"Marriage is a holy estate, ordained of God, and to be held in honor by all."
It is the joining together of two lives. It is God's intention that those who marry should have joy and
happiness, should give themselves to each other, and should share their total lives. Therefore,
it is proper to have the marriage solemnized in a service of worship in the church.

> Scheduling > Laws > Worship > Music > Decorations > Cameras > Rehearsal
> Reception > Fees > Notes

The information provided here is general in nature and offered to assist in planning your coming wedding. It will not answer all your questions but those most frequently asked. For any additional information, or if you have any questions or concerns about these guidelines, please contact one of the Pastors, a member of the Wedding Guild (listed below) , or the Church Office (359-6562).

Weddings are provided for members of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church family. (A member is one whose name is on the roll of St. Stephen's Church.)

Facility fees will be charged for other weddings (those who are non-members) in the amount of $1,100. This is a non-refundable, non-transferable fee which will apply towards the total amount of fees due. If there are additional fees due, they must be paid in full two weeks prior to the wedding. (See "Fee Schedule" below). No part of the $1,100.00 will be refunded.

We request that you honor these guidelines and requests so that your wedding will be a memorable worship experience and a witness to Christ's presence among us.


Scheduling Requirements ...

Consult with one of our Pastors to confirm date/time of wedding on his/her personal calendar and church calendar. Weddings are not scheduled during the penitential season of Lent or during Holy Week.  A time should be scheduled for the wedding rehearsal. If you desire to hold a reception at St. Stephen's, this should be confirmed on the church calendar also.

Contact a member of the St. Stephen's Wedding Guild after these dates/times have been confirmed.  The Wedding Guild is a group of trained persons, dedicated to assisting the Pastor and you in the mechanics of the wedding.  It will be the consultant's responsibility to be available at mutually agreed upon times to aid you in your planning.  Wedding directors or consultants from outside the St. Stephen's Wedding Guild are not allowed.  (See the list of Wedding Guild members and the fee schedules at the bottom of this page.)

Schedule an appointment with the Wedding Consultant to review "Wedding Guide." Bride, bride's mother, groom, or whomever may be significantly involved in the wedding plans may be present for this consultation.

Pre-marital counseling by one of our Pastors is required. This should be scheduled with the Pastor within six weeks of the wedding date.

The church organist, unless unavailable, will be the organist for the wedding.  If St. Stephen's organist is not available, the church organist will help in the selection of a suitable organist.  Contact the church organist to confirm your wedding date on her calendar.


South Carolina Laws Regarding Marrriage ...

Obtain a marriage license from any county court house in South Carolina. The Probate Court of Lexington County (Marriage License Bureau) is located at 205 East Main Street (Telephone: 785-8324). Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both persons must be present to apply, but one may pick up the license after applying.

A blood test is not required by the State of South Carolina. If you are over the age of 18, you must present birth certificates or drivers' licenses, and documentation of Social Security numbers.  Persons under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent and present a certified copy of their birth certificate which will remain with the bureau as a permanent record.

A 24-hour waiting period in securing your license is required, but there is no expiration date. The cost of a marriage license is $30.00 (cash or checks may be payable to the County of Lexington). This includes the $10.00 county fee and $20.00 state marriage license tax.

The marriage license should be brought to the Pastor at least three days prior to the wedding date.


Weddings & Worship ...

The Christian wedding service is an act of worship and should be planned with the criteria that shape all parish liturgies.  Here Christians come together to offer special thanks and praise and to ask God's blessings upon this bride and groom as they join their lives together.  It is a joyful occasion of worship directed to God and must be Christ-centered in emphasis.

Everything is to be an expression of worship to God and appropriate to such an occasion -- the music, decorations, processional, liturgy, recessional, words, behavior, attitude, and manner of dress -- of wedding party and guests.

If desired, an acolyte may light the candles. However, any Christian approved by the Pastor and instructed by the Wedding Consultant may light the altar candles.  It is permissible for ushers to light the candles in the nave, though it is preferred that the acolyte (if used) light all the candles.  If a crucifer is used, this person must be a Christian and should be familiar with the carrying of the processional Cross.  (Referral of names may be given.)

The entire congregation should participate in worship. Each one is asked to pray in silence and hear the Word spoken and sung.  Each is asked to read the Psalm, sing the hymn and pray the Lord's Prayer -- as indicated in the bulletin or the announcements by the Pastor.

St. Stephen's seats approximately 450 people.

If bulletins are desired, this is the responsibility of the bride's family.

The Pastor is in charge, with the Wedding Consultant assisting him/her, at the rehearsal and the wedding service.

