Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
Kingwood, Texas
Parish Handbook - Wedding Guidelines and Procedures

1. Scheduling: A wedding service may be scheduled on the Church calendar only after the couple has personally consulted with the Rector or Assistant Rector, and received hls/her approval. (In the case of remarriage following a divorce, final approval must come from the Bishop of the Diocese before the date can be confirmed.) Wedding services are not scheduled during Lent, except for urgent cause, and never during Holy Week.

II. Pre-Marital Counseling: The couple must have several meetings with the priest for instruction and counseling. Appointments for these meetings must be scheduled through the Office Manager/Executive Secretary.

III. Officiant: Good Shepherd clergy will normally officiate at all wedding services. An Episcopal priest from outside the parish may officiate with the Rector's permission. An ordained minister from another denomination may assist at the wedding service with the Rector's permission. .

IV. Marriage License: It is the couple's responsibility to obtain a legal marriage license from the State of Texas. The priest cannot perform a marriage without this license, which should be given to him/her at the time of the rehearsal.

V. Rehearsals: The wedding service rehearsal is usually scheduled the evening before the wedding. All participants in the wedding service, including musicians, ushers, parents, and clergy, are expected to attend and be on time. All aspects of the rehearsal and wedding service are under the direction of the Wedding Chairman. A professional Wedding Consultant may observe but not direct the rehearsal or the wedding ceremony.

VI. Wedding Chairman: A Wedding Chairman, appointed by the Altar Guild, will be assigned to each wedding. She should be contacted when the wedding service is scheduled to arrange the time for a consultation at the Church. She will assist the bride and be present at the rehearsal and wedding service. The Office Manager will provide the name and phone number of the Wedding Chairman.

VI. Music:
   A. When music is desired at a wedding, the family should make arrangements with the Director of Music Ministries.

   B. The Canons of the Episcopal Church require that wedding music be religious in nature, such as a hymn, psalm, or an anthem based on Holy Scripture. All music and/or outside organist must be approved by the Director of Music Ministries or the Rector.

   C. The Good Shepherd Organist reserves the right of first refusal. In the event that the Good Shepherd Organist is available, but the wedding party elects to use another, the Good Shepherd Organist is still entitled to compensation at the rate below. Current fees, which are comparable to fees charged in this area by members of the American Guild of Organists, are listed below:

      Organist's fee for weddings                 See Wedding Coordinator*

      Organist's fee if working with a soloist and/or
        choir (does not include soloist's fee)   See Wedding Coordinator*

     *For Good Shepherd Organist. If an outside organist is used, the fee is at the individual discretion of the outside organist. Checks for the organist should be made payable to the organist, not Good Shepherd Church, and delivered one week before the wedding.

   D. The availability of the choir and/or instrumental ensemble groups is subject to the discretion of the Director of Music Ministries after consultation with the members. Should the choir sing; a donation to Good Shepherd in the amount of $250.00 is deemed appropriate. Should the bell choir and/or flute ensemble play, a donation to Good Shepherd in the amount of $100.00 per group is deemed appropriate.

VIII Soloist: If a soloist is desired, the Wedding Chairman and the Director of Music Ministries must be consulted regarding the placement of the music in the service and the schedule for rehearsals.

IX. Flowers and Decorations: The Wedding Chairman will advise the bride regarding her choice of flowers, decorations, and wedding bulletins. The wedding party must pay for all flowers for the wedding. Wedding flowers are limited to two arrangements to be placed in the Church's sconces on the wall behind the altar. Sanctuary flowers are always considered a gift to God and should remain in the Church to beautify future services. Silk or artificial flowers are not allowed anywhere within the sanctuary, including flowers carried by the wedding party. Other decorations allowed are: wedding kneeling cushions, Good Shepherd pew candles, and ribbons on the pews. Additional plants, candelabra or decorations may not be used without the Rector's approval. .

X. Holy Communion: If the couple desires to receive Communion, it may be given privately before or after the rehearsal or before the wedding. If Eucharist is desired as part of the ceremony, then all baptized Christians present will be offered Communion.

XI. Photographs:
   A. In the Episcopal Church, weddings are considered to be worship services 'and the same standards of reverence, dress code, and order are to be observed.

   B. No flash pictures may be taken in the Church from the time the first member of the congregation is seated until the Church has emptied following the wedding.

   C. A picture taking session in the Church may be scheduled prior to the wedding or immediately following it.

   D. A time exposure may be taken without flash during the wedding provided the  photographer takes the picture from the aisle behind the last row of pews in the central section of the Church or from the choir loft.

   E. Post-wedding photographs should be limited to approximately 15 minutes so as not to delay the reception and the duties of the church staff.

   F. If videotaping of the service is desired by the couple, the placement of the camera and crew must be in the choir loft.

   G. Any questions regarding photography should be addressed to the Rector.

XII. Receptions at Good Shepherd: When available, the Parish Hall or the Great Hall may be used for a reception following the wedding but must be scheduled with the Office Manager on the parish calendar in addition to the wedding. The Wedding Chairman will advise the bride regarding facilities, decorations, caterers, etc. In all cases, the couple must arrange to have the Parish Hall cleaned after the reception. A cleaning fee of $100.00 will be charged if those responsible do not leave the Parish Hall clean. No hard liquor may be served on the premises. To serve any other alcoholic beverage, prior approval of the Rector is required.

XIII. Good Shepherd is a non-smoking facility. Smoking is allowed in a designated smoking area outside the double door entrance nearest the church office, however, all cigarette butts must be disposed of properly.

XIV. Rice: Throwing of rice, bird seed, or confetti is not allowed.

XV. The following amounts are to be used as monetary guidelines:
   Use of church*     See Wedding Coordinator
   Pew candles Additional    See Wedding Coordinator
   Use of the Great Hall/Parish Hal1/Kitchen for a reception  See Wedding Coordinator
   Cleaning services for reception Great Ha11/Parish Hall     See Wedding Coordinator
   Acolytes  Per senior acolyte    See Wedding Coordinator
                  Per junior acolyte    See Wedding Coordinator

Checks should be made payable to The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and delivered to the Wedding Chairman at the rehearsal if not given previously to the Office Manager.

* Includes use of the sanctuary and narthex for wedding rehearsal and service, use of altar candles and candelabra, dressing areas, set-up, use of P. A. system, and assistance/supervision of the Wedding Chair. These offerings are to cover the various expenses incurred by the church for hosting the wedding service. 

In addition to the above amounts, it is customary for the couple to make a donation to Good Shepherd Church and/or the priest, in recognition of the counseling received and in thanksgiving for the marriage.

Rev. 3-97

(Wedding Coordinator can provide current fee and use schedules upon request)