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Wedding Guidelines

"What God has joined together"

St. John Lutheran Church
207 Adams St.
Port Clinton, Ohio 43452




 It is always a delight for the church to share in the marriage of couples who are seeking to make a lifelong commitment to each other in the Name of Christ and in the Presence of God and God’s People.

Throughout the planning process and the wedding, it is good to remember that the Marriage Service belongs to the Church, and is a liturgy in praise of God, seeking God’s blessing upon the bridal couple and the assembled congregation.

A church wedding is, first of all, a worship service. In this worship, we praise God and we celebrate the gracious gifts which God grants to those who enter into marriage. The entire service is to give glory to God. This sense of praise to our Lord is the theme that is the foundation for all our wedding guidelines and practices here at St. John.

The Church Council of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church has adopted the following as a foundational statement for all weddings that will take place in this congregation or by its pastors in other locations:

“Resolved, that all marriage services should reflect our Lutheran Christian understanding that they are services of worship. Thus, all texts, music and decorations will reflect our concern that the primary purpose of such a service is to give clear witness to what God has done, is doing now, and will continue to do for those who live in marriage. The marriage service will focus on our praise to God, our thanksgiving offered to God, and our receiving of God’s gifts of grace and blessing.”

All couples who choose to schedule their marriage worship service here at St. John Lutheran Church should do so with a willingness to abide by the above foundational statement.



  • Those who plan to marry shall contact the church office to confirm and reserve the date and time of the wedding. A reservation for non-members must be accompanied by a non-refundable $100 deposit.\

  • Pre-marriage counseling is required for all who are married at St. John. This may be carried out in two or three sessions with the pastor and will be expected of all couples. These sessions will include: a Biblical overview of marriage, the completion of the Aligning Expectations for Marriage worksheet, a review of basic communication skills, as well as planning for the marriage worship service.

  • All weddings scheduled for a Saturday must begin NO LATER THAN 2:30 PM and NO EARLIER THAN 7:00 PM to avoid conflict with St. John’s Saturday evening worship service which begins at 5:00 PM.

  • At no time will the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages be permitted in the building or on church property. Failure to observe this rule will result in the immediate cancellation of the wedding service.

  • For those who will be married here, and are not members of our congregation, we strongly encourage you to attend a Sunday worship service before you schedule your wedding.

  •  All participants in the wedding service are expected to be present, and on time, for the rehearsal. The Pastor of St. John will conduct the rehearsal, along with the assigned Wedding Coordinator.

  • Following state regulations, smoking is NOT allowed inside the building.

  •  The throwing of rice, bird seed or any form of confetti (basically anything that goes up and then comes down) will not be permitted.  Confetti may not be used inside the worship area.  For your information, the throwing of rice is an ancient pagan symbol of fertility.  It has no place within the Christian community.

  • No chancel furnishing or vestments will be removed or covered in any way. Any decorating of the church is to be accomplished at least one hour prior to the service. Decorations are to be removed immediately after the photographs have been taken. The Wedding Coordinator will be able to answer your questions about what is allowed and will advise and assist you in the placement and removal of all decorations and flowers. Decorations must be placed so as not to damage walls or chancel furnishings.

  • To preserve the atmosphere of worship, no flash pictures will be permitted during the service by professional photographers, guests or members of the wedding party. The following line will be printed in the wedding bulletin: “In the spirit of worship, guests are asked to refrain from taking pictures during the service. All photographers and videographers should be in communication with the Pastor and/or the Wedding Coordinator prior to the wedding to be clear about what is permitted. One suggestion to save time and inconvenience to your guests, is to schedule all or most of your photo session before the wedding to avoid long delays between the service and the reception.

  • All those who schedule afternoon weddings must vacate the worship space no later than 4:00 pm, so that preparations can be made for our 5:00 worship service.

  • You will need to obtain a marriage license either in the county in which you reside, or the county in which you will be married.  There may be a waiting period between the time that you apply for the license and the day you pick it up.

