Woodlands Church - Wedding Policy
INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL INFORMATION:
At Woodlands Church we believe that it is our responsibility before God to help people form Christian marriages, not just to perform Christian weddings. It is that understanding that shapes our wedding policy.
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Woodlands Church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the pastors and staff, whether paid or unpaid, of Woodlands Church shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of Woodlands Church shall only be used to host weddings between one man and one woman.
Those who do not intend to form a marriage, and build a home where Jesus Christ is Lord, would be better served by secular officials such as judges or other representatives of the state who have the legal authority to perform weddings.
As part of this understanding and purpose, we require those we are marrying to make a commitment to refrain from sex until after marriage. The Bible makes it clear that sex outside of marriage is a sin. It would be hypocritical for us, and dishonoring to God, to ask God in the wedding ceremony to bless your marriage if you are violating His clearly revealed will in this area. It would also be detrimental to the long term spiritual health of your marriage to go into it, living in disobedience to God. In light of this, in question #6 (on the Wedding Application) we will be asking you to make a commitment to abstain from sex until after marriage if you want to pursue having your wedding at Woodlands Church.
Also, as part of our understanding of marriage and it’s sacredness in the eyes of God, we would want to understand the circumstances of any previous marriage. We believe that remarriage after divorce is allowed Biblically in three circumstances:
- If your spouse was sexually unfaithful;
- If your spouse was not a Christian and they initiated the divorce; and
- If you were not a Christian at the time of your divorce, or if your former spouse has remarried.
Even if one or more of these three circumstances apply to your divorce, we would want to know that you have made every effort to be reconciled to your former spouse before we would agree to be involved in your wedding. Thus, in question #1 (on the Wedding Application), if you have been divorced, please tell us in detail the circumstances that lead to the divorce, and the effort that you extended to save your marriage.
We want to work with those individuals who genuinely want to develop a Christian marriage. We believe God has ordained that the church play an active role in this process. Therefore, as a general rule, the pastoral staff of Woodlands Church will only officiate at the weddings of those people who are members or regular attenders of the church. (We define those who are regular attenders as people who we have a record of attending 2 – 4 times per month for at least six months.) Until there is that evidence of regular participation in the life of the church, the pastoral staff generally will not commit to be involved in a wedding. Also, the church facility will generally not be available for weddings of people who would use the church merely for their personal convenience but are not actively involved in Woodlands Church or who have no intention of making this their church home.
If you are interested in pursuing premarital preparation, and a wedding at Woodlands Church, contact the church office (715-341-0800) to request a Wedding Application form. This is the form that our pastoral staff will review in order to determine if we can officiate at the wedding and/ or if the wedding can be held at Woodlands. It will include questions regarding the details of your previous marital history and your spiritual background and your willingness to do premarital preparation and build a Christian marriage. These details will be kept confidential, and decisions will be determined on a case by case basis.
If it is determined that the pastoral staff will perform the wedding, we do require you to be involved in a premarital preparation program. Research has shown that premarital preparation has been very effective in helping couples establish a solid foundation for their marriage. This is our goal in choosing to be involved in your wedding, to help you build a God centered marriage that will last. The cost of this program ranges from $30-$75, based on the materials that will be used; this will be determined and communicated by the officiating pastor. We will then put you in touch with our Wedding Liaison, who will assist you with the details of your wedding.
Weddings can be costly events for families, and we do not want to add to that burden in ways that are unnecessary. For that reason, there is no charge for using the building. The added energy costs that are incurred for heating or cooling during rehearsals, weddings, and dinners will be absorbed by the church as a service to the families of Woodlands. Our experience, along with the experience of hundreds of other churches, shows that there are three individuals whose presence is required to make a wedding run smoothly both for the wedding party and for the church. They are the Wedding Liaison, the Sound Technician and Custodian. Below are the services that each of these individuals will provide:
1. Wedding Liaison: The Wedding Liaison will aid in the planning and execution of weddings. Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, the initial interview, communication of wedding policies and expenses, and coordination and completion of decorating, rehearsal and wedding day events. She will provide information about weddings and will assist in recommended services (including sound technicians from the church) and outside services (including florists, printers, photographers/ videographers, caterers, and musicians). The Wedding Liaison will supervise and work with each of these individuals, as well as the appropriate church staff, committees, officers and leaders in order to coordinate all details of the wedding. She will also provide a “presence” for the church in the building during the day of the rehearsal and the wedding, and be the “contact person” for the church for all wedding details. (Use of the Wedding Liaison above and beyond the “duties” listed here will require additional fees, to be determined on hours of work involved.)
2. Sound Technician: The Sound Technician must be selected from a church provided list. He/ she will be present at both the rehearsal and the wedding, and will supply the “standard” use of the church’s sound board. Note: We do not allow people who are not on our list to run the church’s sound board. (Any use of the sound system above and beyond “normal” use will require additional fees, to be determined on hours of work involved.)
3. Custodian: It is expected that the church building will be left in “good order” after the wedding. In other words, the family is responsible to pick up and remove all decorations and trash left over after the event. However, there will be those areas that are not expected to be completed by the wedding family. These items, besides church set up, include but are not limited to cleaning and re-stocking bathrooms, damp mopping and vacuuming floors, and general readying of the building for worship on Sunday morning. (The Custodian will determine the standard of cleanliness. Excessive clean- up required on the part of the Custodian will require an extra fee at the rate of $25/hour.
There is a standard fee that is used to reimburse these individuals for their necessary and invaluable service. Together, they put in many hours of labor, plus the commitment of their weekend (typically Friday evening and much of the day on Saturday) to make a wedding run well. This fee (which is tiered, based on required staff and time involved) is passed on to these individuals; Woodlands Church does not gain any money through this - we simply seek to provide a fair compensation for their necessary services.
The tiered fee is as follows: The wedding ceremony, only - $400
Reception/dinner/dance - $200
A rehearsal dinner (Friday) - $ 75
A $100 “deposit” must be paid at the time the wedding is booked on the church calendar; the remainder of the fees must be paid one month prior to the date of the wedding. Checks should be made payable to Woodlands Church, with “wedding fee” noted in the memo section of the check.
ITEMS TO NOTE: VIDEO/TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
- Slideshows need to be in DVD format (DVD is the ONLY option!), and need to be provided at least two weeks in advance of the wedding;
- Words for worship must be formatted on the church’s computer – by church staff – also at least two weeks in advance of the wedding date;
- Any other use of the church’s computers is PROHIBITED!
- The wedding liaison will be the FINAL “say” for any issue related to the above.
OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS TO MAKE NOTE OF
- The stage in the multi purpose room is NOT AVAILABLE to be used for weddings; and any “DJ” or band which is brought into the church for a wedding reception must 1) bring their own sound equipment, 2) set up on the floor (we do NOT provide a moveable stage or platform), and 3) needs to be self inclusive. Any questions regarding use of and placement for such will be determined by the wedding liaison coordinating the wedding.
- The church’s sound equipment may not be used by a member of the wedding group; all equipment sound and otherwise - in the church must be operated only by a qualified sound technician from the church! The wedding liaison will help to provide this qualified individual.
- Behavior appropriate to a place of worship will be expected of all participants.
- We request that the event end by 10:00 pm in order to allow the church caretaker ample time to complete his duties.
- Should any damage be done to the building and/or it’s contents, the cost of repair and/or replacement will also be incurred.
- Only “licensed” caterers will be allowed use of the building.
Please refer to the Building Usage Policy for “do’s” and “don’t’s” regarding the use of the church building.