Congratulations! You’re getting married! Marriage is a wonderful gift instituted by God himself in Genesis 2:24￼ when he says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
Thank you for your interest in hosting your wedding at Good Shepherd. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you as you seek to take this major step in your life.
We believe the most important relationship in any marriage is not the relationship the couple shares with each other, but the relationship they share with the Lord. Therefore, we ask that each couple make a commitment to the Lord as much as they make a commitment to each other.
There are lots of wonderful places to be married outside the Church. But because it is your desire to be married in the Church, it is important to recognize the Rite of Holy Marriage brings together bride and groom, their family, and friends into the presence of God. In such a case we take great care to do things, “decently and in order,” as the Apostle Paul advises persons gathered for worship in the church (1 Corinthians 14:40￼). This applies to music, decor, dress, and many other details including lifestyle.
We the members of Good Shepherd believe that we have a responsibly to you and your marriage. We simply cannot fulfill this responsibly outside your commitment to Jesus Christ and to the following established guidelines listed below. Such guidelines have shown to increase the success of marriage to over 95%. They include:
- Both are committed believers in Jesus Christ
- Are over 20 years old
- Dating for 18 months or more at the time of marriage.
- Have at least 6 month engagement.
- Time is limited alone together, with clear boundaries for physical contact.
- Commit to chastity.
- Live in separate households.
- Use a relationship inventory (done in pastoral consultation)
- Follow-up your marriage with marriage encounter, marriage enrichment, and family life experiences.
If you are living together . . .
We recognize that many couples choose to live together before marriage. Our concern is for you to build a strong and fulfilling marriage. A University of Wisconsin study of 12,000 couples shows that couples living together have an 85% relationship failure rate and their divorce rate doubles to 75%. We welcome the opportunity to look at your living arrangement with you as we strive, together with you, to reach your goal of a joy-filled relationship.
We look forward to serving you and help you to build your family with the solid foundation of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Our prayer is that God will bless your marriage and that he will always be at the center of your relationship.
If you are ready to move forward in this process, please take a few minutes to review the information below and fill out our online application form.
Membership in the Church
We expect couples who intend to be married at Good Shepherd to be active members of the congregation and to attend weekly worship during the time of engagement and be committed to regular attendance after the wedding.
If you are not a member of Good Shepherd, we invite you to participate in one of our new member orientations to become a member.
In some situations, individuals who grew up at Good Shepherd (perhaps were baptized and confirmed) have moved away but would like to be married at their “home” church. In these situations, we expect you to be an active member of a church in your new location and we will work together with your pastor in making arrangement for pre-marital counseling and wedding planning.
Please reserve your wedding date and time at least four months in advance. This gives everyone time for the necessary preparation. Please do not sign any contracts with reception facilities before confirming a date with Good Shepherd.
Guest clergymen of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations may participate in the wedding service; however, arrangements need to be made in advance. Clergy of other denominations may not assist in officiating a wedding service at Good Shepherd.
Before your wedding takes place at Good Shepherd, you will need to schedule three meetings with the pastor. Each of these meetings is approximately 60 minutes each.
These meetings offer the opportunity to get to know the pastor, to discuss wedding details. Couples will also complete an online marriage inventory to help guide these sessions and to help prepare the couples for marriage. Your wedding is one day where as your marriage is a lifetime. So we believe it is as important to put as much time into preparing for your marriage as you prepare for your wedding.
Music for your Wedding
You have the option to work together with Good Shepherd’s Director of Worship to plan the music for your wedding. If you plan to make other arrangements for music without Good Shepherd Director of Worship, these arrangements must be approved by Good Shepherd’s Pastor.
The music in your wedding must be appropriate for a Christ-centered worship service. Secular songs are not permitted in the worship service. Secular songs are more appropriately used for the wedding reception.
The Wedding March is a well known song often used in weddings for the entrance of the bride. However, we do not use this song at Good Shepherd as it comes from Wagner’s opera Lohengrin where the marriage scene ends in murder and suicide. Therefore, we do not believe this song is appropriate for a Christian wedding service nor is honoring of God and the institution of marriage.
The Wedding Rehearsal is typically held the evening before the day of the wedding. The Pastor must be available. At the rehearsal, you and your attendants will briefly go through the processional, the service, and the recessional. You will also be informed of details necessary to you and the wedding party. The rehearsal generally takes one hour.
