Congratulations on your engagement! We are delighted that you have chosen to celebrate your marriage at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. We support your decision to exchange vows and acknowledge God’s gift of love within the context of Christian worship. It is our hope that everyone who is married at our church will find it to be a joyful experience, yet also dignified and spiritually meaningful.
-The Worship Commission of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield
Scheduling Your Wedding
- The bride or groom or one of the parents of the bride or groom must be a member of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, to be married here.
- If you would like to be married here, please call the church office 908-233-0301 as soon as possible to see what dates are available for the ceremony and rehearsal.
- A refundable deposit of $100.00 (refundable up to two months before the wedding) is expected when the date is set. One of the ministers on our staff will officiate at your wedding.
- You may request a specific pastor for your ceremony. We will make every effort to honor your request if the pastor’s schedule permits.
- Ministers from other Presbyterian churches of other denominations may be involved in service at the invitation of the presiding minister, but one of the pastors is required to participate or officiate at all weddings held in our church, for both members and non-members.
- The wedding may be conducted in the Sanctuary, which seats approximately 1,000 persons or in the Chapel, which seats 125 persons.
Wedding Fee Schedule
ALL Wedding Fees must be paid in advance, two weeks prior to the wedding. Checks for the Pastor, Organist and Soloist should be made payable directly to each individual—all remaining fees should be made payable to The Presbyterian Church in Westfield.
NOTE: The rehearsal will not be conducted if the wedding fees have not been paid.
In preparation for the marriage, the Pastor asked to officiate will meet with the couple to discuss many aspects related to the basic concepts of the covenant of marriage and the specifics of the marriage ceremony. This counseling should be arranged directly with the pastor, who can be reached through the church office at 908-233-0301 and will be arranged approximately two to three months prior to the wedding.
- The Wedding Hostess of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield will play an important role in helping you plan your wedding.
- The Wedding Hostess is the official representative of the church and is in charge of arrangements for your wedding.
- She will explain our policies and coordinate the details having to do with use of the Church.
- Your Wedding Hostess will contact you to set up an appointment. Please note: If you hire a personal Wedding Planner, our Wedding Hostess will work with them, but our Wedding Hostess takes precedence for all matters related to the rehearsal, ceremony and use of the Church facilities.
The wedding ceremony is a Christian worship service of the Church. The music, which accompanies it, should be carefully chosen so that it will be appropriate to the place and occasion, contributing to the beauty and sanctity of this significant moment in your lives. If desired, the congregation may be invited to join the singing of hymns during the service.
- Arrangements for music should be made at least two months before your wedding by calling the Music Director directly to schedule an appointment, 908-233-0301.
- The Music Director will help you to select appropriate music and can suggest a soloist if one is desired.
- Our Music Director/Organist plays for all weddings, as available.
- If you wish to have an outside organist play for your wedding, there is a bench fee of $250.00 and arrangements for the outside organist must be made with our Music Director.
Flowers & Decorations
- We suggest matching floral arrangements on either side of the chancel steps as they most appropriately enhance our colonial style Sanctuary.
- The couple selects the florist and arranges for delivery of flowers to the church. Please contact the business administrator (908-233-0301 ext. 26) to schedule flower delivery on weekends.
- Please notify the church office if the flowers will be left at the church after the wedding.
- You may take the flowers with you, however if you wish to leave wedding flowers for use in Sunday worship to honor the bride and groom, notify the church office of your intentions at least two months before your wedding date. An acknowledgement will appear in the Sunday bulletin.
- Some couples choose to have a unity candle, which is provided by the couple and placed on the communion table. Please advise the Wedding Hostess, prior to the rehearsal, if you wish to use a unity candle.
- An aisle runner is discouraged as our aisles are carpeted, and the runner may become a tripping hazard.
- You are responsible for removing all decorations after the ceremony.
