The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is one of the sacramental rites of the Church which joins a man and woman into a life long covenant relationship. Marriage is done in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer and the Canons of the Episcopal Church (Title I, Canon 18). As a couple, you have decided that you wish to have the Celebration and Blessing of your Christian marriage in Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Given that fact, here are some important things for you to know.
- One of the two persons requesting the sacrament of Holy Matrimony must have been a communicant in good standing of the Episcopal Church and a member of Saint Stephen’s for at least six months prior to meeting with the Rector. “Good standing,” means actively and regularly worshipping as a member of the church.
- A member of an Episcopal church other than Saint Stephen’s may be married at Saint Stephen’s, at the Rector’s discretion. The member must provide a letter of reference as to his/her standing from the office of the Rector of his/her other congregation before permission to marry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church may be granted. We are not able to accept requests for weddings of persons who are not active members of some Christian community and who cannot provide the above letter of reference.
- Canon law requires that all persons who desire to be married in the Episcopal Church be instructed in the Episcopal Church’s teaching on Marriage, and sign the Declaration of Intention indicating their intention to make the marriage life-long, holy and life affirming.
- If this is a second marriage for either or both of you, the Bishop of the diocese of Dallas must give his consent. This process usually requires a minimum of 90 days after the initial meeting with the Rector.
- The Bishop does not usually give his consent for a third marriage of either party. Only under the most extraordinary of circumstances (i.e., the death of the spouse of a second marriage) will the Rector authorize application to the Bishop after a second marriage. If it is not granted by the Bishop, the marriage may not take place at Saint Stephen’s nor can a member of the parish clergy officiate it in any other place.
- No commitments of any sort should be made until you have met with the Parish Clergy. Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church will not be held responsible for financial commitments made by the wedding party (i.e., wedding stationery).
- To affirm your commitment to the life necessary for Christian marriage, it is expected you participate in the life of the parish during your wedding preparation by weekly attendance at services and supporting the church with your time, talent and treasure.
- Optional, following the wedding, you are requested to forward a 3” x 5” photograph of the bridal couple with the clergy to the Wedding Director. A special page will be prepared for the Saint Stephen’s Wedding Album to commemorate your marriage in the history of the church. (This Wedding Album has not been prepared at this time.)
Our parish will support you during the pre-marital counseling, wedding planning stage, your wedding day and beyond. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns about any aspect of your plans. God bless you as you continue with your marriage preparations.
Please contact the office for more information.