  •  The marriage license and all fees and honorariums are to be brought to the church the week before the wedding or no later than the day of the rehearsal.

  • The altar candles and candelabras will be used for all weddings.  A Unity Candle may also be used, but it will be the responsibility of the bridal couple to provide both the Unity Candle and the individual candles.  We do have a stand for the Unity Candle that you will be able to use.  Aisle candles on stands with globe covers are available for your use.  

  • Only guide (or service) dogs are permitted in our worship space.


Worship Guidelines

All marriage worship services will follow the pattern for the Service of Marriage in the EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN WORSHIP, (ELW).  There is a great deal of flexibility which will allow couples to include various options in the service.  Options might include: Lighting of the Unity Candle, Holy Communion, The Apostle’s Creed, and other options with the approval of the Pastor. 

Marriage vows will be selected by the bridal couple from a number of options from the Resource part of this document. 

There shall be lessons from the Scriptures read, and a homily proclaimed, celebrating God’s blessing and empowering of marriage.  Appropriate passages are available in the Marriage Resources Section. 

Music that will be included in the service must reflect the praise of God, witness to God’s steadfast love in Christ, and seek God’s blessing upon those who enter into marriage.  All music must be approved by either the Pastor or Organist.  The Organist and Pastor have many resources to assist you in the selection of music that is appropriate for worship, and will work with you in this process. 

The inclusion of at least one congregational hymn is encouraged.  A list of appropriate hymns can be found in the Marriage Resources Section. 

St. John’s Organist shall normally be the organist for all weddings.  If St. John’s Organist is unable to play, another may be invited to play, with the approval of St. John’s Organist and Pastor.  If the bridal couple desires to have another organist play for their wedding, permission must be secured from St. John’s Organist, Pastor, and the Worship Committee. 

The bridal couple may invite a soloist to participate in the worship service.  As previously stated, all music must be approved by the Pastor and the Organist.  Also, other instrumentalists may be included in the service. 

All weddings at St. John’s shall include the Pastor of St. John as the Presiding Pastor. Another ordained Pastor may be invited to participate in the service at the request of the couple, and with the consent of St. John’s Pastor and the Church Council. 

A wedding worship service may not be scheduled during Holy Week (from 6pm on the eve of the Sunday of the Passion, through 6pm on Holy Saturday) because of the solemn character of that time. 

If Holy Communion is celebrated within the marriage service, it must be open to the assembled congregation, and not limited to just the bride and groom, or the wedding party. 

Wedding bulletins, listing the order of the worship service, music and wedding party, etc., can be provided, if you so desire. The bridal couple will purchase the bulletins, normally at a Christian book store. Printing may take place through the Church Office at no charge.

All weddings, unless the Pastor provides a variance, will have a Wedding Coordinator who will be present to serve as a hospitality coordinator and resource for wedding parties. 


  1. Arrive 20 minutes before scheduled rehearsal; unlocking doors, turning on lights, making sure the space is ready and hospitable.

  2. On the day of the wedding, be available to assist the wedding party with the placement of decorations and flowers.

  3. Arrive 30 minutes prior to the arrival of the wedding party; performing tasks described in 1.

  4. Be available to assist bride, groom and wedding party in any way they deem helpful.

  5. Help with flowers, corsages and placement of Unity Candle.

  6. Light candles if no one has been selected by the wedding couple.

  7. Provide leadership for the procession of the wedding party.

  8. Be available in the Narthex during the wedding to respond to any needs or emergencies.

  9. Be present until all photographs have been taken.

  10. See that all decorations have been removed upon completion of photographs.

  11. Check Lounge and basement to see if items have been left behind and pick up the areas.


  1. Clean and vacuum in advance of the rehearsal.

  2. See that the heat/air conditioning is at the proper levels in advance of rehearsal and wedding.

  3. Clean and vacuum worship space after photographs have been taken; and prepare space for Saturday worship.

  4. Clean Lounge and basement before Sunday morning.

Wedding Fees & Honorariums

Hymns for Congregational Singing

Hear Us Now Our God and Father (585)

