Weddings, Baptisms & Funerals
Celebrations at St. James'
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We are delighted that you are considering being married at St. James’. Both the chapel and the main church are particularly beautiful sacred spaces for weddings. Although you need not be a member of St. James’ to be married here, if you live locally we sincerely hope that you will consider becoming part of the St. James’ community and making this your spiritual home.
1) First things: St. James’ takes very seriously our commitment to you in helping you establish the best possible foundation for your lifetime together. Therefore our policies are consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church which require the following:
- at least one of the parties must be a baptized Christian
- the couple does premarital preparation with a member of the clergy (4-6 sessions)
- in the case of a divorced person who wishes to remarry, permission of the Bishop of Central New York is required, adding at least 30 days to the preparation time.
2) Service details: Planning your wedding takes place in collaboration with St. James’ Rector and musicians. Each couple will be guided in thinking through options for the service such as readings and music, flowers and photography, with flexibility and creativity so that your wedding ceremony reflects you while honoring the sacred space and the framework and beauty of the Episcopal liturgy (wedding service).
Helpful information regarding weddings at St. James’
- Who may officiate?: St. James’ Rector has oversight of all weddings conducted at St. James’. In most cases she will handle preparations including the rehearsal, and will serve as officiant for the ceremony.
However, we understand that a couple may have a significant relationship with another Episcopal priest and would like that priest to officiate. The Rector welcomes a conversation in such a case, and it is her responsibility to extend the invitation to any other clergy to officiate.
Should the clergy of your choice be other than Episcopalian, St. James’ clergy are happy to invite another pastor to participate in the ceremony. St. James’ clergy will be in conversation with your pastor to determine the nature and extent of the role of the visiting pastor.
- Pre-marital preparation: Several sessions of preparatory conversation are required of all couples in accordance with the canons of the Episcopal Church. Couples who live outside Central New York, may choose to do this preparation with someone other than St. James’ Rector. In this case, your pastor will provide a letter to St. James’, detailing the nature and extent of the pre-marital preparation along with a statement of their confidence in your readiness for marriage.
- Order of service: There are choices to be made by the couple regarding music, readings, and other details, that will make your wedding service personal. However, weddings at St. James’ are conducted using the Marriage Rite (The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage) found in the Book of Common Prayer or version 2, as authorized for use in The Episcopal Church.
- Music: Because of the sacred nature of the Marriage Rite, music outside of the classical, sacred repertoire (such as popular songs, show tunes, etc.) is best used at your reception, though St. James’ musicians are open to discussion about options. Ultimately, the music of the service is at the discretion of the officiating clergy.
- Musicians: Musicians other than those on St. James’ are welcome to play for your wedding. However, St. James’ organist must be consulted and give permission if other musicians are to be used.
- Flowers, candles, etc: We strongly encourage the florist to consult in advance due to space limitations so that size and placement of arrangements do not impede movement or create a tripping hazard. Ultimately, placement of flowers is at the discretion of the officiating clergy of St. James’ wedding assistant. St. James’ does not permit the use of aisle runners or “Unity Candles.” Rice, flower petals, confetti, etc. may not be scattered in the church or chapel or on the church property. Flower petals may not be scattered inside the church as they stain the tile flooring and create a slipping hazard. Rice may not be scattered inside or outside. This is both for the safety of your guests, and for ease of cleaning following your ceremony.
- Photography and Video: While photographs are treasured reminders of this special day, the wedding ceremony is first and foremost a worship service. St. James’ has specific policies and photography and videography to preserve the dignity, sanctity, and sacramental nature of the ceremony. Photographers and videographers are required to read the Photograph and Videography Policies and sign an Agreement Form stating that they have read, understand, and will adhere to these policies. The signed Agreement Form must be returned to St. James’ 2 weeks prior to the wedding date. CLICK HERE for Photograph & Videography Agreement.
- Wedding Planners & Consultants: Some couples find it helpful to employ an outside wedding planner or consultant to assist them in planning the reception and other details leading up to the ceremony. Nevertheless, St. James’ staff is responsible for all arrangements concerning the ceremony: the music, the seating, photography and videography, movement and placement of participants, commencement of the ceremony, lighting, sound, and flowers. The wedding planner/consultant is welcome to attend the rehearsal and ceremony as an observer only, but has no role at the church during the rehearsal and the wedding ceremony other than as a guest.
- Securing Valuables: For security reasons, personal items and valuables should be entrusted to a designated person before the service begins. St. James’ cannot be responsible for the loss or theft of any gifts, personal items, or clothing during the service or left behind after the service.
For all of these reasons, baptism is a significant celebration for the individual and for the whole church. We look forward to sharing this important event with you and trust that it will be an occasion of great joy.
For more information, and to set up an initial conversation with one of our clergy, please contact the Office Manager, Melissa Thompson through the Parish Office (315) 685-7600 or email@example.com.