weddings & holy unions
A wedding is a joyous celebration within a community of faith. The marriage ceremony is a public vow, aided by the prayers of those present, and strengthened by the grace of God.
We want to help you in your preparation and to support you in this important faith commitment, both now at the time of your wedding, and into your marriage.
The Canons, or rules, of the Episcopal Church require that one member of a couple be a baptized Christian. Every couple wishing to be married in the Episcopal Church must take part in premarital counseling. Those who have been married previously, and whose marriages have ended in divorce, may be remarried by permission of the Bishop of Chicago.
To inquire about a Wedding or Holy Union at Christ Church begins when you have completed the Marriage Application Form and send it to Charlotte McGee. This form provides us all of the initial information we need to best serve you in preparing for your wedding and your marriage.
- Christian Marriage is defined by the Book of Common Prayer (p. 422) as a lifelong covenant between two people, and Almighty God. This covenant is entered into through the couple’s solemn marriage vows, aided by the prayers of those present, and strengthened by the grace of God conveyed in the Nuptial Blessing. Through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the couple experiences the love and commitment which Christ has for his Church, and expresses the love and commitment which the Church has for Christ. It is especially appropriate for the marriage service to be set within a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in which the married couple’s first act is the reception of Holy Communion as a pledge of their commitment to each other and to God.
- To request a date. A couple desiring to be married at Christ Church meets with a priest to discuss the request. Scheduling of the date and time of the wedding is done in consultation with the officiating priest. Couples are reminded that Sundays and certain Holy Days and church seasons (Advent and Lent) are not appropriate times to celebrate and bless a marriage.
- Marriage Preparation. The couple meets with the officiating priest for a series of sessions to explore the nature of Christian marriage, the significance of marriage for them, and other issues pertinent to each couple. During these sessions the priest as pastor assists each couple to address important issues prior to the start of their married life.
- Remarriage after divorce. If either or both parties are divorced, the priest must seek permission from the Bishop of Chicago to solemnize the marriage. This requires additional sessions to meet the requirements of the Canons of the Episcopal Church for marriage after divorce.
- Liturgy. The wedding liturgy follows the order of Christian Marriage as defined by the Book of Common Prayer, with or without the Eucharist. The priest works with each couple to personalize the liturgy, helping them choose appropriate Scripture lessons, for example. The officiating priest makes the final decision concerning all liturgical matters and conducts the rehearsal.
- Music. The parish Organist works with the couple to choose appropriate instrumental and vocal music subject to the approval of the officiating priest. The parish Organist normally plays whenever music is desired. In the event that a guest organist is obtained with the parish Organist’s permission, the parish Organist shall receive the usual fee.
- Altar Guild. Members of the Altar Guild of Christ Church assist the clergy and the bridal party at the rehearsal and wedding.
- Flowers. Flowers are coordinated with the Altar Guild at least six weeks prior to the wedding. Please note these guidelines:
The bridal couple or their families provide the flowers for the chancel. It is the custom of the parish that these flowers remain on the altar as a thank offering for Sunday services.
The main arrangement is placed underneath the cross at the reredos. Flowers on stands may also be placed on either side of the altar, if desired.
Flowers or greens may be fastened to the center aisle ends of the pews, provided the wood is protected from damage.
The bridal couple provides the Altar Guild the name and phone number of the florist.
Altar Guild members are to be present when any church decorating is done.
If an aisle runner is desired, it must be of woven cotton, supplied by the florist or other source.
Church: 75 feet
- Seating Capacity. Church: 325, with additional seating for 75
- Photographs. Because the marriage ceremony is a worship service, no photographs may be taken during the actual ceremony. Because of the distraction it creates, a professional photographer may take photos during the opening and retiring processions. This information is to be made clear to the professional photographer. Photos, including those to be staged (ie: giving of rings, the Blessing), may be taken up to 30 minutes prior to the service, as well as after the service. If the priest is needed for staged photos, please discuss the time for these in advance, so that the priest can plan accordingly.
- Marriage License. The marriage license for a wedding at Christ Church must be issued in Cook County, Illinois. It may be obtained at the Office of the County Clerk in Chicago or Skokie. The license is to be brought to the Parish Office or to the priest by the time of the wedding rehearsal.
- Wedding Gratuities:
Organist: The Organist receives $350 for playing at a wedding and arranging any other music that is requested. A check is made directly to the Organist. Together with the Clergy, the Organist helps with liturgical aspects of the service, including helping with music selection. Additional musicians may be used and their fees are determined by them. The Choir is available to sing at a wedding for a donation of $1,500 to the church which goes into our music account.
Sexton:. Our Sexton (custodian) receives a $150 gift for taking care of all logistics the day of the wedding. Checks are made directly to the Sexton on duty.
Officiating Clergy:. The clergy are responsible for all marriage and wedding preparation. This involves planning both for the event and the future relationship. A series of meetings will take place at a time and place that is mutually convenient. Honoraria for weddings start at $500.
Christ Church: It is appropriate to make a gift to the church in thanksgiving for the couple being married. We suggest a gift of $1,000 for people who are contributors of record and $5,000 for those who are not. The distinction is made because regular contributors are responsible for maintaining the church in its current state and we want to share the opportunity to keep our buildings and grounds in good repair with those who will benefit from this commitment. Check should be made to Christ Church.
Flowers: These can be covered various ways. Local florists inside and outside the parish are available. This is an item of discussion with the Clergy during planning sessions.
Wedding Programs: With proper advance notice, Christ Church is happy to provide Wedding Programs as part of our offering and support to the couple being married. Alternatively, we are equally happy to have those done elsewhere.
For more information, contact Charlotte McGee our Office Manager.