The King of Love (502)

This Is a Day, Lord, Gladly Awaited (586)

Bind Us Together

Beloved God’s Chosen (648)

When Love Is Found

Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life (816)

Borning Cry (732)

Jesus, come! For We Invite You (312)

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (836)

Praise to the Lord (858)

Now Thank We All Our God (839,840)

Blest be the Tie (656)

Love Divine (631)

O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright (308) You Are Mine (581)

Soul, Adorn yourself with Gladness (488,489)



The Ministers and the wedding group enter. Music—hymn, song, psalm, instrumental music—may accompany the entrance.



The presiding minister and the assembly greet each other.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.



Option A: Dear friends: We have come together in the presence of God to witness the marriage of ________ and _________, to surround them with our prayers and to share in their hope. The scriptures teach us that the bond and covenant of marriage is a gift of God in which a man and a woman are joined as one, an image of the union of Christ and the church. As ________ and ________ make their promises to each other today, we remember that at Cana in Galilee our Lord Jesus Christ made the wedding feast a sign of God’s reign of love.  Let us enter into this celebration confident that, through the Holy Spirit, Christ is present with us now also. We pray that this couple may fulfill God’s purpose for the whole of their lives.

Option B: The Lord God in his goodness created us male and female, and by the gift of marriage founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come. Because of sin, our age-old rebellion, the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of the family can become a burden. But because God, who established marriage, continues still to bless it with abundant and ever-present support, we can be sustained in our weariness and have our joy restored.

Option C: ________ and ________ have come to make their marriage vows in the presence of God and of this assembly. The uniting of this man and this woman in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort they give to one another in prosperity and adversity, and that their love may be a blessing to all whom they encounter. Let us now witness their promises to each other and surround them with our prayers, giving thanks to God for the gift of marriage and asking God’s blessing upon them, that they may be strengthened for their life together and nurtured in the love of God.



The minister addresses the couple in these or similar words, asking each person in turn:

Option A: _______, will you have _______ to be your wife/husband, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live? Response: I will.

Option B: _________, will you receive ______ as your wife/husband and bind yourself to her/him in the covenant of marriage? Will you promise to love and honor her/him in true devotion, to rejoice with her/him in times of gladness, to grieve with her/him in times of sorrow, and to be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live? Response: I will.

Option C: ______, living in the promise of God, joined to Christ in Baptism, will you give yourself to ______ in love and faithfulness? Will you share your life with her/him, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and will you be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live? Response: I will.

The minister may address the assembly.

Option A: Will all of you, by God's grace, uphold and care for _____ and ______ in their life together? We will.

Option B: Will you, the families of ______ and ______ give your love and blessing to this new family? We will.



The presiding minister leads the following or another prayer of the day.

Option A: Let us pray. Gracious God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ into the world to reveal your love to all people. Enrich ____ and ____ with every good gift, that their life together may show forth your love; and grant that at the last we may all celebrate with Christ the marriage feast that has no end; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Option B: Let us pray. Eternal God, our creator and redeemer, as you gladdened the wedding at Cana in Galilee by the presence of your Son, so bring your joy to this wedding by his presence now. Look in favor upon ____ and _____ and grant that they, rejoicing in all your gifts, may at length celebrate the unending marriage feast with Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Two or three scripture readings are proclaimed.



HYMN OF THE DAY A hymn of the day may be sung or special music.



The couple may join hands. Each promises faithfulness to the other in these or similar words.

_______ and ______, I invite you to declare your vows to one another.

OPTION A:  I take you, _____, to be my wife/husband from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come, and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.

OPTION B: In the presence of God and this community, I, ____, take you, name, to be my wife/husband; to have and to hold from this day forward, in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow.

