Congratulations on your engagement!  We are pleased that you are considering St. Paul’s for your service of Holy Matrimony.  The policies outlined in this booklet are intended to help you be aware of the customs and traditions of this parish and the Church. Your wedding is a milestone in your life and we at St. Paul’s strive to ensure that it will be as lovely as you hope.  All weddings at St. Paul’s will comply with the laws of the state of Indiana and the canons of the Episcopal Church.

The service of Holy Matrimony in the Church is primarily a service of worship in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of husband and wife.  The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind, is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.  Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.



First Things

At least thirty days notice must be given before clergy may officiate at any wedding, but we suggest making arrangements as far in advance as possible.  The initial appointment with the clergy will entail general discussions, allowing everyone to get to know each other, exploring the nature of the couple’s relationship and desire for marriage, and attaining the application and church policies.

Eligibility for Marriage

At least one of the parties must be a baptized Christian. You do not have to be members of St. Paul’s or an Episcopal Church, however St. Paul’s does not rent space for couples who have no connection to the church or any intention of becoming involved in the parish family.  It may be permissible for couples who have family members active at St. Paul’s or who belong to another Episcopal church but have connections to Columbus for the service to be held here.

Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling is required for all couples.  This counseling usually takes two or three meetings, scheduled at mutual convenience between the couple and the clergy.  It will cover what the Church teaches about marriage, family dynamics, and more practical matters that affect the newly married (for example, finances, communication, conflict resolution, and intimacy needs).  It is suggested that premarital counseling be completed as far in advance of the wedding as possible.

For couples who reside outside of Columbus, but wish to have the ceremony at St. Paul’s, premarital counseling may be done with clergy in closer proximity to their homes, with approval of St. Paul’s clergy.

In the Event of Prior Divorce(s)

The Episcopal Church accepts the civil process for dissolution of marriage, but the decision to solemnize a subsequent marriage is based on clergy assessment of appropriate resolution of the prior marital relationship(s).  It is essential that persons who have been divorced provide a copy of their final divorce decree at the first meeting with the clergy.

Marriage License

Indiana law requires that you obtain a marriage license before you can be married, usually at least thirty days prior to the wedding.  The service cannot be held if the license is not properly executed.  The license must be issued from a county in Indiana, but is acceptable in any county in the state.  Information about the marriage license may be obtained by contacting the county clerk.


Officiants of the Service

Normally, St. Paul’s clergy officiate at all weddings held here.  Other clergy, either of the Episcopal Church or of other denominations who have a special relationship with either the bride or groom, may be invited by the clergy to assist in or officiate at the service.

Service Preparation

A wedding is primarily a worship service.  The “Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” as contained in The Book of Common Prayer is used as the liturgical form for the service.  This form contains a great deal of flexibility and gives ample opportunity for the couple to make their ceremony unique, although it is not permissible for the couple to write their own vows.  The couple is asked to choose lessons from scripture, the readers of the lessons, the music (in consultation with the Music Director), and to decide whether they would like Holy Communion, as well as other particulars relating to the service.  The Episcopal Church welcomes all baptized Christians to the altar during any service of Communion.  Depending on the music selected, the number of scripture readings, and the number of people who may receive Communion, the service typically lasts from twenty to forty-five minutes.

Concerns for safety and maintenance necessitate that aisle runners not be used. Likewise, if a flower girl is part of the wedding party, she may walk with a bouquet of flowers, but pedals should not be dropped on the floor. 

While traditional, due to safety, maintenance, and environmental concerns, attendees are asked not to throw rice or birdseed or blow bubbles as the couple leaves the church.

Couples often employ wedding planners to help with preparations, but final decisions for all aspects of the service and activities at the church remain with the clergy.

The Wedding Party

The canons of the Church and the laws of Indiana require that there be at least two witnesses to any marriage.  These are usually the Best Man and the Maid/Matron of Honor.  The remainder of the wedding party is made up of those special friends or relatives whom you wish to be involved in your wedding.  Space and logistical considerations make it difficult to accommodate more than four groomsmen and four bridesmaids in addition to your Best man and Maid/Matron of Honor.  You may also wish to have a ring bearer and flower girl.  Groomsmen may also serve as ushers, but you should select one person to be an usher only (two persons if you expect attendance to be more than 150) to seat latecomers and to be available in case of any emergency.

Seating Capacity

There are twenty-four pews, twelve on each side, which can hold six to eight people.  The sanctuary will seat 180 comfortably, not including the balcony that can hold about twelve.

