Weddings at St. Anne's Episcopal Church

Weddings

We are delighted that you are considering being married at St. Anne’s Church. We have developed this wedding guide to help you understand the meaning of marriage in the Episcopal Church and our practices at St. Anne’s Church, and to assist you in the planning of this important event.

Please read through the information provided here. If the meaning of marriage described here and our wedding procedures seem fitting for your faith and life, then we invite you to fill out the Wedding Information Form. After you submit the form, the Rev. Dr. Amy E. Richter will contact you.

Blessings and joy to you as you plan for your wedding and marriage!

Blessings of Civil Marriages

If you have already had a legal/civil marriage ceremony, you are welcome to have your marriage blessed at St. Anne’s Church.  All the information below (except the service we use) also applies to you if you are having a blessing of your marriage instead of a wedding in the church.

What is Marriage?

In the Episcopal Church, we believe that marriage is a life-long union. In the marriage service, a bride and groom make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows (from the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer).

In the beginning of the wedding service, the officiant (the person leading your marriage service) says these words:

One of the requirements for being married in the Episcopal Church is to state your intention to enter into marriage with this understanding of the meaning of marriage. The Declaration of Intention is part of this packet, and the clergy will be happy to talk more with you about this definition of marriage.

One of the prayers for the newly married couple also describes our understanding of marriage:

We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people. The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

Book of Common Prayer, page 423

Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also, for consecrating the union of man and woman in his Name. By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast for ever in your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, page 430

Wedding Guide

Who may be married at St. Anne’s Church?

The Episcopal Church requires that at least one member be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church. If at least one of you is a member of St Anne’s Church, you are welcome to participate in the process leading toward marriage at St. Anne’s. Adult children of present members of St Anne’s Church are also welcome.

Can people who are not members of St. Anne’s Church be married at St. Anne’s?

If you are a member in good standing at another Episcopal Church have the consent of your priest, and have completed the requirements for marriage, including premarital counseling, you may be able to have your wedding at St. Anne’s Church. Since we expect that our members support St. Anne’s Church financially (the amount is left to the prayerful discernment of the member—for more information, click here), if you are not a member of St. Anne’s, you will be asked to make non-member donations.

If you do not have any church affiliation or are interested in joining St. Anne’s Church, we invite you to attend Sunday worship services on a regular basis for two months and learn more about St Anne’s Church before deciding to join. This will give you an opportunity to see what our worship style is like (and what the style of your wedding will be like) and to get to know our community. Please introduce yourselves to one of our clergy people. We would love to welcome you to become part of our church community. After you decide to join St. Anne’s, you may enter the marriage preparation process as members of St. Anne’s Church. We can hold a tentative date for your wedding, but cannot confirm it until you join officially and complete the marriage planning process, including paying the deposit.

If you live out of town, or do not plan to join St. Anne’s, or wish to reserve a wedding date before you join St. Anne’s it may still be possible for you to be married at St. Anne’s Church. These decisions are made as scheduling and circumstances allow. You will be required to pay the non-member fees and complete all other requirements of marriage preparation at St. Anne’s. We are not able to grant every request we receive.

Divorced persons, under certain circumstances, with the permission of the Bishop of Maryland, may be remarried in the Episcopal Church. If one or both of you have been divorced, please make this known in your first conversation with the clergy because an application must be made to our bishop. The Episcopal Church requires that a reasonable amount of time has passed between the official decree of divorce and the date of your wedding and that your application to the bishop is made at least 30 days before your wedding. The requirement of applying to the bishop upholds the Church’s pastoral responsibility to ensure that divorced persons fully comprehend the reasons for the dissolution of the first marriage and are truly free to enter into the present marriage. You will need to schedule a meeting with the clergy to make this application. A copy of your divorce decree must be faxed, mailed, or brought to the church office. It is not necessary to include the property settlement agreement.

Who may officiate?

Usually, one of the priests associated with St. Anne’s Church is the officiant at weddings at St. Anne’s Church. Other Episcopal clergy, clergy of other Christian denominations, or clergy of non-Christian denominations may participate in the service when deemed appropriate by the rector of St. Anne’s Church. You may request a particular St. Anne’s clergy person to be the officiant, but we may not be able to honor all requests.

What wedding service will be used?

All weddings will be conducted according to The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage in the Book of Common Prayer (1979), or the Liturgical Resources approved by General Convention 2015.  The Blessing of a Civil Marriage service can be found here.

When can our wedding take place?

