Westmark Evangelical Free Church Wedding Policy
We believe that a wedding ceremony is one of the most significant moments in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. As a congregation, we take seriously our part in supporting a couple who desires to be married in Westmark Church. We provide the following guidelines, therefore, so that the wedding ceremony will be a time to honor the Lord in worship and celebration. We desire to build and strengthen lasting Christian marriages from the very beginning. We ask each couple to carefully examine this statement of policy and to consult with the pastor about questions on any matter that is presented here.
Scheduling a Wedding
A couple must first meet with the pastor for an initial interview before any date can be placed on the church calendar. The pastor must agree to conduct the wedding ceremony and then approach the church board with the request, which the board will approve or deny.
Our intent is to approve weddings for a couple when the bride or groom or either of their parents are members or regularly attend Westmark. Weddings for couples who are not a part of our church family may be approved only on rare occasions and when there is some unusual circumstance in which the pastor and church board agree that it is best if the couple is married at Westmark.
If the couple desires to ask another pastor to assist in or conduct the wedding ceremony, that request must be approved by the church board.
Premarital Counseling Sessions
Enough time must be allowed from the initial request and interview for the couple to meet with the pastor for a minimum of seven (7) premarital counseling sessions. The pastor may use various materials, such as books and videos, which he considers helpful to marriage preparation. The couple may be asked to pay for some of these materials.
These premarital counseling sessions are not optional but required. The couple is expected to demonstrate a commitment to their marriage preparation by attending all scheduled sessions and completing all the requirements.
A couple’s choice of music can be highly personalized, but should reflect the sacred marriage covenant represented in the wedding celebration. The pastor and organist must assume the responsibility to maintain appropriate Christian worship during the wedding ceremony. Therefore, all musical selections must be submitted to the wedding consultant early enough before the wedding date to allow for a proper review by the pastor and organist. If the couple desires to ask an organist or pianist from outside the church to play for the ceremony, those individuals must be approved by the pastor and wedding consultant.
The couple must contact the wedding coordinator of Westmark for direction, even if they desire to use another wedding coordinator at the ceremony. If a reception is to be held at Westmark, the coordinator must be highly involved in the planning process.
The couple is responsible for the set up and clean up of the church building for all wedding-related events, including the rehearsal, wedding ceremony, and reception if held at Westmark. We ask that set up and decorating not begin until two days before the wedding at the earliest. Decorations should be appropriate for a church sanctuary and are the responsibility of the couple. After the wedding, the building must be cleaned and prepared for the next scheduled activities. If janitorial help is needed, the couple is responsible for securing and paying for the work done.
The couple is responsible for contacting an approved sound technician from Westmark to assist during the rehearsal and wedding ceremony.
No smoking is permitted in the building, and no alcoholic beverages are permitted on the church property.
Honorariums and Gifts
Westmark does not charge any fees for the use of the building or for the assistance of individuals in a wedding. The following guidelines are presented to help couples in the planning of appropriate honorariums to those who are involved:
Church Building $100
Wedding coordinator $250**
Sound technician $150**
Fellowship Hall Audio $100
**These positions, the Wedding Coordinator, the Sound Technician and the Janitor must be filled by our selected people from Westmark. These positions cannot be filled by an outside source. It is up to you (and the coordinator) to make sure the sound positions have been filled well in advance of the wedding date. It is your obligation to contact the Wedding Coordinator as soon as possible to initiate plans for the wedding details. (Wedding consultant from Westmark is Mary Wallander, Sound Technician Mark Nelson & Janitor Kami Ackerman)
Every wedding is different, but these figures are given to provide guidelines in expressing thanks to the people involved in the wedding. Personal gifts or honorariums are appropriate for soloists, with guidance by the wedding consultant.
If the reception is held at Westmark, it is often best to ask friends to assist with serving. If a Westmark Women’s Ministries circle serves, it is appropriate to give a gift to the organization in the range of $100-$150
Commitments of Marriage
We believe that a couple desiring to be married at Westmark should clearly express personal faith in Jesus Christ. Based upon that foremost commitment, the couple is asked to remain morally pure by refraining from sexual intercourse until their wedding day. If a couple has been sexually involved, they will be asked to cease this activity until after the wedding. If a couple has been living together, they will be asked to establish separate residences until after the wedding.
In cases where either partner has been married before and the marriage ended in divorce, the pastor may agree to perform a wedding if the Scriptural guidelines are followed. A remarriage may be permissible for those divorced because of adultery by the other partner (Matthew 19:3-12) or because of desertion by a non-believing spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15). It is essential that an appropriate amount of time will have transpired between the divorce and remarriage.
It is our belief that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. Therefore, no same-sex weddings will be approved or authorized to take place anywhere on church property.
The Bible is our final authority, and it is our desire to follow Biblical standards in preparing for marriage. The pastor, therefore, under the guidance of the church board must reserve the right to deny a wedding request by the application of these standards.
(Adopted by the Westmark Evangelical Free Church Board on September 18, 1996). (Revised on October 7, 2015)
WESTMARK EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
Phone: Work_______________________ Phone: Work______________________
Rehearsal: Date________________________ Time__________________
Wedding Date__________________________ Time__________________
Minister (if other than Westmark pastor)_______________________________________
Wedding Coordinator________________________________________________We have read the wedding policy of Westmark Evangelical Free Church and met with the pastor. By signing this form, we willingly abide by the statements included in the policy:
Approved by the Westmark Church Board on (Date) ___________________________
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh,” Genesis 2:24