OPTION C:  I take you ______ to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you. I will be faithful to you and honest with you. I will respect and trust, help and care for you. I will share my life with you. I will forgive you, as we have been forgiven. And I will try with you to better understand ourselves, the world and God, through the best and worst of what is to come until death parts us.

OPTION D: I take you ______, to be my wife/husband. I promise before God and these witnesses to be your faithful wife/husband, to share with you in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; to forgive and strengthen you, and to join with you, so that together, we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live.

OPTION E: _______, I take you to be my wife/husband from this time onward. To join with you and to share all that is to come. To give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond. And in all circumstances of our life together to be loyal to you with all my life and with all my being until death parts us.

OPTION F:  I take you, ________ to be my wife/husband. I promise before God and these witnesses to be your faithful wife/husband, to join with you and to share all that is to come. To give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, to forgive and strengthen you. And to join with you, so that together we may both serve God and others as long as we both shall live.



Option A. Let us pray. We give you thanks, O God of grace, for your love and faithfulness to your people. May these rings be symbols of the promise _______ and ______ have made with each other; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Option B: Bless O Lord, this ring, that he/she who gives it and she/he who wears it may abide forever in your peace, continue in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The couple may exchange rings with these or similar words.

OPTION A:  _______, I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

OPTION B: _______, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. With all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



The presiding minister addresses the assembly.

____ and ____ by their promises before God and in the presence of this assembly, have joined themselves to one another as husband and wife. Those whom God has joined together let no one separate. Amen.

The assembly may offer acclamation with applause. A sung acclamation, hymn, or other music may follow. Other symbols of marriage may be given or used at this time, such as Unity Candle.



The promise of faithfulness and commitment that ______ and _______ have made this day, reflect the depths of their love for each other. During the playing/singing of ________; ______ and ______ will be lighting together the Unity Candle.

Option with Children. As a sign of their commitment to each other, _______ and ______, and their children will be lighting the Unity Candle together as a new family is bound to one another in love.




The couple may kneel. The presiding minister may extend a hand over the couple while praying for God's blessing in the following or similar words.

Option A: Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to endure the cross for our sake, that we may have abundance of life.

By the power of your Holy Spirit pour out the abundance of your blessing on name and name. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let your love be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads.

Bless them so that their lives together may bear witness to your love. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death.

Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever in your heavenly home, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Option B: The Lord God who created our first parents and established them in marriage, establish and sustain you, that you may find delight in each other and grow in holy love until your life’s end. Amen.

Parents or others may speak additional words of blessing and encouragement at this time.



The devoted and loving support of parents can be a vital and wondrous blessing for those who enter into marriage. Will you the parents of ___ and ____ continue to lend your support and to give your love to them? Will you encourage them, help them, and pray for them in their new life together as husband and wife? If so answer, we will with God’s help.” We will with God’s help.



The devoted and loving support of family and friends can be a vital and wondrous blessing for those who enter into marriage. Will you the family and friends of ____ and ____ continue to lend your support and to give your love to them? Will you encourage them, help them, and pray for them in their new life together as husband and wife? If so answer, we will with God’s help.” We will with God’s help.



HOLY COMMUNION A service with communion may continue.

LORD'S PRAYER A service without communion continues as follows.

Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen


OPTION A: The blessed and holy Trinity, make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace, now and forever. Amen.
OPTION B: God Almighty send you light and truth to keep you all the days of your life. The hand of God protect you; the holy angels accompany you; and the blessing of almighty God, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you now and forever. Amen.
The couple may greet one another with a kiss. 
A hymn may be sung or instrumental music played as the wedding group and the ministers depart.
From Sundays and Copyright 2007 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #26173.
WEDDING INFORMATION _____________________________________________________
DATE OF WEDDING _______________________________ TIME ______________________
DATE OF REHEARSAL _____________________________  TIME ______________________
PASTOR(S) OFFICIATING _______________________________________________
   SESSION ONE:    ________________________________
   SESSION TWO:    ________________________________
   SESSION THREE:    ________________________________
   NAME: _________________________________    NAME ________________________________
   ADDRESS: ______________________________    ADDRESS _____________________________
   CITY/STATE ____________________________    CITY/STATE ___________________________
   PHONE _________________________________    PHONE ________________________________
   E-MAIL _________________________________    E-MAIL ________________________________
   BIRTHDATE ____________________________    BIRTHDATE ___________________________
   CHURCH MEMBERSHIP __________________    CHURCH MEMBERSHIP _________________
   LOCATION _____________________________    LOCATION ____________________________
   DATE OF DIVORCE ______________________    DATE OF DIVORCE _____________________
SPOUSE DECEASED _____________________    SPOUSE DECEASED ____________________ CHILDREN ____________________________    CHILDREN ___________________________
   ____________________________    ___________________________
   PARENTS     ____________________________    PARENTS ___________________________
   ____________________________    ___________________________
WEDDING RECEPTION (Invited) ___YES ____ NO LOCATION ___________________________
REHEARSAL DINNER (Invited) ____ YES ____ NO LOCATION _________________________
MARRIED ADDRESS ________________________________________________
   CITY/STATE     _________________________________________________
   PHONE     _________________________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
_____________________________________    ______________________________________
FLOWER GIRL _______________________    RING BEARER ________________________
USHERS    _________________________    ACOLYTE ____________________________
GUEST BOOK ________________________    BULLETINS __________________________
LECTORS ______________________________________________________________________
SOLOIST    _________________________    ORGANIST ___________________________ PHOTOGRAHPER _____________________    VIDEO _______________________________
   FLORIST    _________________________
   _______ OPTION A    _________ OPTION B    _________ OPTION C
   _______ OPTION A     _________ OPTION B    _________ OPTION C
   ________ COMMUNITY    ________ PARENTS
   _______ OPTION A    _________ OPTION B
   ___________________________    ____________________________     ________________________
________ OPTION A    _________ OPTION B    __________ OPTION C
________ OPTION D
BLESSING OF RINGS    _________ OPTION E    __________ OPTION F
________ OPTION A
GIVING OF RINGS    _________ OPTION B    
________ OPTION A    _________ OPTION B    
   ________ YES    _________ NO    _________ MOTHERS LIGHTING
________ OPTION A    _________ OPTION B
_______ YES HOLY COMMUNION    _________ NO    ________ YES    _________ NO
_______ YES
BLESSING    _________ NO    
________ OPTION A    __________ OPTION B    
KNEELING BENCH    ________ YES    _________ NO    
AISLE CANDLES    ________ YES    _________ NO    
AISLE RUNNER    ________ YES    _________ NO    
RELEASE OF GUESTS ______________________________________________
   MUSIC DURING THE SERVICE    ______________________________________________________
   PARENTS    IN    ______________________________________
   OUT    ______________________________________
   GRANDPARENTS    ______________________________________
   _______ ST JOHN     __________ PRINTER    _________ COUPLE

Revised 2/2022

Click here to download St. John Wedding Guidelines and Resources including the Wedding Fees & Honorariums in Adobe™ PDF format.


Wedding Fee
Sanctuary (wedding)
Parish Hall for reception
Custodial (Parish Hall)
1. Organist
2. Wedding Coordinator
4. Pastor
Psalm 33
Genesis 1:26-31
Ephesians 5:21-33
Psalm 100
Genesis 2:18-24
Colossians 3:12-14
Psalm 117
Isaiah 63:7-9
Romans 12:1-2
Psalm 127
John 2:1-10
John 15:9-12
Psalm 128
I Corinthians 13:1-13
Matthew 19:4-6
Psalm 136
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
Psalm 130
Song of Solomon 8:7


Psalms and Scripture Passages for a Service of Marriage

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