God bless you and your future spouse as you embark on a new chapter of your life together! Hundreds of weddings have been held in our beautiful cathedral and we welcome the opportunity to host your extra special day.
A Christian wedding is the corporate or congregational worship of all those gathered to thank and praise, pray and implore God’s blessing with you upon your marriage. Those who come to share your joy have an important part to play as well: Your guests are not just spectators, but worshippers and participants in your marriage service. The Christian wedding is also a public act of the Church. The Church has the responsibility to see that the service is carried out in a reverent, dignified manner.
Furthermore, the Church has the responsibility to see that the wedding service is in harmony with the principles of Christian worship — that it is directed first of all to God, and that it is centered in Christ. What follows is an overview to assist you in planning your wedding.
For more information about holding your wedding at Trinity Lutheran Church, or if you have specific questions about any of the service listed below, please contact Pastor Bob Linstrom or call the church office directly at 616.949.2510.Pre-marital Counseling
As a couple, you will meet with the pastor three or four times prior to your wedding. Appointments for these pre‑marital counseling sessions can be made directly with the pastor. These meetings will focus on planning your wedding service, building a relationship between you and the pastor, and discussing topics essential to a good marriage.
To prepare for those discussions, you can choose from:
- A video and worksheet package that you can complete at home
- A series of communication worksheets to be finished at home and discussed with the pastor
We encourage you to select music that supports, reinforces and celebrates the worshipful setting of your wedding service. The church organist can also assist you in choosing the music for your wedding. We expect the music choices will be musical and liturgical (especially the lyrics), as the wedding is a service of worship.
It is Trinity’s policy that our church organist will play during your wedding. The organist will be happy to meet with you and your vocal/instrumental musicians to plan and practice.
Congregational hymns are an excellent way of helping those assembled share in the thanks and praise for your marriage, and ask for God’s blessing for you. There are many places within the wedding service where hymns are appropriate; your guests may use the hymnals in the pews or the lyrics can be printed in your wedding bulletin.
You may make special arrangements for individuals or groups providing special vocal music. If you would like some ideas for musicians, contact the pastor or the church organist.
Wedding pictures may be taken either before or after your service (if before the service, they must be finished at least 30 minutes prior to the service time).
Pictures cannot be taken during the service itself. However, if your photographer is capable of taking time exposed shots from the rear of the church, that is fine and acceptable. You are responsible to retain a photographer.
Plan to get your license well in advance of your wedding day, as the marriage service cannot begin until the marriage license is in the hands of the officiating pastor. Obtain the license from the county clerk’s office of the county where the bride resides. Licenses are valid for one month from the date of application.
Ushers play an important role in encouraging your guests to be seated in the sanctuary.
If you plan to welcome up to 100 guests, plan to have two ushers. If you will have more than 100 guests, plan to have three or four ushers. If you wish, your groomsmen may also serve as ushers.
Please inform your family and friends that throwing rice, confetti, or birdseed is prohibited in the worship area, the narthex or anywhere on the church grounds.
The use of an aisle runner is prohibited; runners are difficult to walk on and pose a hazard to both the wedding party and guests.
Trinity has a multiple camera that can record your wedding service in DVD format. If you’d like someone from the church’s trained staff to record your wedding, the cost is an extra $110. Speak to the pastor or wedding coordinator to make arrangements.
If you have a meaningful relationship with another pastor or priest and wish to invite them to participate in the service, please discuss it with Trinity’s pastor. The pastor would appreciate knowing your plans early so the proper invitation may be sent. Trinity’s pastor will serve as the officiate for the service, and the guest pastor or priest can serve as the assisting minister.
The total fee package for Trinity members is $550, payable to Trinity Lutheran Church in advance of the wedding. This includes the organist, custodial work and the wedding coordinator. In addition, members of Trinity are urged to consider a suggested honorarium of $200 for the pastor.
The total fee package of $1,000 is payable to Trinity Lutheran Church in advance of the wedding. This fee includes the use of the church sanctuary, parlor and double classroom, the organist, the wedding coordinator at the rehearsal and the wedding, the custodian, the use of the church’s unity candelabra, pre marital counseling sessions, and an honorarium for the pastor.
