Weddings at St. Gabriel’s
Because we take marriage very seriously, we have expectations of those who choose to celebrate this sacrament at St. Gabriel’s. Please take a look through this document to understand these expectations, and then reach out to the Parish Administrator to discuss celebrating your wedding at St. Gabriel’s.
Conditions for Marriage
- Both parties have the legal right to marry, according to state law
- At least one party has received Holy Baptism
- Two witnesses can be present to sign the parish register
- Both parties sign a Declaration of Intention, stating that they understand that marriage is a physical and spiritual union that is entered into by mutual consent, with the intention that it be lifelong
- The couple completes appropriate premarital conversations regarding the nature, meaning, and purposes of marriage from the clergyperson performing the ceremony (or another approved person)
- Any previous marriages or domestic partnerships have been legally dissolved
- In the case of remarriage, any former spouses and children are treated justly
- Thirty days’ advance notice has been provided to St. Gabriel’s
- The couple intends to worship regularly at St. Gabriel’s or at another faith community
Call the church – To be certain that the space is available and that that our priest, Rev. Andrew VanBuren, is available to guide you and officiate at your ceremony, please talk to us first to schedule your wedding and rehearsal. There are two options for venues: the 1801 Chapel is a smaller, more intimate space that seats up to 100 people, while the main sanctuary is a larger space that can seat close to 200 guests. We do require couples to visit St. Gabriel’s to see the space and talk with Rev. Andrew before a date in set in the church calendar.
Plan to attend church – All couples who wish to be married at St. Gabriel’s should plan to make a commitment to participate in the worship of our community (or at a congregation closer to where they live) as part of their preparation. Marriages grow best when nourished in a spiritual environment.
Plan to meet with Rev. Andrew for pre-marital conversations – This is usually a series of 3 meetings. These discussions will include conversation around your relationship, your families, future plans, conflict, and hopes, as well as plans for the wedding ceremony itself.
Normally, one of the musicians associated with St. Gabriel’s will provide the music. Special music, other musicians, or soloists are certainly permitted, though plans should be discussed with the priest before arrangements are made.
The fee for a wedding is $750 total. Included in this fee is the use of space, the priest’s time for premarital sessions, rehearsal, ceremony; the organist’s time for practice and the ceremony; sexton’s fee for cleaning; and administrator’s time for organizing the ceremony. Use of the church’s pew candles (available in the main sanctuary) is an additional $75 and should be arranged for in advance.
If the cost is a hardship, please speak to the Parish Administrator about financial aid, which is readily available. All fees are due no later than the wedding rehearsal.
A marriage license must be obtained and given to the priest at the rehearsal. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a regular license can be obtained starting 60 days before the wedding date. Please note that there is a 72-hour waiting period in most counties after applying before you receive the license, so it is recommended that couples apply for a license no later than 4 days before the ceremony.
For those who are divorced, St. Gabriel’s is required to ensure that previous marriages have legally ended. Each divorced party must present their final divorce notice to Rev. Andrew at their 1st or 2nd meeting. The divorce must be final for at least a year prior to any planned wedding date.
Additionally, Rev. Andrew must obtain the consent of the Bishop of Bethlehem at least 30 days prior to the wedding. This is not an annulment. It is an affirmation that the concerns of the church have been properly addressed by the clergy and couple before they begin their new life together.
Couples are permitted to use an outside officiant if they choose, though the officiant must speak with Rev. Andrew when arrangements are made. The fee for the use of the main church or 1801 Chapel is $500.
A non-refundable deposit of $200 is to be paid upon signing the rental contract, with the balance due no later than two weeks prior to the ceremony.
A “Certificate of Insurance” showing liability coverage and naming St. Gabriel’s as Certificate Holder for the event is required and must be submitted to the administrator along with the final balance of the rental fee. This may be available through personal homeowner’s umbrella liability insurance or may be purchased as a separate policy specifically for the event. We recommend using www.theeventhelper.com for an affordable policy.