Reserve the Church
It is The Cathedral of Saint James’ desire to help make every wedding an event that will live in memory as a significant, joyful, and sacred occasion. As the church calendar is established will in advance, it is important that the wedding date is determined as early as possible. A minimum of six months notice should be given to the church in order to reserve the date. Because of the significance of Advent (the four weeks preceding Christmas), Lent (the seven weeks preceding Easter), and Easter week, weddings are no appropriate during these seasons. Please call the church office to make an appointment. Once the church is reserved, please make an appointment with the Dean to discuss the details of the premarital process and the wedding itself.
A proper marriage license, issued in the State of Indiana, is required under the provisions of the law of the State of Indiana. The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. It must be secured in advance, and must be brought to the church at the time of the rehearsal.
All weddings in the Cathedral of Saint James are conducted by clergy of the Episcopal Church. If participants wish clergy of other denominations to participate, they may do so with an Episcopal priest. All details of the wedding ceremony are subject to final authority of the Dean of the Cathedral.
Premarital counseling is required by the canons of the Episcopal Church and is a strong pastoral policy of this congregation. Counseling is directed by the Dean or their designee and must be completed at least one month in advance of the wedding date.
Couples will be asked to complete an online premarital relationship inventory as part of the counseling process. The couple is responsible for paying the provider’s fee for the inventory online.
If either party has been married before and that marriage ended in divorce, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana must grant permission for a re-marriage to be performed at the Cathedral of Saint James. If this situation applies, please call the church office and schedule an appointment with the Dean. In the case of re-marriage, all counseling should be completed no later than six weeks prior to the ceremony.
The altar guild
The Altar Guild members of the Cathedral of Saint James adorn and prepare the altar for participants’ wedding service. They are responsible for the reverent care of all the outward symbols of the inward and spiritual truths taught by these symbols. Altar Guild members will be present at the wedding rehearsal and on the wedding day to assist the wedding party with the ceremony.
use of the sanctuary
When a wedding takes place at the Cathedral of Saint James, the sanctuary is allowed to be used for three hours per ceremony. Participants have use of the facility for one-and-a-half hours prior to the appointed wedding time and half-hour following the ceremony. It is suggested that some photographs be taken before the ceremony since there will only be a half-hour of photography allowed in the sanctuary following the ceremony.
order of worship
The order of worship for the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage can be found in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 422. A copy is available upon request or may be found online. Readings should be selected in advance, with the advice of the officiating clergy. You will need to choose four readings—one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, one from the New Testament, and one Gospel reading.
Suggested Readings for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage
From the Old Testament
Genesis 1:26-28 (Male and female God created them)
Genesis 2:4-9, 15-24 (A man cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh)
Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7 (Many waters cannot quench love)
Tobit 8:5b-8 (That sha and I may grow old together)
From the Psalter
From the New Testament
I Corinthians 13:1-13 (Love is patient and kind)
Ephesians 3:14-19 (The Father from whom every family is named)
Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33 (Walk in love, as Christ loved us)
Colossians 3:12-17 (Love which binds everything together in harmony)
I John 4:7-16 (Let us love one another for love is of God)
From the Gospels
Matthew 5:1-10 (The Beatitudes)
Matthew5:13-16 (You are the light…Let your light so shine)
Matthew 7:21, 24-29 (Like a wise man who built his house upon the rock)
Mark 10:6-9, 13-16 (They are no longer two but one)
John 15:9-12 (Love one another as I have loved you)
Readers and liturgists
Couples are encouraged to invite family members or friends to read from Sacred Scripture at their wedding. Readers should be present at the rehearsal and should arrive for the ceremony at least a half hour before the start of the ceremony. If Holy Communion is part of the ceremony, a deacon, priest, or bishop is appointed to read the Gospel lesson.
If Holy Communion is part of the ceremony, chalice bearers can be family members or friends.