Other pastors may participate in the service with the approval of the Pastor and/or Congregation Council.  An invitation from the Pastor will be extended to the guest pastor.

Some couples choose to include the celebration of Holy Communion in their marriage service. It is a meaningful way to join with the most important people in your lives, celebrating your unity in Christ by sharing the sacramental meal.

Remember, above all, that the celebration of Holy Communion is by the entire community. The table of the Lord is open to every Baptized believer. Holy Communion reminds us of Christ’s first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana. It is there that joy overflowed to all present, just as the wine was available for all who gathered.


Wedding Music ...

All music used in connection with the wedding shall be appropriate for a Christ-centered service of worship. Any special requests must be planned with the Pastor and the church organist. This includes all music preceding the ceremony.

The church organist will assist you in the selection of appropriate music and recommend soloists and other instrumentalists if you desire these services.


Wedding Decorations ...

All decorations should aid in the worship of God and, in a Lutheran Church, should focus attention upon the altar.  Fresh cut flowers should be placed in the altar vases, as is customary for other services of worship. It is not necessary to have any additional decorations. Accessories such as candleabras, palms, etc., must be discussed with the Pastor or Wedding Consultant. Potted plants must be placed on waterproof cloths or saucers. Hymn books are not to be used as props. All decorations are to be removed promptly following the wedding and the sanctuary restored to its original setting.

The proper Paraments for the season of the Church Year will be used.

No additional decorations are to be placed on the altar or the pew end candles.

Ribbon and/or greenery may be used for pew markers. However, you are asked not to use tacks, nails or clamps which may mar the pews or any other furniture.

The pulpit, altar, cross, Bibles & altar candles may not be moved or obstructed from view by floral arrangements or decorations.

No aisle runner may be used.

Only artificial petals may be scattered if a flower girl is used.

All flowers and other decorations should be delivered to the church and be in place no less than three hours prior to the time of the wedding service.

To avoid wax damage to carpet and other furnishings, caution must be taken when any candles other than those on the altar are used. Any damage to the building or furnishings will be the responsibility of those reserving them.

A brass unity candle stand is available for use at weddings at no charge. The bride and groom are responsible for providing the candles.

Pew end candles may be used for evening weddings. Please refer to the fee schedule below to note fees charged to cover the cost of the candles and to pay the sexton to set-up and take down the pew candles. Candles may be placed at no more than every fourth pew.


Wedding Photography/Videography ...

Pictures taken during the service disturb the worship. The photographer and guests known to be amateur photographers should be instructed that no pictures are to be taken during the service. The bride is responsible to go over these guidelines with the photographer, perhaps even giving him/her a copy of this section. A flash picture is permitted only of the procession of the bride/escort and mothers and the recession of the bride/groom and parents. Time exposures with no flash of light involved (and no noise) may be taken provided the photographer is in some very inconspicuous place like the very back of the church or in the balcony. Ushers will be instructed to inform guests with cameras of these restrictions also.

There is no objection to taking pictures in the church after the service as long as this is done with proper reverence for the house of God.  The pastor(s) will gladly cooperate after the service in re-enacting any part of the wedding. If posing for pictures is desired, frequently the best time is immediately after the service, before the reception. Members of the wedding party should be informed of this at the rehearsal and reminded of this prior to the service. If formal pictures are to be made prior to the service all photographs must cease at least 45 - 60 minutes before the service begins. Pictures will be allowed in the sanctuary prior to the service only if this is accomplished with due reverence to the sanctuary and with the approval of the pastor and the director.

It is not considered good taste to keep the guests waiting a long time at the place of the reception.  Thus a lengthy delay for the sake of taking pictures should be avoided.

The service may be videotaped and/or audio recorded, with the approval of the pastor. Additional lighting for videotaping is not permitted, however. All equipment and the operator(s) of it should be located in the balcony.

The name(s) and availability of videographer(s) of our normal Worship Services are also available upon request. Fees must be negotiated with videographers separately. The church takes no responsibility for the quality or content of the tapes.

Wedding Rehearsal ...

The rehearsal is important. If a beautiful, reverent, and graceful ceremony is desired, everyone in the wedding party should be present. Parents (as well as grandparents, and anyone specially ushered in) of both the bride and groom should attend the rehearsal. It is extremely important that the rehearsal begin and end on time. The bride and groom are responsible for seeing that everyone is at the appointed place at the appointed time.


Wedding Reception ...

A reception is not mandatory but is a courteous practice. It may be as simple as having the couple (probably with parents) standing in the narthex, an adjacent room, or in the sanctuary courtyard -receiving the best wishes of the guests. Frequently it is held in a place arranged with some decorations and refreshments. This may be in the Fellowship Hall, a private home, or any other suitable place.

