The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church shall be adhered to in all matters, as well as the admonitions of the Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland and the rules and requirements of Holy Trinity Parish. All marriages shall take place within the church building unless substantial cause be shown to the Rector for an alternate site. The Rector may decline to solemnize any marriage, or may decline to permit the marriage to take place in the parish church. All marriages at Holy Trinity Church will be conducted by the Rector unless they give explicit permission for another clergy person to conduct the ceremony. No outside clergy person will be approved as celebrant who is not an ordained priest/pastor in good standing in a mainstream Christian denomination.
The Canons of the Episcopal Church state that to be married in the church is to be married in the context of “the Community of Faith.” This means that marriage in our church is not a private contract between two people, but part of the community life of the parish church. Within the context of the parish, the couple will have their marriage solemnized now and supported in the years ahead.
Premarital Counseling, Participation in Parish Life
Those desiring to be married at Holy Trinity or by Holy Trinity’s clergy must attend at least three premarital sessions with the Rector, or complete the premarital training offered by Inspirit Counseling Services. In addition, the couple to be married are encouraged to be actively involved in the life, mission, and ministry of this particular community of faith. Inactive members (for example, one who grew up as a member of the congregation but no longer worships here) may be married at Holy Trinity at the discretion of the Rector.
The couple being married is responsible for obtaining a Maryland marriage license valid in Harford County. The license should be obtained at least a month before the scheduled date of the wedding, and shall be given to the Rector any time prior to or at the wedding rehearsal.
The date and time of the wedding rehearsal shall be arranged with the Rector at least 30 days before the marriage. Rehearsals normally last for one hour. To allow leeway, one and a half hours will be scheduled.
Dinners and Receptions
Rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions are social events apart from the church service. The Rector does not expect to be invited to such events; if you wish to include the Rector as a guest, they should be invited in the same manner in which other guests are invited.
There is never a fee for the use of the church for the marriage ceremony of an active parishioner. However, a $600.00 church use fee will be charged for any marriage ceremony if neither party is an active parishioner; this fee and a $300 security deposit (refundable if all facilities are left in good order after the ceremony) must be paid at least one month in advance of the date of the wedding. The Rector does not charge a fee for their ministrations in connection with any wedding. An honorarium to the Rector is at the discretion of the couple being married, and is by no means expected. The couple being married are expected to pay the organist’s fee (see below). The cost of other expenses is borne by the parish, within reason; a donation to offset these costs is always welcome.
All music shall be arranged with and approved by the Rector and the organist of Holy Trinity. The organist has “right of first refusal” for all marriage services at Holy Trinity Church. If the organist is available to play for a wedding service but the couple prefer to use a different organist, the church organist shall receive their customary fee, even though they did not play for the service. The organist’s fee shall be paid prior to the beginning of the service.
If soloists or instrumentalists are used in conjunction with the organ music, arrangements must be made with the organist, under the direction of the Rector, who has full supervision of all music used at Holy Trinity Church, including at which points during the service the music may be used. Financial arrangements with musicians other than the organist are to be handled directly by the wedding party.
The marriage liturgy shall be that provided in the Book of Common Prayer. Elements not prescribed in the BCP (such as “unity candle”) shall not be included in the liturgy.
The Altar Guild of Holy Trinity shall provide the proper frontal and vestments, bridal kneeling cushion, Eucharistic candles, office candles, plus bread and wine if the service is to include Holy Eucharist. The florist or person coordinating use of flowers in the church must consult with the Altar Guild concerning the day and time for decorating the church and the arrangement of flowers or other decorations.
There is to be absolutely no throwing of rice, birdseed, confetti, flower petals, or any other substance, either indoors or outdoors. Bubble-blowing is permitted outdoors.
The bridal party is responsible for cleaning up all spaces used before, during, and after the ceremony.
Photography and Videography
There shall be no flash photography and no light-emitting videography during the service. If a video of the service is being made, the camera must be on a tripod in a fixed location in the back of the center aisle or behind the last pews. A single designated photographer using a non-flash camera may take photographs from a single location in the back of the center aisle during the ceremony. Formal pictures may be taken within the church immediately following the service.