Music for the wedding is to be in keeping with the solemnity of the sacred occasion and the tradition of the Episcopal Church. The Cathedral’s Director of Music will personally meet with the couple to select the music. Please call to schedule and appointment. Vocal colors, if any, should be based on Holy Scripture. The couple can furnish their own soloist or a soloist can be hired through the church. Instrumental music that complements the musical style of the organist’s selections is permitted with the approval of the Director of Music.
photography and videography
Policies at the Cathedral of Saint James are intended to enable the church to preserve the solemn nature of the ceremony as a Christian Service of Worship, while also making it possible for the photographer/videographer to provide beautiful, artistic pictures of the couple’s special day. Formal poses may be taken up to a half-hour before the beginning of the ceremony and up to a half-hour after the recessional takes place. No flash photographs, professional or private, are to be taken during the wedding ceremony.
Flash pictures may be taken during the embrace and as the wedding party recesses the center aisle at the close of the service. Under no circumstances should the photographer stop the procession. Time exposures bay be taken from one, and only one, stationary position at the back of the church at any time during the service.
Professional video taping is permitted throughout the entire service provided the videographer and their equipment remain stationary. The Dean can advise as to the best place to position video equipment.
Floral arrangements and other adornments
Because of the beauty of the Sanctuary, extensive floral arrangements are not necessary. Two floral arrangements in vases may be placed on either side of the altar on the designated locates on the altar screen. These arrangements may be removed following the wedding ceremony, or may be dedicated to the parish for use on the following Sunday and distributed to local service agencies afterwards.
Pew ribbons and flower arrangements are permitted, but may not be taped, tacked, or nailed to any part of the pews. Appropriate hooks or ties must be used.
No additional candelabra may be used. The center-aisle pew candles for candlelight services are available for a small additional fee.
The early delivery of flowers ensures proper display and relieves any related anxiety. All arrangements, bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages should arrive at least one-and-a-half hours before the start of the ceremony. The forest must vacate the sanctuary a half-hour prior to the commencement of the ceremony.
Flowers or other adornments may not be placed upon the altar or altar rail.
Flower girls are allowed to drop petals only along the central aisle of the church at the beginning of the ceremony.
Birdseed and rice are permissible outdoors only but confetti is prohibited.
Aisle runners, which are a tripping hazard, are not permitted.
Unity candles, which are a recent cultural innovation, have no clear and consistent theological meaning or practice. The ceremonial actions taken by marrying couples in the Episcopal wedding rite—the joining of hands, the exchanging of vows, the giving and receiving of rings, the wrapping of the newly married couples’ hands in the priest’s stole, the solemn marriage blessing, and Holy Communion—are deep, ancient, sacramental symbols that speak clearly to the spiritual grace of union in heart, body, and mind in marriage.
A rehearsal is required in order to ensure a booth ceremony on the day of the wedding. Rehearsals are conducted on the Friday before the wedding ceremony.
The rehearsal usually includes an introduction by the officiating clergy person, a walk-through with music, and a period for questions and responses.
Persons present during the rehearsal who are not part of the wedding are asked to sit respectfully and quietly while the rehearsal is being conducted.
All members of the wedding party are required to attend the rehearsal. Those coming from any distance should be alerted to possible traffic congestion so that they arrive on time. Cathedral of Saint James staff and volunteers (sexton, organist, and Altar Guild) are available for one hour only. Please be punctual.
All members of the wedding party are to arrive one-and-a-half hours prior to the ceremony. The wedding party should assemble in the dressing room assigned to them. An Altar Guild member will assist the couple and respective wedding parties into the Sanctuary at the appropriate time.
If photographs of the wedding party are to be taken inside the church before the ceremony, it is suggested that the wedding parties and couple come ready for the camera as the Sanctuary is to be cleared approximately a half-hour before the start of the ceremony.
Ushers are to gather with an Altar Guild member for instructions in seating guests a half-hour before the start of the ceremony. All guests are to be escorted to their seats int eh church. Ushers are to be assigned in accordance with the couple’s wishes to serve as escorts for the parents and grandparents of the couple.
Smoking and the use of alcohol are strictly forbidden on Cathedral of Saint James property. The couple are under obligation to notify all members of the wedding party accordingly. Persons in violation of this policy will be asked to leave. Should they decline, the service will not proceed.
Weddings are “at cost” for all parish members in good standing. For all others, there are additional rental fees and honoraria to support the ongoing mission and ministry of the Cathedral of Saint James. To request an itemized listicles of services included in the wedding fee, please contact the Cathedral of Saint James office.