The Blessing of Marriage
You are engaged and we pray God’s wisdom, love, and presence be with you as you prepare for marriage. At St. Paul’s, the clergy are committed to offering to all duly prepared couples, whether same-sex or heterosexual, the blessing of civil marriages. These blessings of marriage will be celebrated by the assent of the priest with any couple who believe themselves to be called to make baptismally-grounded, monogamous, lifelong vows of fidelity to one another and before God in the context of a church community.
This means, at St. Paul’s you will have a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony. The civil ceremony will take place with a marriage commissioner (we can help arrange one, if you like.) and it can occur outside the church or in one of our rooms and then it will be followed by a religious ceremony officiated in the church by one of the priests of St. Paul’s.
Marriage preparation at St. Paul’s involves meeting with the clergy to become familiar with the liturgy (ceremony of blessing), information on civil marriage, and preparation for marriage within a Christian context. Marriage preparation course may be arranged with our priest. We also refer couples to professional counselors who are experienced in preparing couples for the challenges and hopes of married life.
How do we go about exploring a blessing of marriage at St. Paul’s?
The first step in moving toward a blessing of marriage is to contact the church office for an interview with our rector. It is best to arrange this meeting at least 3 months in advance of the desired date of the marriage ceremony.
- Both should be 19 years of age or have the consent of parents (consent form must be signed at time of licensing).
- There should be no any legal impediment to the marriage, such as either partner being already married, or being too closely related to one another.
Although the church views marriage as a lifelong commitment. It recognizes that sometimes marriages cease and relationships break down. The church offers support to persons who have experienced divorce and/or are seeking remarriage after divorce. You can have your marriage blessed in the church if you are legally divorced.
Other Church Requirements
- At least one of the couple must be baptized in a Christian church. If you have not been baptised, we invite you to explore what baptism means with our priest.
- Both parties must undertake marriage preparation as determined between yourselves and the priest who will officiate the wedding. Any successful long-term relationship takes work. You will also have the opportunity to talk about things that might challenge your marriage as well as identify and celebrate what will make your relationship strong.
Can we just rent the church for my wedding?
St. Paul’s Anglican Church is a very popular venue for weddings. Other Christians may rent the church facilities and provide their own officiant, in consultation with our priest.
We believe Christian marriages are both strengths for a community and in need of communal support, so we encourage you to explore and consider how you might be called to membership in the Anglican Church and to living out your marriage vows within the context of a church community.
For more information on renting the church as a wedding venue, please go to our rental page.
Are there any date restrictions?
Yes, we do not celebrate the blessings of marriage during Holy Week, week before/after Easter, Christmas Day. Please call the parish office for more details.
Do you allow alteration of vows?
For blessing of marriage officiated by our priests, we do not allow alteration of vows. We belong to a tradition that values corporate and not overly individualized forms of public prayer and worship. The liturgies are authorized for use by the diocese of New Westminster – the local region that our parish belongs to. There is room to make many other choices however. Couples may choose readings, select from a broad range of music, and include family and friends at different points in the liturgy.
What about photography and videotaping?
If formal pictures are to be taken after the service, those including our priest should be taken first.
The taking of flash pictures by anyone, official photographer or guests, is prohibited during the service.
Some couples have expressed interest in having their service videotaped. If possible without artificial light.
At no time should the photographer or videographer occupy the high altar.