The use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted on church grounds or in the church building. Any member of the wedding party using alcohol or showing the effects of use will not be permitted to participate in the wedding. It is appropriate that the pastor may refuse to conduct the wedding if there is abuse of this policy.
Members of Trinity may reserve a wedding date at any time with a $100 deposit. Non members can reserve a wedding date one year prior to their wedding date with a $150 deposit.
Service folders and bulletins can be effective in keeping the congregation informed about the order of worship, hymn lyrics, litanies and prayers. Wedding folders or bulletins are available through local print shops or through church publishing houses.
You may wish to customize your own service. The following outline is provided to assist you in that process. The sections listed below are optional; all other sections are considered essential elements of the marriage service.
Most groomsmen and bridesmaids enter as couples. The groom and the bride are encouraged to enter with both parents. Either a special musical selection or a congregational hymn accompany the bridal party into the sanctuary.
A welcome statement made to the congregation on behalf of the bride and groom. The pastor or anyone else you choose can deliver this welcome message.
This is the opening call to worship.
Prayed by either the pastor or another person selected by the bride and groom.
Either a special reading or a Psalm read responsively by the congregation and the pastor.
Two or more selections of scripture are usually chosen and may be read by the pastor, individuals chosen by the bride and groom, or by the congregation as a whole.
New Testament Readings
Romans 12:1 2
I Corinthians 12:31 13:13
Ephesians 5:21 33
Matthew 19:4 6
John 2:1 10
I Corinthians 11:11 12
I John 4:7 21
John 15:9 12
Colossians 3:12 17
Romans 8:31b 35, 37 39
Matthew 5:1 12a
Matthew 22:35 40
John 15:12 16
Old Testament Readings
Genesis 1:26 31
Genesis 2:18 24
Song of Solomon 2:8 17
Song of Solomon 8:7
Isaiah 63:7 9
Ecclesiastes 4:9 12
Ecclesiastes 3:1 9
Jeremiah 31:31 32a, 33 34a
N/N, do you accept N/N as your wife/husband; to live together sharing God’s love and grace?
Will you try to always love her/him; comfort her/him; understand her/him during discouraging times and joyful times; and commit yourself to her/him as long as both of you are alive?
Response: I will/I do.
The central part of the wedding liturgy focuses on the meaningful exchange of promises and commitments made between the bride and the groom. Vows can be written individually by the bride and groom, to express the personal depth and meaning of their relationship. It is also preferable that the vows are said to one another and not repeated after the pastor.
If you need help in writing vows, here are some ideas:
N, I take you to be my wife/husband from this time onward; to join with you and to share all that is to come; to give and to receive; to speak and to listen; to inspire and to respond; and in all circumstances of our life together to be loyal to you with my whole life and my whole being.
I take you, N, to be my wife/husband. I promise before God and these witnesses to be your faithful husband/wife; to share with you in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to forgive and strengthen you and to join with you so that together we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live.
I take you, N, to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you to better understand ourselves, the world, and God through the best and the worst of what is to come as long as we live.
I, N, take you, N, for my wife/husband; for what you are now and for what we will become together. I promise to be understanding, thoughtful and forgiving and I will give you my love and trust for as long as I shall live.
I promise, with God’s help, to be your faithful husband/wife; to love you and to work with you in establishing a life of love, mutual dependency, honesty, respect, forgiveness and trust.
N, I am willing to commit myself to you in love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness. I will try to be sensitive to your needs, I will try to give you my best so that you may be your best, and I will try to respect and honor you as a person at all times.
Each person exchanges a ring as a symbol of their commitment to the other with the words, “Accept this ring as a sign of my love and commitment.” This is also a very good time for the lighting of a unity candle (a musical piece should be featured during the lighting of the unity candle to provide a special backdrop to the symbolism of lighting one candle).
You may write your own or ask others to write them. You, anyone you choose or the pastor may pray at this time.
This well-known blessing can be either sung by a musician or musicians or the congregation — or simply recited by the congregation.
Pronouncement of Marriage
Spoken by the pastor, this is the public affirmation that you have been joined together in marriage.
Shared by the pastor.
Presentation of Couple
You may be presented to the congregation as either “Mr. and Mrs. N” or as “N and N, husband and wife.”
As with the processional, this music can be instrumental, vocal or a congregational hymn.