Worship > Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, Funerals > WEDDINGs

Weddings at Christ Church

Who can be married at Christ Church Parish?

We are happy to celebrate the weddings of parishioners (those who attend worship regularly and support the church financially) as well as sons and daughters of current parishioners who have grown up in this church. These grown children should be members of other faith communities if they do not now live in Redding. If you are not now an active member of Christ Church but would like to become members, please speak with the rector. She will be happy to welcome you and orient you to the church.

What’s involved in preparing for a wedding in the Episcopal Church?

Canon Law specifies that there be several sessions between the rector and the couple in order to discuss issues that may arise before or during marriage. We will chat about your relationship with God, your love for each other, problems or obstacles that you have overcome in your relationship, your philosophies about money and sexuality, and any family issues that impact your relationship. We’ll also work together to plan your wedding.

How do I find the right readings for the service?

The rector will help you find the appropriate readings, following the suggestions in The Book of Common Prayer. 

What about music?

Our organist, Ms. Martha Meyer, will usually be the musician for weddings at Christ Church. If you wish to have other music, we can plan that together.

What about flowers and other decorations for the church?

These are the responsibility of the families. Generally the family orders two arrangements to go behind the altar. Other decorations are entirely optional and up to you.

Can we have a short service without the Eucharist?

Yes, this is always an option.  Please know, however, that the rector prefers the service to be within the Holy Eucharist. The grace of the Sacrament is a wonderful enhancement of the wedding and it sets the tone for the years to come. The Eucharist also gives the congregation a chance to receive the Sacrament together and all partake of this spiritual grace. It helps focus their prayer for you both. A service of Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony will be a little over an hour long, a quite small but potent investment in beginning your lives together well.  The service without the Eucharist is around 30 minutes long.

How many attendants should the bride have in the wedding party?

Because the church is rather small it would be best to have no more than 3 or 4 attendants (at most). 

How about a Unity Candle?

The lighting of a Unity Candle is not a part of the Episcopal liturgy. If the bride and groom would like to include a Unity Candle as a part of their special day, it is recommended that it be done at the reception.

May we pick special friends or relatives to be readers during the ceremony?

Absolutely! This is entirely appropriate. You may also want to designate family or friends to fulfill other small roles during the wedding. We can chat about what feels right to you as we plan the liturgy.

How does the Episcopal Church feel about blessing the marriage of people who are divorced?

The church realizes that as human beings, we all make decisions that we later regret, including decisions to marry when the match was not perhaps the best. Therefore we allow the remarriage of divorced persons. The church, however, specifies that if one or both partners have been divorced, there must be a special application process to the Bishop of the diocese in order to secure his/her permission to remarry. The Bishop is looking to see that issues that impacted the first marriage have been worked on and that the divorced person(s) have a good understanding of how to deal with issues in this new marriage. The rector will prepare this application after meeting with you for several sessions. The Bishop’s Office specifies that we must submit the application at least 60 days ahead of the wedding date, so that means we must begin our premarital sessions at least 3 months ahead.

This application to the Bishop is in no way an annulment of the first marriage. There is no fee for this process. It is merely a good-faith effort on the part of the priest and the Bishop to ascertain that the divorced person(s) understand the issues that were at play in the first marriage(s) that resulted in divorce, and that they are committed to resolving them. 

Canon Law also requires that if this is a third or fourth marriage for one or both partners, there must be a number of sessions with a certified marriage counselor during the period of engagement. The counselor must submit a letter saying that he or she is satisfied that those to be married have done the inner work that supports a new marriage. Then the rector submits the application to the Bishop. This, again, is a safeguard for the marrying parties and is intended to help them start their marriage from a position of strength.

Does the rector marry persons of the same gender?

By state law and by the Canon Law of the Episcopal Church we are open to celebrating marriage here for persons of the same gender.  However, we follow the same process to prepare the couple beforehand, including several premarital counseling sessions.  In the eyes of the Episcopal Church marriage is the sacred, lifelong, and life-giving covenant between two people, celebrated and lived out in mutual love and service.

Are there any special fees for celebrating a wedding at Christ Church Parish?

There is a small fee for the bulletin preparation and for janitorial services connected with the use of the church. There is a fee for the organist. The parish requests that a donation be made to the church as well. This is used exclusively to help people in need.