The Episcopal Church requires that notice of weddings be given at least thirty days in advance. However, in order to complete the premarital process, at least 90 days is usually required. Please do not decide on or publicize any dates before you consult with The Rev. Dr. Amy Richter at St. Anne’s.

Weddings are usually on Saturdays and rehearsals are usually on Fridays. We do not celebrate weddings during Lent or Holy Week (the six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday).

We do not schedule weddings later than 3:30 PM. Rehearsals are usually scheduled at 4:00 PM, although earlier times in the afternoon are acceptable. Rehearsals need to be completed by 5:15 PM. because of our daily Evening Prayer services.

All weddings and rehearsals begin promptly at the appointed hour. If the bride and/or groom are more than fifteen minutes late, the wedding will not proceed, but the couple is expected to pay all fees. Parking and traffic can be extremely difficult in Annapolis. Please plan ahead.

The church building will be available to you 1 hour prior to your wedding and 30 minutes after the service for photographs. There is no time for a receiving line at the church. Since many of the people from St. Anne’s helping at your wedding are volunteers, and because our staff members have other obligations on the weekends, please be respectful of their time by being on time to your rehearsal and wedding.

How much time should we plan for the rehearsal and wedding?

The rehearsal takes approximately 45 minutes and is an important part of preparing for your wedding service. Everyone involved in the wedding party, ushers, and readers should all plan to participate. Rehearsals are usually scheduled the day before your wedding at 4:00 PM. We will begin on time, with whomever is present. Rehearsals will not go past 5:15 PM.

The wedding will take approximately 30-45 minutes, depending upon whether or not the Holy Eucharist (also called Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper) is part of your service and how many guests will receive communion. The clergy will be happy to talk with you about the Eucharist and its meaning within the marriage celebration.

Preparation for Marriage at St. Anne’s Church

All couples are required to participate in premarital preparation in order to be married at St. Anne’s Church. Preparation includes:

  • Mandatory participation in one of our Marriage Preparation Workshops, usually scheduled on a Saturday twice during the year.  Couples are also asked to worship together at the Sunday 9:30 AM service the day after the workshop.
    • The workshop gives you the opportunity to:
      • Clarify the assumptions and expectations one partner has of the other in marriage;
      • Identify role models of husband and wife that are part of a couple’s history;
      • Participate in the Prepare/Enrich Assessment
      • Examine the spiritual foundation of marriage that supports life-long unions; and
      • Learn how stress management and conflict management can facilitate mutual growth and support.
    • Couples working in informal groups stimulate thinking, enlarge perspectives, and provide support and affirmation for one another in the sessions. There will be time reserved for couples to have private discussions as well.
    • There is a fee of $200 per couple, due 60 days before the workshop convenes. Workshop dates for 2017 are January 28 and April 29.  Please send in the fee to reserve your place at the workshop. Both members of the couple must attend the workshop. Please make check payable to St. Anne’s Episcopal Church with Premarital Workshop in the memo line and mail to Kirsten Hair, St. Anne’s Church, 199 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.
    • Approximately one month before the workshop, you will receive instructions for completion of materials prior to the workshop.
  • Meeting with your clergy officiant to follow up on your premarital workshop experience.
  • In the case of people who have been divorced, one meeting with the officiant to make application for permission to be married (see above).
  • If you are new to St. Anne’s, make an appointment to talk early on with the clergy so they can help you find your place in he life and worship of this great community!
  • If you are a member of another Episcopal Church, you must give verification from your priest that you have completed premarital preparation through your home parish and clergy.

Please be aware that on some occasions, issues arise during the premarital discussions that necessitate a couple’s altering their plans to marry or affect the priest’s willingness to officiate.

Music for Weddings

All music for weddings us scheduled by our organist, Carolene Winter. She should be contacted at least six weeks in advance of the wedding at rosefinger@gmail.com or cwinter@stannes-annapolis.org to plan the music and to discuss the inclusion of other musicians if desired. Please see our music policy. We do not allow non-sacred music (for example, Here Comes the Bride may not be used). If Carolene Winter is not available, she will direct you to our policies about guest organists at St. Anne’s Church.