Items to bring to the rehearsal:
- Marriage license
- Wedding fees
- Unity candle
- Ring bearer pillow, misc. items
The Wedding Service
You may arrange for your own production of the wedding service bulletin through a professional printer or using your own computer. If you print your own program, please bring a proof copy for the pastor before printing your final copies. A sample service flow is provided below for your convenience.
Services typically run about 30-60 minutes in length depending on the amount of music during the worship. Music can be added at various places in the service.
- Pre-Service Music
- The Processional
- The Invocation and Prayer
- The Scripture Readings
- The Declaration of Intent
- The Wedding Vows
- The Exchange of Rings
- The Pronouncement of Marriage
- The Lighting of the Unity Candle (or alternative)
- The Blessing and Prayer
- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Benediction
- The Recessional
There are various ways of doing vows. The wedding vows Good Shepherd generally uses are printed below:
I take you ( ) to be my wife/husband. I promise before God and these witnesses to be faithful to you. I promise to share with you in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health. I promise to forgive and strengthen you as Christ forgives and strengthens us, and to join with you so that together we may serve Christ and others as long as we both shall live.
In addition to the information that you will cover with the Pastor, you will have the opportunity to personalize your wedding service by choosing some important elements.
Some suggested Old Testament and New Testament readings are below. You may feel free to suggest other Bible verses that are special to you as well.
Typically, two or three readings are chosen. Non-Biblical readings are not permitted in the service.
- Genesis 2:18-24￼ (The first love story – God creates marriage)
- Ruth 1:16￼ (The total devotion love brings)
- Song of Solomon 2 (My beloved is mine and I am his)
- Isaiah 63:7-9￼ (He lifted them up and carried them down)
- Psalm 67 (A prayer for God’s blessing)
- Psalm 100 (A celebration of God’s faithfulness)
- Psalm 121 (The assurance of God’s strength)
- Psalm 136 (Giving thanks to God for He is good)
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12￼ (Friendship in marriage)
- John 15:11-17￼ (Jesus’ call to love each other)
- John 2:1-10￼ (The Marriage Feast of Cana)
- Romans 8:31-19￼ (Nothing separates us from God’s love)
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-13￼ (The gift of love)
- Ephesians 3:14-21￼ (A prayer for God’s blessing)
- Ephesians 5:21-33￼ (The calling of husbands and wives)
- Philippians 4:4-7￼ (The certainty of God’s joy and peace)
- 1 John 4:7-12￼ (The definition of and calling to love)
- Matthew 19:3-6￼ (There are no longer two, but one)
Photography & Video
Flash Photography and video are permitted during your wedding. However, we ask that the photographers and videographers be as discrete as possible. We also ask that they would contact the pastor in advance of the wedding to consult on any specifics for your wedding.
For your convenience, two rooms will be made available for use. One for the bride and bridesmaids and the other for the groom and groomsmen.
Use of the kitchen must be approved at the same time the wedding date is set. There will be an extra fee for the kitchen. If using the kitchen, it must be left clean with everything put away and all appliances turned off. We recommend appointing one individual in charge of these duties for the safety of the guests and the church.
Your florist can arrange for your church floral arrangement(s). Your florist may also provide a runner. It should be securely fastened at the head of the aisle. If you would like to present roses to the mothers, the florist can place those at the front of the church. Florists may deliver flowers one hour prior to the service.
If you choose to use a unity candle, you must provide it along with two additional drip-less taper candles. Some couples have used alternatives such as sand in place of the unity candle. You are welcome to use alternatives in consultation with the pastor.
Other Important Information
- Alcohol and illegal drugs are not permitted in the building, in the parking lot or on the church grounds.
- Good Shepherd is a non-smoking facility. No smoking is allowed in the building.
- Throwing rice, birdseed, rose petals or confetti after the service as the couple departs the building is not permitted. Bubbles may be used as an alternative.
- Use of Church: $200
- Pastor: $300
- Musicians: $100
Please make checks payable to the individuals performing services.
Clean-Up and Maintenance
When you leave the church we ask that you ensure the lights are turned off and you have left the place clean and free of garbage. If church–owned items are moved for the ceremony or pictures, please return them to their original spot as weekly services will take place on Sunday morning.