First Christian Church

Wedding Policy



"Loved the wedding, invite me to the marriage"





Marriage Policy: First Christian Church, Traverse City, MI

Marriage is a gift of grace God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a covenant between man, woman, and God that envisions God’s gracious vision for fullness of life and acknowledges the Holy Spirit in all relationships.

Marriage is a call for a man and woman to live out together their lives of discipleship before God. The celebration of marriage in a worship service is a testament and witness to the couples and congregations awareness of the spiritual bond that exists between us and God in life and in marriage.

Secondly, marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man and is recognized legally by the State of Michigan. All persons being married in First Christian Church must have a valid marriage license from the State of Michigan.

Consideration for marriage at First Christian Church?

Because marriage is an act of Christian discipleship, both the man and woman seeking marriage should be professing Christians; having publicly confessed their faith in Jesus Christ through public confession and/or the sacrament of Baptism. Faith counseling leading to baptism can also be a part of the marriage counseling process if either the man or woman has not confessed their faith in Jesus Christ.

Because marriage takes place within the life and work of a Christian community, couples should ordinarily be active participants in the ministry life of First Christian Church or church of another Christian denomination or non-denominational Christian Church.

Pre-marriage Counseling

The marriage counseling process is here to serve the interest of each couple; allowing you the most joyful life together possible. Marriage counseling will always focus on covenant with God and each other, love, communication, marriage history, finances and other areas that are identified in conversation.

Pre-marriage counseling by the Senior Pastor is a requirement for anyone to be married at First Christian Church. The number of visits and the duration of the pre-marital counseling differ with each couple. The minimum number of visits will total three (approximately 1 ½ hours each), with more visits required depending upon the needs of the couple or if faith counseling is required for persons who are not yet confessing Christians.

The pre-marital counseling process may begin as early as one year, but no later than four months, prior to a proposed marriage date.

Those wishing to begin the process of counseling and discernment must first complete an application. When the application papers are returned to the church office a tentative date for the wedding may be placed on the church calendar. This date should not be publicized, nor should invitations be sent until the discernment process is completed and the pastor’s approval has been given.

This premarital counseling process consists of:

1. The couple meets with the senior pastor of First Christian Church.

2. Throughout this process you are to be assured as a couple of the Church’s continuing concern in prayer.

3. Additional counseling may be necessary prior to or following the approval of the marriage.

4. If the pastor approves the marriage, the wedding date is confirmed on the church calendar as well as the date and time for the wedding rehearsal.

Marriage: A Service of Worship

Christian marriage is first and foremost a celebration of worship. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the pastor. The Lord’s Supper may be celebrated during the marriage service, and the invitation to the Table will be given to all baptized Christians regardless of denomination.

The service begins with scriptural sentences and a brief statement of purpose. The man and the woman shall declare their intention to enter into Christian marriage and shall exchange vows of love and faithfulness. The service includes appropriate passages of Scripture, which may be interpreted in various forms of proclamation. Prayers shall be offered for the couple, for the communities which support them in this new dimension of discipleship, and for all who seek to live in faithfulness. In the name of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the minister shall declare publicly that the woman and the man are now joined in marriage. A charge to the bride and groom will be given. Other actions common to the community and its cultures may appropriately be observed when these actions do not diminish the Christian understanding of marriage. The service concludes with a benediction and pronouncement of marriage.

E. Ministerial Leadership

The senior pastor of First Christian Church will have the privilege of officiating weddings in its sanctuary or connecting grounds. The invitation for another minister to take part in the service or officiate the service must be approved by the senior pastor of First Christian Church. Couples should not invite other clergy to take part in the service before consulting the pastor.

Order of Worship

The pastor must approve the order of service. All parts of the ceremony should be appropriate to Christian worship and acceptable offerings to God.

Music is an important part of the wedding worship service. Music should direct attention to God, who sanctifies marriage, and special care should be taken to assure that it is suitable and reverent. Some secular love songs are appropriate and express love as God intends; careful consideration shall be taken when choosing music.

Order of worship and music choices will be discussed during the pre-marital counseling as the pastor and couple, plan the service of worship. First Christian Church does have musicians available or the use of outside musicians is permitted. It is important to discuss this early on for scheduling purposes.


The Communion Table will remain in the front of the sanctuary – it may be moved from its current location to an area in front of the baptismal pool. The placement of flowers, candles, or other decorations must be approved by the pastor.

Decoration of the sanctuary will be at the expense of the wedding party. In keeping with the simplicity of this place of worship and to avoid conspicuous displays, decorations should not be elaborate. The following stipulations apply:

* Tacks and nails may not be driven into church property, and tape may not be used due to the risk of damage to painted surfaces.

* Flowers used for weddings must be removed immediately following the service. Couples who wish to provide flowers for Sunday worship may leave an arrangement with the church.

* Wedding parties will be responsible to maintain the order of the church property for the next service. This is especially important for weddings held on Saturdays. All properties of florists, caterers, or other persons employed to assist with the wedding must be removed immediately after the wedding.

Photography and Videography

Photographers are to consult with the pastor prior to the ceremony regarding their work. It is suggested that photographers attend the wedding rehearsal.


There is a no-alcohol policy on the grounds of First Christian Church. No one, including the bride and groom, under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant shall be allowed to take part in the rehearsal or the marriage service. The minister has the prerogative of canceling both rehearsal and wedding if this restriction is not observed. While the entire wedding day is a celebration, please keep in mind the wedding ceremony is a service of worship to God and not merely a social celebration.

Use of Fellowship Hall or Great Room for Reception

If available, the Fellowship Hall, Great Room and the kitchen may be used for receptions. This includes the use of punch bowls, dishes, etc. All facilities must be cleaned immediately following the event. Arrangements can be made in advance for additional cleaning services by the church custodian. This information is also included in the building & grounds use application.

No alcoholic beverages may be served on church property.

Fees and Honoraria

This information is included with the Wedding and Building Use application.