Other Service Concerns
The baptismal font and the communion table are furnishings integral to the Christian faith-neither may be moved.
The wedding ceremony is a service of worship and the music for the service must be appropriate in expressing gratitude and praise to God for the gift of marriage. (Secular or popular songs of special meaning to you should be reserved for the wedding reception.) Music for the service is under the direction and supervision of the Director of Music/Organist of MAPC who is expected to play all weddings. After your initial meeting with the officiating pastor you should make an appointment with the Director of Music/Organist to discuss the music for the service, including any hymns to be sung by the congregation. If the Organist is not available to play at the wedding, he will arrange for a substitute. If our organist is available but you desire a guest organist or other musicians, MAPC follows the policy of the American Guild of Organists: a guest organist or other musicians must meet with our organist, who will assess the musicians' competence and experience. If the musicians are approved for the service, it will be your responsibility to arrange for and pay the musicians' fees, as well as our Director of Music/Organist's standard fee.
Instrumental and Vocal Soloists
Vocal and instrumental soloists are encouraged and can add great beauty to a service. The Director of Music/Organist acts as the coordinator for hiring these additional musicians and will be happy to be in contact with you about these musical possibilities.
The church employs an octet of professional singers who are not only excellent ensemble singers, but accomplished soloists as well. If a vocal soloist, quartet, or a choir of eight singers is desired, they are to be drawn from this group of singers. Instrumentalists, such as a trumpeter, violinist, cellist, harpist, or string quartet are effective in our church setting and are also a popular choice with couples. If you wish to have a friend or family member sing or play at the service, arrangements must be made with our Director of Music/Organist as soon as possible.
Other Professional Services
The level of involvement of other professionals-photographers, videographers, florists and wedding coordinators-is at the discretion of the officiating pastor. The following policies are to be honored:
Photography and Videography
Guidelines and policies preceding and following the wedding service are different than those necessary during the service itself. Formal photographs of the wedding party may be taken within the Sanctuary from one hour until thirty minutes before the service, and formal photographs and "re-enactments" of the service may be arranged in the Sanctuary for thirty minutes following the recessional. Sanctuary access prior to the service is limited to one hour.
Though photographic and video recording of a wedding service can be a great blessing for remembering the ceremony over the years, unrestricted use of cameras is distracting, disruptive and even dangerous during the wedding itself. Unexpected bright flashes of light can do harm to people suffering from eye disease or other neurological disorders and musicians can be distracted or temporarily blinded by flash photography and this can interrupt the music at your ceremony. Additionally, retention of musicians by the church does not imply their permission to be implicitly photographed or included in videotapes of the ceremony.
Photographers and their assistants moving without constraint during the service is an unnecessary distraction and inappropriate. To ensure that worship itself remains the focus during the service, the following policies have been established:
- Flash photography and/or video lights are not permitted. There is adequate light available for good photographs.
- Photographers/videographers, whether professionals or guests, may shoot only from the balcony, not from the chancel, aisles or pews among family and guests. Those taking photos are not permitted to position themselves in the center aisle or intrude onto the chancel during the service. They must abide by the flash/light policy in all circumstances.
- We ask that you ensure that your photographer, friends and family are aware of and adhere to this policy. Should this policy be violated, the officiating pastor may stop the wedding ceremony until the integrity of the service has been restored.
Dressing for the service and pre-service photographs
Though we do have a room in which the bride may change, we recommend that all members of the wedding party come to the church dressed for the service. If the wedding party is using the services of hair stylists or make-up artists, please assure that their work is scheduled early enough not to delay the service. If pre-service photographs are planned in a hotel or the park, please ensure that those photographs will be completed no later than one hour before the service. Remember that photographers are interested in taking as many photographs as possible as this is their business and they will continue to press for "one more shot" and inevitably cause you to be late. Please be disciplined with these people for the sake of your guests. And remember, there may well be another service scheduled after yours.
Floral displays contribute to the sense of joyous celebration at a wedding, but we ask that restraint be shown in decorating the Sanctuary and Dana Chapel, taking into consideration the elegant simplicity of the worship spaces at MAPC. Wedding vows are exchanged in front of the communion table, which means that floral displays need to be placed at the sides of the chancel. Two flower stands are available and sufficient for a festive atmosphere. Flowers or other decorations cannot be tacked or otherwise attached to sanctuary furniture or fittings as well as doors (internal and external) and hand railings. An exception is made for candlelight weddings; simple decorations may be attached to the candlelight torch poles for those services. Scattering flowers on the center aisle is not permitted as crushed petals stain the marble floor and are dangerous to those walking down the aisle. The selection of a florist is the responsibility of the couple. A list of florists who are familiar with the church is included at the bottom of the Schedule of Fees page. The Church House will be open two hours before the ceremony on the day of the wedding, and the exterior sanctuary doors will open thirty minutes prior to the service.
Aisle runners are not permitted because they make walking on the marble floor difficult, if not dangerous.
Though couples may elect to have a wedding coordinator for help with many of the decisions accompanying the wedding festivities, such a person is not necessary for a wedding service at MAPC. Wedding coordinators who are contracted and expected to assist with the service must be familiar with church policy and follow the instructions of the officiating pastor.
Wedding rehearsals are held at 5 pm on the evening before the wedding. All members of the wedding party, including parents, readers, ushers, soloists and musicians, are expected to attend unless excused by the officiating pastor. Routinely, rehearsals take one hour. For very small weddings or wedding parties, a rehearsal may not be necessary. The decision as to whether or not a rehearsal is necessary will be made by the officiating pastor, in consultation with the couple. The wedding license and wedding rings should be brought to the rehearsal and left with the officiating pastor, who will provide safe-keeping for them until the service.
Candlelight services are possible in the Sanctuary for all weddings that begin near or after sundown. The Sanctuary may be configured with hurricane candles affixed to poles at the end of the pews on the center aisle. An additional charge for candles and maintenance staff is listed among the schedule of fees at the end of this brochure.
A wedding is a thrilling, joyful, life-changing event, celebrated with delight and pleasure with family and friends. The center of that event is the worship service where a couple makes life-long loving promises to one another in the presence of God, with the assurance of God's blessing upon the relationship.
If you have decided you want to be married at MAPC, we encourage you to begin noting your questions and concerns for discussion with the pastor. Each conference will begin with a time to review those concerns and questions. We want your wedding service to be an expression of you and your love for one another.
We at MAPC promise to do all that we can to help prepare you for the joys and responsibilities of your new life together following the exchange of your wedding vows.
During the time of preparation, we welcome and encourage you to make a special effort to attend Sunday worship services with us. One of the best ways to assure the health of your relationship is to worship weekly, becoming one in a life of faith through prayer, worship and service. If you would like to consider becoming a member of the congregation, we would be happy to talk with you about that as well.
Above all, we want you to know that we remain available to help you through this important time in your lives. In the weeks, months and years that follow, we promise to be available to help you continue to grow in your life together.