Facilities of the congregation may be used for a wedding reception. The pastor(s) must approve all requests and plans for use of any rooms or facilities of the congregation. The Pastor(s) will reserve requested facilities at the time of confirming the wedding date.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the church property.

Care must be taken that equipment and supplies of the church not be misplaced or damaged, and that rooms used be promptly cleaned and ready for church use.

Only bird seed may be thrown on the outside of all buildings.

Custodial work in connection with a wedding and/or reception is additional cleaning in the church and should be taken care of by the bride's family. The Pastor(s) or Office Manager will assist in making these arrangements with the custodian -- time, costs, etc. (See Fee Schedule below.)


Wedding Fees ...

As a member of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, there is no charge for the use of the facilities. Fees, however, are asked for the services of those persons who will assist you with your wedding.

Payment of all fees is required at least two weeks in advance of your wedding date. Checks should be made out to the individual providing the service, i.e., organist, wedding director, etc. Church fees should be made payable to St. Stephen's. Checks should be left with the St. Stephen's Administrative Assistant/Office Manager.

Members Non-Members*

Facilities

Sanctuary No fee *
Social Hall  No fee $200
Parlor/Classrooms No fee $50

Unity Candle No fee No fee

Pew Candles & Set-Up Fee $40 $40

Organist $350 *
Fee includes music consultation, rehearsal, wedding, and rehearsal with one soloist.  Rehearsal with additional soloists are $50 each for members and non-members.

Wedding Consultant
Fee includes planning, rehearsal, and wedding $200 *

Custodian
Sanctuary clean-up fee         $60 *
Social Hall clean up fee $60 $60
Please note that it is the responsibility of the party renting our facility to see that all trash and garbage is removed from the Feollowship Hall and taken outside to the dumpster behins the kitchen.  Our custodian will sweep and mop the floor, and return the tables and chairs to their normal location.
Parlor/Classrooms clean-up fee $50 $50

Soloist
Separate from Organist fee.  You must make your own arrangements and pay the Soloist directly, not through the church.

Pastor
Premarital Counseling, Rehearsal & Wedding No fee *
An Honorarium is appropriate.

*Special note for non-members: A non-refundable, non-transferable fee of $1,100.00 must be received at the church in order to reserve the church for your wedding.  It will be applied to the total fees due for your wedding. No part of the $1,100 is refundable and it will hold the date selected and prearranged between you and the pastor/s.  No part of the $1,100 is transferrable to another date or person. Additional fees due must be paid two weeks prior to your wedding date.

One check should be made payable to St. Stephen's Lutheran Church and left with the Administrative Assistant/Office Manager along with the registration form to secure your prearranged date on the church calendar.

The $1,100 covers the use of the Sanctuary, Organist fees for consultation, rehearsal, and ceremony (includes rehearsal with one (1) soloist, Wedding Consultation fee, Pastor’s fee for Premarital Counseling, Rehearsal, and Wedding, and Custodian fee for clean-up of the Sanctuary.

Also, please note...

1) If requested, an Acolyte and/or Crucifer may be available through the church office for a fee of $25 each.

2) The name(s) of videographer(s) of our normal Worship Services are also available upon request. Fees must be negotiated with them separately. The church takes no responsibility for the quality or content of the tapes.


General Notes ...

"Bride's Room" - The parlor on the first level of the Educational Building is available to the bride and her attendants for dressing. No food or drinks are allowed in this area.  Care should be given to leaving this room properly cleaned before departing for the reception after the wedding.

Smoking is not permitted in any part of the church buildings, including rest rooms.

Courtesy dictates personal invitations to all individuals whom you desire to attend the various functions celebrating the marriage, i.e., rehearsal party, wedding reception, etc.  The pastor(s), organist, wedding consultant, etc., will not assume he/she are included if an invitation has not been extended.

Please use the following contact information to assist you in coordinating your wedding with St. Stephen's staff members...

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
119 North Church Street
Lexington, SC 29072

Church Office: 803.359.6562

Rev. Patrick W. Riddle, Pastor
Office: 803.359.6562

pat@sslc.org


The Rev. Dr. Dennis R. Bolton, Pastor
Office: 803.359.6562

dennis@sslc.org


Mrs. Carole Allen, Administrative Assistant
Office: 803.359.6562

carole@sslc.org


Members of the St. Stephen's Wedding Guild...

Mrs. Ann Jodie
Home: (803) 359-3331

Mrs. Debbie Hester
Home: (803) 359-7097

Mrs. Shirley Wessinger
Home: (803) 957-1429