Weddings at St. James’

Marriage Retreat Ministry Web BannerWe are delighted that you are considering being married at St. James’. Both the chapel and the main church have been recently renovated and 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.

Should you choose to be married at St. James’, the Rector and parish staff will work with you to create a meaningful service of worship and a good beginning for your marriage.

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).

3) Costs:  Wedding costs are a concern of every couple.  Our intent therefore is to make details clear and direct.  Costs cover the expenses to St. James’ for conducting a wedding. The two cost tiers for members and non-members recognize that members already contribute to this parish and to the mission of St. James’ and that conducting a wedding for non-members generally involves additional time and attention on the part of St. James’ staff and volunteers.  Costs may be found here.

Helpful information regarding weddings at St. James’

St. James’ is honored to share with couples in planning and conducting weddings in the beautiful, sacred spaces of the main church and the chapel.  We want to hear your dreams and hopes for your day, and have learned that it is helpful to provide some guidance in advance in answer to questions that you may have.
  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


4.  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. 

  1. 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.


  1. Flowers, candles, etc: There are additional guidelines unique to St. James’ that apply to all weddings. These will be discussed in sessions with St. James’ Rector to allow for flexibility. There are only a few “don’ts”: 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.  This is both for the safety of your guests, and for ease of cleaning following your ceremony.


  1. Photography: While photographs are treasured reminders of this special day, professional photographers and videographers must adhere to requirements which preserve the sacred nature of the service. Flash may not be used except during the entering procession.  Once the ceremony has begun, equipment and photographer are asked to remain behind the congregation and only a quiet shutter is permitted.
For more information, and to set up an initial conversation with St. James’ Rector, please contact the Office Manager, Melissa Thompson through the Parish Office (315) 685-7600 or