Readings for Weddings

Readings used during the service come from Holy Scripture.  The following are suggested readings:

  • Genesis 1:26–28 (Male and female he created them)
  • Genesis 2:4-9, 15-24 (A man cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh)
  • Ruth 1:16–17 Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 1
  • Samuel 18:1b, 3; 20:16–17; 42a
  • 1 Samuel 18:1–4
  • Micah 4:1–4
  • Romans 12:9–18
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31b–13:13
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17–20
  • 1 John 3:18–24
  • Galatians 5:14, 22–26
  • Song of Solomon 2:10–13; 8:6–7 (Many waters cannot quench love)
  • Tobit 8:5b–8 (New English Bible) (That she and I may grow old together
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1–13 (Love is patient and kind)
  • Ephesians 3:14–19 (The Father from whom every family is named)
  • Ephesians 5:1–2 (Walk in love, as Christ loved us)
  • Colossians 3:12–17 (Love which binds everything together in harmony)
  • 1 John 4:7–16 (Let us love one another, for love is of God)
  • Matthew 5:1–10 (The Beatitudes)
  • Matthew 5:13–16 (You are the light Let your light so shine)
  • Matthew 7:21, 24–29 (Like a wise man who built his house upon the rock)
  • Mark 10:6-9,13-16 (They are no longer two but one)
  • John 15:9–12 (Love one another as I have loved you)

Photography

A wedding is a religious worship service and we want all participants to be able to be fully present to the events of the service. Photographs can be an important part of the memories and documentation of your wedding, but must not detract from the experience of the wedding party, guests, officiant and staff at your wedding.
Video photography is allowed from the organ balcony only and must not interfere with the musician(s).

Flash photography by your photographer or guests is not allowed during the service. Flash photography may be used during the processional and recessional. Professional photographers must keep behind the row of guests seated closest to the entrance to the church so as not to block guests’ views.

Photographs may be taken in the church after the ceremony, but please remember that you are limited to 30 minutes after the service has ended. It is your responsibility to make your official photographer aware of our policies so that we will not have to interrupt the service to speak with your photographer. We welcome photographers to call with questions or to arrange to see the worship space ahead of time to help them in their planning.

Flowers

Arrangements for flowers must be made through St. Anne’s Flower Guild (part of St. Anne’s Altar Guild). The flower fee includes one large arrangement or two small arrangements of flowers.

Marriage License

A marriage license must be obtained from the Anne Arundel County Courthouse and presented to the clergy in order for you to be married at St. Anne’s Church. Please call the Anne Arundel County Courthouse at 410-222-1397 or visit their website at http://www.clerkannearundel.org/ for more information. The license must be delivered to the church office 30 days prior to the date of your wedding.

Conduct at your Rehearsal and Wedding

The marriage service is first and foremost a public worship service, offering praise to God and blessings and prayers for the couple. It is intended to be a joyous and meaningful occasion.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed anywhere on the premises of St. Anne’s Church. You are responsible for explaining that any consumption of alcoholic beverages or use of intoxicants prior to coming to church will result in our not being able to go forward with the wedding service. Consuming even a small amount of alcohol to “calm the nerves” takes away from the grace and meaning of the service. It is irresponsible for a priest to marry a couple if the bride and groom have been drinking.

Service Bulletins/Programs

We are happy to provide prototype bulletins and covers for your service. You are responsible for making copies. While it can be nice to have a bulletin, it is not necessary to do so. If you choose to make one, you need to show it to the officiant for approval and proof-reading before you make copies. Please contact The Rev. Dr. Amy E. Richter for more information.

Rice, Birdseed, Flower petals, Confetti, Balloons, etc.

All of these are prohibited before, during, and after the wedding, inside and outside the church building.

Aisle Runners

Aisle runners may not be used at St. Anne’s Church.

Location of Weddings

Weddings almost always take place at St. Anne’s Church. You must obtain permission from the clergy to have your wedding off-site before we can plan to officiate at your wedding.

Renewal of Vows and Blessings of Civil Ceremonies

We welcome both kinds of services at St. Anne’s. Please contact The Rev. Dr. Amy E. Richter for more information about these services.

We have read these materials and wish to start preparing for marriage at St. Anne’s Church. What do we do next?

Wedding Timeline Checklist

1. Read the entire Wedding Guide
2. Fill out Wedding Covenant
3. Fill out Wedding Information Form
4. Schedule and confirm wedding date and time with Rev. Amy Richter
5. Send in fee deposit to secure the date
6. Fill out the Declaration of Intention
7. Send in Premarital Workshop payment to reserve your space
8. Contact and/or meet with clergy person officiating your wedding
9. Contact and/or meet with Brenda Jackson, Wedding Team Coordinator
10. Contact and/or meet with Carolene Winter, Organist
11. Draft and send copy of wedding bulletin to officiating clergy person and organist for proof reading.
At least 30 days before the Wedding
12. Deliver Marriage License to Rev. Amy Richter
13. Send in remaining Wedding Fees