Photography & Video Recording
THE PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER MUST MEET WITH THE MINISTER WELL BEFORE THE WEDDING BEGINS TO DISCUSS SPECIFIC ACCEPTABLE LOCATIONS. Photographers and Videographers attend the service at the invitation of the family and are to be instructed in advance as to the church’s guidelines for photography.
- Photographer and video person must speak to Wedding Hostess on arrival.
- No flash or video taping with lights is permitted during the worship service.
- Photographers and videographers may not move down the aisles and must remain in the balcony or narthex until the end of the service. No exceptions.
- No flash pictures are to be taken within the Sanctuary during the ceremony.
- A photographer or videographer should go into the balcony during the ceremony to take an exposure (no flash) or video (no light). They may not hang over the balcony or go closer to the chancel end than the second window.
- Flash photographs may be taken during the processional and recessional from the back of the Sanctuary.
- Most often, the wedding party will reassemble in the Chancel area for a reasonable number of pictures after the guests have left the pews. If this is planned, it will be appreciated if the minister, custodian and wedding hostess are informed before the wedding.
- Use of the Sanctuary is limited to two hours from the scheduled start time for your wedding. Please plan your photography session accordingly.
- A copy of these guidelines should be given to your photographer and videographer.
Because the act of marriage is a civil matter in New Jersey, a license must be obtained in advance of the ceremony. It is illegal for a pastor to perform your wedding without your license. Be sure to bring your license to the rehearsal and give it to the Wedding Hostess. The Minister and witnesses will sign the license immediately following the wedding ceremony.
Your marriage license may be obtained from your local Registrar/Health Department up to 30 days prior to your wedding. If the bride is a New Jersey resident, the license is obtained from her town. If the bride is from out of state and the groom is a New Jersey resident, it is obtained from his hometown. If both the bride and the groom are from out of state, it must be obtained from the town where the marriage takes place.
- The following documents must be brought with you to the Registrar:
- Social Security documentation, Driver’s License, Birth Certificate and divorce papers, if applicable.
- There is a three-day waiting period between your filing and being granted a license.
- The license is valid for 30 days.
- Licenses are filed in the community where the wedding was performed.
- For weddings at this church, the town would be Westfield, New Jersey.
- The church office will file the license following the ceremony.
Once the ceremony is finalized with the Minister and Music Director, the church can prepare a program (additional fee and two weeks notice required). You may prepare your own program, if you wish, however all programs must be approved by the Music Director and presiding pastor, and must be brought to the rehearsal.
The rehearsal serves to acquaint each participant with the proceedings so that each will feel comfortable about his or her part in the service. The date and time for the wedding rehearsal will be set with the church secretary. If you need to change it, please call the secretary and also inform your Wedding Hostess. It is extremely important that the wedding rehearsal begins on time and that the entire wedding party be present including readers and parents. Bring your marriage license, unity candle, and programs to the rehearsal. The rehearsal usually takes about 45 minutes. Please plan your rehearsal dinner accordingly.
Ushers should plan to arrive 45 minutes before the ceremony. They will receive instructions from the Wedding Hostess.
It is neither tradition nor proper etiquette to arrive late for your wedding. Please be considerate of your guests, the Minister, and Organist and arrive on time. Weddings that begin more than 15 minutes after their scheduled time will be assessed a late fee of $100.00 each to the minister and organist for their time.
- Use of alcohol and/or smoking is not permitted on church property. Please inform your limo driver of this restriction.
- Releasing balloons and/or throwing of anything (i.e. rice, flower petals, bird seed, confetti, etc) is not permitted.
- Use of bubbles is permitted.
The church parking lot, located on Mountain Avenue is available and usually adequate for wedding guest parking. Limousines used for transporting the wedding party should plan to park on the church side of Mountain Avenue. Limousines may not park on the front terrace of the church. The Sanctuary is handicapped accessible via a ramp on Mountain Avenue. The Chapel is handicapped accessible by using the parking lot entrance to the Parish House and the elevator.