The Fairfax Presbyterian Church Session policy considers a wedding in our Church to be a service of worship invoking the blessing of God on the establishment of a new relationship and the founding of a home.
It is an ordinance of God, and is particularly meaningful for those regularly involved in the life of the church. It is appropriate therefore to view your wedding as a worship service. Since it is taking place in a sanctuary, your wedding must take into account the integrity of the setting. Though different from a Sunday morning worship service, it must adhere to some of the same guidelines. The framework of worship will affect what can and cannot be included. The Pastor and Organist can assist you in making your choices as you begin to plan.
As soon as you select a date for your wedding, call the Church Office at 703-273-5300 to see if the date is clear, that a pastor is available, and to make a tentative room reservation on the Church Calendar. You will then be sent a wedding information form to complete and return to the Church as soon as possible. Your reservation on the Church Calendar is not confirmed until this form is returned. A copy of your form is then provided to all persons involved in your wedding in any way.
After returning this form, you should then contact the Pastor to arrange a time to meet and discuss your plans. Three months before the wedding date is the typical time period for such a meeting, however appointments further in advance are welcome. Usually follow-up meetings are called for after the initial meeting has taken place. All couples must undergo premarital counseling, a series of sessions that focus on your relationship and your expectations for marriage. This is not an examination, but a program designed to strengthen you for successful married life. The sessions are led by a licensed professional counselor, and cost $300 for the complete counseling package, paid directly to the counselor. Prior to making detailed plans for your wedding service, consult with the Pastor on what to include. The use of certain wedding customs are not uniformly accepted in all traditions, and some are specifically preferred in this congregation.
The dignity of the Sanctuary and the deep significance of the service are the basic guides for planning the music. A wedding is a service of worship, therefore music for the wedding service should be music that is appropriate for worship. Music with secular, social or sentimental personal associations is not appropriate for such a service. During the time when guests are assembling, the music may reflect moods lofty and serious, joyful and festive – all within the underlying thought of glorifying God.
There is a large and rich variety of music appropriate for a wedding. The Organist can direct you toward these choices. It is possible that selections which you wish to be considered that are not appropriate for the service itself might be included at your reception. The Organist can also offer suggestions regarding vocal or instrumental soloists, if desired. In all musical decisions, the Organist can assist you in making appropriate choices.
It is the policy of this Church that a member of the church’s music staff will be the organist for all weddings. Exceptions are possible only with the prior approval of the Organist and Pastor, in which case, according to guidelines of the American Guild of Organists, it is appropriate, nonetheless, to offer the Church Organist the prescribed fee.
After you have booked the church, submitted your forms, and made an appointment with the Pastor, you should set up an appointment with Organist to discuss the music for your wedding. The FPC Organist is Sanghwa Lee, who may be reached at 703-273-5300 or through the Director of Music, Gretchen Kutchner, at the same number.
Your service may be officiated by a Guest Minister, with the permission of the FPC Pastor. However, an FPC Minister must be present at the ceremony as a “Host Pastor,” and compensated appropriately.
If you are having floral arrangements delivered to the church, a member of the wedding party may need to be present to receive deliveries if a member of FPC staff is unavailable during this time.Two flower tables in the Sanctuary can be effectively arranged to enhance the beauty of your wedding service.
After the ceremony, flowers may be left as a gift to the congregation for the following Sunday service in honor of your wedding. If this is your desire, please make a reservation for that date on the Flower Calendar found in the Narthex. An acknowledgement for your gift will be printed in the Sunday church bulletin.
The photographer may take flash photographs only during the processional and recessional. No flash pictures may be taken during the ceremony itself. After the service, the photographer is not restricted. Videotaping is permissible, provided the camera operator remains stationary throughout the service and uses existing light only.
The Church does not provide this service. Most printers in the area can provide this service for you. Consult the Pastor regarding form and content of such a bulletin.
Normally a rehearsal is scheduled for all weddings the evening before the wedding day. This can be arranged with the Pastor. The entire wedding party should attend, along with parents of the bride and groom. Other friends and family are welcome to be present. Rehearsals will begin on time, so make an effort to arrive early if possible.
The Marriage License must be given to the Pastor no later three days before the scheduled ceremony. After the wedding is performed, it will be completed and sent to the Clerk of Court. Your wedding cannot be performed without this in hand.
The Fellowship Hall of the Church is available for use as a reception location for FPC members only. To reserve it you must complete a “building use” form which can be obtained from the Church Office. Celebration and popular music is welcomed, as is dancing. Alcoholic beverages, however, are not permitted.
Receiving lines, when held at FPC, are typically within the Narthex after the ceremony.
This custom is usually reserved for after the reception, but can be done at the Church if desired. It is to be done outside the building as the bride and groom depart. Please refrain from the use of rice and confetti.
A wedding volunteer is available to assist you. This person will assist the Pastor with logistics during the wedding rehearsal, and assist the wedding party in any way needed on the wedding day.
Speak with the Pastor about the service.
If you have any further questions about your wedding plans, feel free to call the Church Office or a Pastor at 703-273-5300.