Christian Marriage Workshop
2017 Workshop Dates

January
January 28 (Saturday) 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Parish House (Room 102)
January 29 (Sunday) 9:30 AM – Worship Service (Church)
April
April 29 (Saturday) 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Parish House (Room 102)
April 30 (Sunday) 9:30 AM – Worship Service (Church)

THIS WORKSHOP IS REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE PREPARING FOR A WEDDING OR BLESSING OF A CIVIL MARRIAGE AT ST ANNE’S CHURCH. THE WORKSHOP GIVES OPPORTUNITIES FOR COUPLES TO:

• Clarify the assumptions and expectations partners have of each other in marriage;
• Identify role models of husband and wife that are part of a couple’s history;

• Participate in the Prepare/Enrich Assessment

• Examine the spiritual foundations of marriage that support life-long unions; and

• Learn how stress management and conflict management skills can facilitate mutual growth and support.

Couples working in informal groups stimulate thinking, enlarge perspectives, and provide support and affirmation for one another in the sessions. There will be time reserved for couples to have private discussions as well.

There is a fee of $200.00 per couple payable 30 days before the workshop convenes. Please send in the fee to reserve a date.

Please mail to:
St. Anne’s Parish
ATTN: Kirsten Hair
199 Duke of Gloucester Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Approximately one month prior to the workshop, you will receive a copy of the agenda and related materials with instructions for completion prior to the workshop. If you have any questions, please call or email The Rev. Amy Richter at the Parish Office.

Contact:
Rev. Amy Richter
410-267-9333 ext. 203
arichter@stannes-annapolis.org

Wedding Information Form

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What Does it Cost to Have a Wedding at St. Anne’s Church?

If you desire to have a Christian wedding ceremony, in a church, with a priest officiating, and using the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer service, then we encourage you to consider being married at St. Anne’s Church. The amount of money we require is based on whether you are already affiliated with St. Anne’s or not. This isn’t because we wish to exclude any potential couples, but because people who are pledging members of St. Anne’s already give money to support the ministries of St. Anne’s Church and we do not ask for extra donations from members who already pledge. We ask only for money to cover various costs of the service. For those who are new to St. Anne’s or those who are not members, we request a donation to help carry out the ministries of our church, beyond providing the opportunity to share the celebration of marriage with you. Please read the descriptions below to see which best fits you. Click on the description to see the associated costs.

Pledging Member of St. Anne’s – We are (or one of us is; or my parents are) members of St. Anne’s Church and have made a pledge of financial support for the ministries of St. Anne’s within the past twelve months, prior to requesting our wedding at St. Anne’s Church. Click here for What is a Pledge.

Premarital Workshop (required of all couples): $200

For the Wedding: $800
This covers payment to the organist, for flowers, for clergy, and for the sexton (custodian). Kirsten Hair will give information about how to write checks and when they are due.

If you desire musicians in addition to the organist, extra fees will apply. Please speak with the organist for more information.

We are (or one of us is) Active Military Duty or Deployable Reserve  In recognition of your service, St. Anne’s Church wants to extend the same offer to you that we do to new members.

Premarital Workshop (required of all couples): $200. If you are unable to attend the premarital workshop because of your deployment, you will need to do premarital counseling with an Episcopal priest and make those arrangements in consultation with St. Anne’s clergy. You are responsible for any fees your counselor charges.

For the Wedding: $1,550
This covers payment to the organist, for flowers, for clergy, for the sexton (custodian), and a donation to support church ministries. Kirsten Hair will give you information about how to write checks and when they are due.

If you desire musicians in addition to the organist, extra fees will apply. Please speak with the organist for more information.

To reserve your wedding date, after confirmation, please send a $250 non-refundable deposit.

Do Not Plan to Join St. Anne’s – We do not plan to join St. Anne’s, or we do not live in this area, or we belong to another church outside of the Annapolis area, but we wish to be married at St. Anne’s Church.

Premarital Workshop (required of all couples): $200. If you are unable to attend the premarital workshop because you live out of [a particular distance? State], you will need to do pre-marital counseling with an Episcopal priest and to make those arrangements in consultation with St. Anne’s clergy. You are responsible for any fees your counselor charges.

For the Wedding: $3,550
This covers payment to the organist, for flowers, for clergy, for St. Anne’s wedding team, the sexton (custodian), and a donation to support church ministries. Kirsten Hair will give information about how to write checks and when they are due.

If you desire musicians in addition to the organist, extra fees will apply. Please speak with the organist for more information.

To reserve your wedding date, after confirmation, please send a $500 non-refundable deposit.