for the audio/video technician to play at the appropriate times. This would save you approximately $125 for an organist and $50 per vocal or instrumental musicians. See the recommended music list under the “Planning Your Wedding” item on the site menu to the left.
Can I have my wedding recorded on video?
As a part of your fee for this wedding, the audio/video technician will provide you with a basic DVD recording of your wedding with limited pan/tilt/zoom effects. This is a great way to also get an audio recording of your wedding by taking it from the DVD we provide.
You may also wish to hire a videographer much like hiring a photographer. That’s your choice. Many couples simply arrange with a friend or family member to bring their camcorder. Here’s a suggestion: place a video camera on a tripod behind the altar facing the bride and groom. Start it a few minutes before the service and stop it after the service. It’ll give you a nice view of just the bridal couple, showing your faces, and probably picking up your voices as well. However, since this camera is behind or to the side of the altar during the ceremony, a person to control the camera is not allowed.
Can we write our own vows?
I will give you a guarded “yes” to this question. Writing your vows can make your ceremony very personal, but care should be taken to write vows which you will actually be able to keep for the rest of your lives together. They should be just as meaningful 30 or 60 years from now as they are on the day of your wedding. Also, I would recommend that your vows cover the things that really should be included: willingness, commitment and faithfulness until death, and so on. In nearly two decades, I have only had two couples write their own vows. Instead, they will often write toasts to each other for use at the reception which allows for humor and other more casual things also.
What if my fiance isn’t Christian?
Your wedding at Our Savior’s will be a distinctively Christian wedding. No other religious practices or customs will be allowed during the service. As long as your fiance is respectful of our beliefs and practices, it is not required that they be Christian. However, during your premarital counseling this may be something that should be discussed.
What areas are available as dressing rooms for the bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Two rooms, one for the women and one for the men, will be made available to you. Both of these rooms have air conditioning, a place for hangers, and a full length mirror. The door windows to the rooms will be covered. Both rooms can be locked when not in use or during the ceremony to secure your valuables. Usually the women are given the “music room” near the entry from the back parking lot and near the restooms. The men are usually in the church library.
Can we leave things overnight at the church following the rehearsal?
In nearly every case the answer to this question is “Yes.” In rare circumstances, we may need to lock all your items in one or two rooms, but usually between the rehearsal and wedding everything can be left where it needs to be.
How long does the wedding ceremony take?
Most wedding ceremonies take 20-25 minutes. This can be shorter for a private wedding that doesn’t have a processional or recessional or special music. It can also be longer for weddings with large wedding parties and several pieces of special music, unity candle, etc. So, if your wedding starts at 3:00 p.m. the Bride and Groom will normally be exiting about 3:25 p.m. Then add the time needed to usher out your guests and to greet your guests if you will have a receiving line. For a wedding with 250 guests, you may not be ready to leave the church until 4:10 or later.
What day and time will we have the rehearsal?
Before the rehearsal, the wedding couple and the pastor will have already reviewed every detail of the wedding. Therefore, the rehearsal is primarily to help family members and the wedding party know when they need to arrive, where to go, when and how to walk in and when and how to walk out. Therefore, your rehearsal should be scheduled for the day and time when the greatest number of people in your wedding party can attend. If everyone is taking the day off from work and is already in town, you could have your rehearsal at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. If people are working and need to change clothes and get to the church in time, you may not want your rehearsal until 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. You should also consider whatever other activities you have scheduled for that night before your wedding. If you have a dinner or party scheduled, plan the rehearsal for earlier and just ask people to make a arrangements to be present on time. It is better to hold the rehearsal with as many people present as possible than to have an ideal time without people showing up on time.
Another possibility is to have the rehearsal late in the morning before your afternoon wedding. How about an 11:00 a.m. rehearsal for a 4:00 wedding? This might be good if you have family members or special people flying or driving long distances on Friday.
Does my fiance have to become a member or take classes before we can be married?
No. Once we agree to hold your wedding, there are no other requirements for you to meet. For the sake of your marriage, we recommend that if both husband and wife are not of the same religion or denomination that you each attend classes at the other’s church. This will give you a formal understanding of what the other has been taught and raised to believe and do in their faith. After attending both classes together, then we suggest that you discuss whether or not either one of you is willing to join the other denomination or come to some undertanding about how to practice your different faiths and how to raise your children in the faith. We strongly advise this for the sake of your marriage, but we do not require it prior to your wedding ceremony.
Does premarital counseling with the pastor satisfy the State of Minnesota requirement for a cheaper wedding license?
The state of Minnesota allows for reducing the cost of a marriage license if the wedding couple can present a certificate showing twelve hours of premarital counseling. Your premarital counseling with the pastor of our church can provide up to six hours toward this total, but cannot provide the full twelve hours required for the cost savings. If you will be having additional premarital counseling with a marriage and family counselor or other clergyman, we can provide you with a letter to document the six hours spent with us. Sadly, getting this much premarital counseling can cost significantly more than the amount you would save in getting your license. Go to the Blue Earth County website for more information about marriage licenses.
How personal will the pastor get in premarital counseling.
Premarital counseling is more concerned with general topics than individual details. For example, one question on the PREPARE inventory is “My partner shows me enough affection” to which you will answer either “agree” or “disagree.” The question deals with the amount of affection, not the type of affection. You will probably not find anything uncomfortable or too personal in nature during your premarital counseling. Premarital counseling also includes planning for the wedding ceremony and hearing what God has said about marriage. It is not intended to advise you on your fitness for marriage, on your selection of a partner, or on the “right” or “wrong” ways to structure your marriage. It is more important that husband and wife know each other and learn to make decisions openly and together than to have any one else tell you how to structure your marriage.
Who needs to sign my wedding certificate after the ceremony?
Your marriage license becomes your marriage certificate once it is signed by the officiating clergyman and two witnesses. These witnesses must be at least 16 years old in Minnesota. The pastor is then responsible for delivering the signed license/certificate to the Minnesota county which issued the license. That county will then mail a certified copy to the married parties once it has been entered into the county records.
Can we bring in food for the wedding party on my wedding day?
You may bring in snacks or pre-made lunches for the wedding party and family members without any additional cost. We ask that you serve and consume all food in the kitchen or around the tables in the fireplace room. Please throw away your trash and take any left overs with you.
Can we use the Fireplace Room to serve food to the family and participants before the wedding?
If you would like to serve a meal — something more than snacks — to the people of your wedding party, you may bring in your own or have catered food delivered to the fireplace room for a fee of $50 which covers set up of tables and chairs, clean up, and rearrangement of the room for Sunday uses.
Can we use the Fireplace Room for the Groom’s Dinner on the night of the rehearsal?
Holding a Groom’s Dinner in the fireplace room before or after the rehearsal will be handled like any other rental situation. There is a $50 rental fee for this room if you bring in your own food or have the food catered. This fee provides for four hours of use. If you will be using the church kitchen, utensils, dishwasher, or table service to prepare and/or serve the meal, there will be an additional $100 fee. These fees include set up and custodial services. You will be responsible for washing dishes if you prepare food in the kitchen.