Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony

Holy Cross - A beautiful place for a wedding

Marriage is the occasion for the establishment of a life-long covenant, and is one of the Sacraments of the Church. Weddings, therefore, are performed by a priest of the Church only after there has been serious exploration of the meaning of Christian marriage and the significance of the wedding service itself. This is a time for careful consideration of how you think and feel about love, faith, trust, vocation, commitment and other areas basic to human relationships, and the nature of your commitment to a church family.

Although our vicar performs weddings only for members of Holy Cross, the parish is happy to provide a venue for weddings for couples affiliated with other Episcopal parishes or other Christian bodies, so long as they are presided over by duly ordained clergy and have a clearly Christian focus.

All arrangements begin with discussion with the vicar. Since the requirements of the Episcopal Church and this parish may affect decisions about the wedding, it is wise not to make any plans until you have talked with her.

For more information about Holy Cross facility usage or policies, please contact me or call our offices at: 814-725-4679.

Canon (church) law requires of Episcopal marriages that the couple meet at least three times with the priest or trained counselor for discussion of Christian marriage. At least one of the parties to the marriage must have received Holy Baptism within a Christian denomination. If either party has been divorced, the bishop’s permission must be obtained for remarriage.  (This should be discussed with the priest at the first interview. Those seeking such permission should be active members of the church.)

Only the vicar or a clergy person invited by her may officiate at weddings in the church, and the officiating minister should be involved in all plans for the service, and has the right of approval over all liturgical decisions. We welcome ecumenical participation. If you wish to have a minister of another church officiate or participate in your wedding, you must inform the vicar of his or her denomination and credentials and receive approval of these in advance.    

A couple intending to be married at Holy Cross must have a valid Pennsylvania state marriage license, obtained by applying in person to any county clerk in the Commonwealth. The license is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. Further details concerning civil marriage requirements may be obtained from the clerk of the county court.

The church, flowers, decorations and accessories: The nave of the church seats approximately 120, but it is entirely appropriate to have a wedding in the church with only a few guests. Flowers may be placed in the vases at the altar, and elsewhere in the church so long as their placement does not obscure the altar or the character of the sanctuary as a place of worship. 

The altar candles are lighted during the service. Candles may be placed elsewhere in the church (in conformity with fire codes), if desired. We do not provide “unity candles”, aisle runners or other such accessories to the ceremony. If you wish to use a printed wedding program, we have examples on file. If you wish to print your own, please show the proof of the program to the officiating minister before final printing. 

Music: Holy Cross’s organists are in charge of arrangements for music as well as playing for the wedding of members. They will also have helpful suggestions about appropriate repertoire and alternate arrangements for non-members. Final decisions concerning music rest with the officiating minister. The organist’s fee includes the wedding and rehearsal.    

Photographers and picture-taking: An Episcopal wedding is a service of worship. It is important that all involved be able to give their full attention to this solemn and joyous event. We ask, therefore, that no photographs or videos which require lights or other distracting arrangements be taken during the service (i.e., after the initial procession). The wedding party may reassemble in the church after the service for photographs. 

Money: There is no charge for the Sacraments of the Church, and no one will be excluded from the ministry of the Church for financial reasons. There is no fee for members of Holy Cross Church to use the sanctuary or chapel (although a donation to help cover janitorial services, etc. is always welcome). For others, the charge is $300. If you wish to use other parts of the building, such as the parish hall, ask for a copy of our building-use policy. All fees must be paid at the time of the wedding rehearsal.

Rehearsal: A rehearsal is a chance to practice, so that the wedding service itself can be carried out without undue nervousness or confusion. Ordinarily, it takes place the day before the wedding. It should take no more than an hour, once all are assembled (please be prompt – ready 5 minutes before the scheduled time). The people needed are: bride and groom, best man, maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids and ushers, and (if they are to “give them in marriage” at the ceremony) the parents of the bride and groom. The officiating minister is in charge of all arrangements concerning the rehearsal and the service itself. Bring the marriage license and appropriate fees to the rehearsal.

Wedding Day: A simple wedding service takes about 25 minutes without Holy Communion, and one hour with Communion. Ushers should plan on being at the church, ready to play their important role, at least 45 minutes before the start of the wedding. The bridegroom and best man should be in the sacristy at least 20 minutes before the service. There is room at the Church for the bride and her attendants to dress and prepare before the service. 

We ask that no rice, confetti or the like, be dispersed anywhere in or around the church buildings. Bird seed may be used outside (in small amounts, please).