Flowers Arrangements and Candles

Before making a commitment with a florist or planning for flower arrangements, please contact the Director of the Altar Guild.  She will be helpful to you with suggestions for ways of tastefully decorating the church.  She will also recommend florists who are known to be reasonably priced and cooperative.  You may use our vases and vase inserts.  If you wish, you may leave your altar flowers for the worship service on the following Sunday.  Flowers may only be placed on the high altar or on the floor surrounding the high altar, but may not be placed elsewhere in the chancel.  Bows and/or flower arrangements may be placed on the ends of the pews using a method that will not damage the wood.  Please remember that the flowers and decorations should not obscure the altar, the cross, or any other symbol of the Christian faith.  The usual altar candles are normally lit during a wedding.  A unity candle is typically is not part of Episcopal wedding services.


All music choices must be made in consultation with the Music Director, who should be contacted as far in advance as possible.  Selections should be made with regard to the appropriateness of the setting and occasion, some suitable for the wedding and others to the reception.

The Music Director has first right of refusal, meaning that the Music Director will be employed for all services at St. Paul’s, assuming availability (see fee schedule).  Additional musicians may be employed, with approval of the Music Director.  If the Music Director is available, but the couple desires other musicians to play rather than the Music Director, the Music Director is still compensated at the stated rate.  If the Music Director is unavailable, other arrangements for musicians may be made with no financial obligation to St. Paul’s Music Director.  St. Paul’s has no capacity to play recorded music and set-up of equipment necessary for this is awkward and disruptive to the setting and occasion.

Photographs and Video

Photographs may be taken by a professional photographer during the service, provided that they are taken unobtrusively and use only available light (no flash).  The exception to this is during the processions in and out, when flash may be used.  The service may be video taped, respecting the same guidelines as for photography.  It is strongly suggested that as many standard wedding photographs as possible be taken prior to the service.

Service Bulletin

A basic order of service bulletin will be made available, if you wish (see fee schedule).  Information for the bulletin must be in the church office at least two weeks before the wedding.  Commercial printers will be able to produce more ornate bulletins.  If a commercial printer is used, please have the clergy proof the material at least a month in advance.

The Rehearsal

The rehearsal typically takes place the day before the wedding, usually lasting no more than an hour.  All persons directly involved in the service must be present.  Any other people you wish may also attend.  We will sign the Parish Register and the marriage license before the rehearsal begins.  It is strongly suggested that the couple bring the marriage license to the church at least a week before the service.  Please be punctual for the rehearsal.

The Wedding Day

The church may be opened at your convenience.  Rooms are available for pre-service preparations and dressing.  Only designated rooms may be used.  It may be helpful to select a person to receive gifts that are brought to the church and to gather the gifts and any other mementos from the church after the service.  The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the day!

Other Information


St. Paul’s is not staffed to provide childcare during wedding ceremonies.  However, if this is deemed necessary, the couple may secure appropriate persons for childcare and may use the church’s nursery.


Receptions are possible at St. Paul’s, but we are not well-equipped, as a parish, to handle them.  Additional fees will be required for use of the parish hall for a reception (see fee schedule).  If the reception is desired to be held at St. Paul’s, the couple is responsible for all aspects: caterer or others, set-up and clean-up, ensuring that the parish hall and kitchen are ready for parish activities the following morning.  The deposit will be forfeited if clean-up is inadequate.

Deposits and Fees

A reservation deposit of $150 is required at least one month prior to the service.  The non-refundable fee for use of the church is $150 (waived for active contributing members of St. Paul’s).  The Music Director’s fee is $150.00, paid directly to the Music Director.  Use of the parish hall/kitchen for receptions is $150.  Service bulletins, if used, are $10.00 per 100.

All fees must be paid at least one week prior to the service.  The deposit will be returned in full upon the satisfactory restoration of the church’s facilities, defined as readiness for the next day’s service and activities (church, dressing rooms, general areas, and parish hall/kitchen, if used).  The deposit will be forfeited if this condition is not met.

Marriage, as a sacrament of the Church, is provided as a service to people for which clergy are already salaried, so no additional fees are charged for clergy services.  Many people wish to provide an honorarium, however, as a gift of thanksgiving.  This may be given directly to the clergy or to the church (typically the discretionary account, which is used for charitable purposes), whichever you prefer, but is neither required nor expected.


Contact Information

Rector: The Rev. Marc Vance

Church Office: Cathy Tackett, 812-372-7869,

Music Director: Elizabeth Clark, 919-618-2589,

Director of Altar Guild: Marilyn Wools, 812-342-4153