Weddings at St. John's
The following information is designed to help answer frequent questions that are asked about wedding services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex. Couples who desire to discuss the topic further are asked to please contact Chelsea DiDonato, our Parish Administrator, at the church office (860-767- 8095 /). A minimum of sixty days notice is required and, if this is not the first marriage, a minimum of six months is necessary.
Whom May Be Married at St. John’s
Active parishioners of St. John’s and children/grandchildren of parishioners may be married at St. John's. If you currently are not a member, and would like to learn more about St. John’s, we invite you to give us a call, make an appointment to visit with the clergy, come worship with us, develop friendships with other members of the parish, and help us serve God in this particular part of the kingdom!
When Can Weddings be Scheduled
The scheduling of wedding services at St. John’s depends upon the availability of the clergy and the worship space. Only one wedding service will be scheduled for any given day. Weddings will not be scheduled during Holy Week, on Easter Day, on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day, Rummage Sale weekend, or when the Episcopal Church in Connecticut is having their annual diocesan convention (which is usually in the fall).
The Episcopal Church requires that all couples who desire to be married to meet with the clergy for pre-marital counseling. Marriage holds the promise of great joy and, at the same time, there are obstacles that can cause problems down the road if they have not been discussed beforehand. Normally, a couple should plan on three sessions, with each session lasting an hour and a half to two hours. It is preferred that these counseling sessions take place during regular office hours. If this is not possible, evening appointments may be scheduled based upon the availability of the clergy.
Weddings Costs for Members of St. John’s and their Children
Organist stipend: $325.00. Please make this check payable to “St. John’s Episcopal Church.” If you wish for the Organist is to be present at the wedding rehearsal, an additional $125.00 will be required. Please note, too, that if extra music or extra musicians are required, the organist’s stipend will be higher.
Sexton stipend: $50.00. Please make this check payable to “Craig Larson.”
Altar Guild stipend: $50.00. Please make this check payable to “St. John’s Episcopal Church.”
All checks are due on or before the day of the wedding rehearsal
Photographers / Videographers
Weddings are well worth preserving on film. However, it is very important that the photographer is not a disruptive and distracting presence during the worship service.
Professional photographers and videographers are welcome to call the Parish Administrator to set up a time to “scout out” St. John’s and determine where the best places are to set up their equipment. It is acceptable for them to take photos (with or without flash) when the bride or groom is entering the church as long as they do so halfway down the aisle. Standing directly in front of the bridal party and taking pictures as the bride or groom walks in is not permitted.
During the wedding itself, photographers may take non-flash photos from the back of the church or from the sacristy door.
Photos of the wedding party and families may be taken in the church prior to and after the wedding.
Please note: out of respect for God and the sanctity of the church’s sacred space, and in order for your guests to participate fully in the worship service, the taking of photos by those attending will not be permitted after the bride or groom has finished walking up the aisle. When the couple walks out, the congregation may again take pictures.
Music for the ceremony will be decided upon in consultation with Darlene James, the parish organist, with the clergy giving final approval. Soloists and other instrumentalists should plan on rehearsing with the organist at a mutually agreed time before the day of the wedding and need to provide their own music along with a copy for the organist. Music during the wedding should be Christian, implicitly or explicitly, or classical in nature.
Decorating the Church
A couple should give careful thought to the use of candles, flowers, and greenery. In a church, the size of St. John’s, too many flowers and candles detract from the setting and make it appear cluttered. The Altar Guild of St. John’s will be an excellent resource for you to use. Your florist should arrange a mutually convenient time to deliver flowers to the church prior to the wedding.
If your wedding is held on a Saturday afternoon or evening, it is expected that the flowers from your wedding will remain on the altar for Sunday services in thanksgiving to God for your marriage. Flowers may not be taken from the church on Saturday evening and returned on Sunday morning.
The Wedding Rehearsal
The wedding rehearsal is usually held the evening prior to the wedding day. You should allow one hour for the rehearsal to take place. If you are planning a rehearsal dinner, it is advisable to schedule the rehearsal at least an hour and fifteen minutes in advance.
If, after having read this guideline customary, you would like to visit with us about your marriage service, please contact Chelsea DiDonato at 860-767- 8095, ext. 10 and she will help you set up an appointment with a clergyperson on staff.