Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wedding Prep

I find myself officiating more and more weddings as our church continues to grow. So what process do I take a couple through in preparation for their wedding? Where should a couple start if they are looking to marry and are interested in my doing their wedding?

The first step is to e-mail or call my assistant, Sheri Sell, at the church (; 626-2155). She will talk through with you the process involved and send you the information packet with a questionnaire for you and your fiancé to complete and return. Once Sheri receives that paperwork, she will set up an appointment for you and your fiancé to meet with me in my office for an initial conversation. It is at this meeting that I determine if I will be available to be part of your wedding. If I am able to be part, I will give you and your fiancé each a notebook at this meeting that we will use for all of our pre-marital counseling and our final wedding planning meeting.

From there, it is on to pre-marriage counseling. This includes 6 sessions. The first session involves me meeting just with you as a couple. We use this time to look at predictors of marital success and talk about positive and negative reasons for getting married. This session allows me to get know you better as individuals and as a couple.

Sessions 2-5 are done in a class setting involving you and your fiancé along with other couples that I am marrying. These take place on four consecutive Wednesday evenings where we go over topics like biblical love; the stages of marriage; the creation of marriage; our roles in marriage; communication in marriage ; handling conflict in marriage; acceptance, temperaments, intimacy, and much more.

The final session is when I meet with you, your fiancé, and your wedding coordinator. In most of the weddings I do, my wife is the one who coordinates. If you get married here at Grace Church, using one of our wedding coordinators is mandatory. We use this final session to plan your wedding ceremony in detail. Before coming to this meeting, you will need to have filled out some paperwork in your notebook asking you many questions about your ceremony. My goal at this wedding is to make sure I know exactly how you want your wedding to happen. That will allow for two benefits. First, it will make the wedding rehearsal go smooth and quickly (usually right at an hour in length).

Second, it allows me to protect your wishes for your wedding. This way, if the very opinionated Aunt Bertha or one of the soon to be mother-in-laws pipe up at the rehearsal with, “That’s not the way it is supposed to be done,” I can be the “bad guy” so you don’t have to have an ugly family confrontation at your wedding rehearsal!

I am often asked, “How much do you charge to do a wedding?” The truth is that I have no set fee. My paycheck comes from the church. I do weddings as a way to still have a contact with people from Grace Church on a special day in their lives and the lives of their family. Anything I am given by way of honorarium I consider icing on the cake.

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