Planning your wedding at Paola United Methodist Church
We are happy that you are considering consecrating your marriage at Paola United Methodist Church. These guidelines are intended to help your plan your wedding and avoid any last-minute surprises. We want your wedding day to be memorable for what went right rather than for what went wrong.
The date and time of your wedding must be cleared with the Pastor and the Administrative Secretary before the event is placed on the church calendar. A non-refundable deposit of $100 also is required from non-members. We prefer that weddings not take place after 5 p.m. on a Saturday.
Church Use Fees
The building is available for use by church members and their immediate families at no charge. However, custodial fees and other charges apply to all weddings. Please contact the church secretary for a list of current fees.
Our pastor normally performs all weddings involving members of the church and their close family. The pastor may, at his discretion, agree to perform weddings for those who are not members of the church.
Gratuities for Pastor and Musician
Pre-marital conversation with the bride and groom, the rehearsal and ceremony itself will consume 10 hours or more of the pastor’s time. Regardless of whether you are a church member or not, this time is often in addition to the pastor’s regular duties. Therefore, it is expected that you offer compensation for the pastor’s time and effort. These days, $150 is customary. If a musician from the church staff plays organ or piano at your wedding, a gratuity also is customary. Please negotiate the amount with the musician.
United Methodist Women offer basic catering services if you hold the reception in the church Fellowship Hall. Contact the Reception Coordinator for details.
Conditions of Use
Choir chairs and lecterns will be removed from the platform to make room for the wedding party. No other movement of furniture or musical instruments is allowed. It is expected that members of the wedding party will straighten up after the ceremony and leave church property in the same condition that they found it. If candles are used in the wedding, some form of protection such as clear plastic must be used to protect nearby surfaces from dripping wax.
Those using the church are liable for any damage that may occur to church property. They also agree that they will not hold the church responsible for any damage to persons or property that occurs during use of the church, whatever the cause. The church also is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
It is the policy of this church that a period of extended conversation, or premarital “counseling”, is required before the pastor will perform the wedding ceremony. Generally, three or four sessions of about an hour each are sufficient. You will be given a set of forms that both the bride and groom should complete and bring to the first session. These forms ask questions that will get the conversation going.
Supervision of Children
Children are a blessing from the Lord. However, left to their own devices, they can cause damage to the building, sensitive electronic equipment and fragile furnishings – not to mention injuring themselves or others. All children must be kept under close supervision before, during and after the rehearsal and wedding ceremony.
The Wedding Ritual
The pastor normally follows a traditional United Methodist wedding ritual. Additions such as songs and brief readings (especially from Scripture) are welcome. Minor changes in the ritual may be negotiated with the pastor.
Will they walk the bridesmaids down the aisle? Or will they come out earlier, perhaps from the side, with the pastor and the groom? Either works just as well.
If you have a ring bearer, let him bring in plastic rings, not the real ones. The real rings should be kept by the Best Man and Maid of Honor.
If you have a flower girl, let her scatter blossoms cut from artificial (silk) plants. Real blossoms are easy to slip on (especially in high heels) and can be ground into the carpet.
Order of the Ceremony
Musician plays as congregation gathers.
Someone lights the altar candles or other candles.
Ushers bring in mothers. If there is a Unity Candle, mothers light the tapers beside it.
Ushers bring in grandparents.
Pastor and groom (and perhaps groomsmen) enter.
Bridesmaids (and perhaps groomsmen) enter.
Ring bearer and flower girl (if any) enter.
Bride enters with father.
Musician plays as bridge and groom exit.
Remainder of wedding party exits.
Congregation is dismissed.
Use of the Unity Candle in the ceremony is optional, but its compelling symbolism is making it increasingly popular. The tapers beside the central candle are usually lighted by the mothers of the bridge and groom, signifying that they gave life to the couple. When they have lit the central candle, the bride and groom do not extinguish their individual tapers because their individual identities are not extinguished in the marriage.
Sand sculptures also are a common to symbolize the new life being created at the wedding.
Photographers are welcome to record the event. During the ceremony, they should be as unobtrusive as possible and not use flash. If a video recording of the ceremony is being made, the balcony is an excellent station for the photographer.
Bubbles yes, but no rice, birdseed, or confetti!
Do not throw rice, birdseed or confetti at the bride and groom as they leave the church. These are hard to clean up afterward. Rice and birdseed also may cause women in high heels to slip and fall. You may blow bubble, though. Bubble kits are cheap and widely available. Please designate someone to collect the cast-off bubble containers afterward.
The bride and her attendants may dress in the Nursery in the northwest corner of the building. The groom and his attendants may dress in the Choir Room immediately below the nursery.
No smoking is allowed in the church. If you must smoke, please go outside – and clean up after yourself. Don’t just pitch cigarette butts into the lawn.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages in the building is not allowed.
Rehearsal of the wedding ceremony is normally scheduled the evening before the wedding so the instructions will be fresh in everyone’s mind. If all members of the wedding party arrive at the rehearsal on time and focus on the task at hand, a thorough rehearsal should take less than one hour. It is especially important that children be kept under control so that the rehearsal may proceed quickly and efficiently.