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St. Paul's Wedding Planning

(Please note that our basic policy is that weddings are part of our parish ministry.  We preside at weddings where either the bride or groom is a member of our congregation or there is some kind of family relationship with the parish.  All other cases are done by pastoral discretion.)


Congratulations! This information is to help you in the process of planning your wedding at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Newark, Ohio. It contains information regarding the many extra details of the wedding, such as flowers, candles, etc. In addition, you will also receive a booklet entitled The Wedding Ceremony, which will guide you in planning the ceremony itself.


Here at St. Paul's we view a wedding as an act of ministry, not as simply providing goods and services. Therefore, we require the pastor to provide pre-marital counseling for each couple. Our hope is that we may serve you not only at this time, but may also be available to you in the years to come. In addition we stress that the ceremony itself be an act of Christian worship towards God.


We look forward to working with you as you prepare for your wedding and for your married life together. May God's blessing be upon you all the days of your life!    ---The Rev. Martin Gehring


Location of Wedding

St. Paul's has two worship spaces in its church structures available for weddings, and both are air conditioned during the warmer months. There is also an outside space that can be used.

The Sanctuary will hold up to 300-350 guests and will be used for larger weddings.

The Chapel, located in our parish building, will hold 30-40 guests and may be used for smaller weddings.

The Virginia Weiss Worship Center, located at the Four Church Farm on Ballou Road in Franklin Township, seats about 100 people on its permanent seating. This professionally landscaped, outdoor setting is located in a beautiful wooded area and is ideal for a less formal wedding in warmer weather.

Due to scheduling conflicts with a Saturday 4:00 pm worship service in our chapel, Saturday weddings cannot be held in the church or chapel between 3:30 and 4:45 pm. Sunday weddings cannot begin before 2:00 pm. Weekday weddings need to be coordinated with the pastor and the church's schedule.



Both the church sanctuary and the chapel are air-conditioned. Likewise, there are air-conditioned dressing rooms available in the parish building for the bride’s party and the groom’s party.





The church parking lot is located on Locust Street west of the church and behind the school building. Blue directional signs along Locust Street indicate the location of the parking lot. No parking will be allowed at the rear of the church as these are loading zones and staff parking areas. The alley on the south side of the Parish Building is available for the bridal party or for the purpose of loading or unloading.


Presiding Minister

The official policy of the Congregation Council designates that the Pastor of the congregation (the Rev. Martin Gehring) be the presiding minister at weddings. The church from time to time also has a student intern, who has the title, "Vicar," and who is supposed to participate in all pastoral acts, including weddings, during his or her year of internship.


If you wish a clergy relative or the minister from your home church to also participate in the ceremony, he or she is welcome to do so. Please make these arrangements with Pastor Gehring. It is customary to give each minister a gratuity for their role in the service, but the amount is at the discretion of the bride and groom.


The pastor will want to meet with the bride and groom several times in the process of planning the wedding. Typically 3 meetings are held prior to the wedding.


An organist from St. Paul's usually is the organist for a wedding held in the church. If the couple wishes a relative or friend to be organist, the church asks that that person be familiar with a pipe organ. In addition to the church’s pipe organ, other instruments may be used to provide wedding music, such as piano, flute, strings, etc.

If using an organist from the parish, the couple should contact that organist soon after initial contact is made with the pastor. The church understands the couple as making a direct "contract" with the organist to provide music for the wedding.

Please contact one of the following people directly to arrange for your wedding music:

Wedding Organists:


Tim Utterback...........................(Phone number available from church office)


The current honorarium fees for the assistant organists are:

Wedding in Chapel $50.00

Wedding in Church $100.00

The couple pay this honorarium directly to the organist and it is best to make sure that this is done at the rehearsal, if there is one. The fee includes the organist’s initial meeting with you to select the music, practice time, playing at the rehearsal, as well as playing for the wedding itself.

If a couple wishes to engage the services of a guest organist, he or she is asked to observe the Lutheran tradition of playing Christian sacred music at wedding services.

According to Church policy: "The music should be selected for its suitability to a service of praise and thanksgiving. Music played on the organ before and during the wedding service should be conducive to creating a sense of reverence and joyfulness before God." If you have any questions please discuss them with the pastor.



If you wish to utilize a vocalist(s) or other special musicians, please coordinate arrangements with the organist and the pastor. You may use someone you already know or you may ask the pastor for possible soloists. Fees or gratuities should be negotiated directly with the person providing the special music.



In the marriage service there are three Scripture readings. The pastor reads the third one, but the other two can be read by friends or family of the bride and groom. This will be discussed in the planning sessions that the couple has with the pastor.


Marriage License

A valid marriage license must be presented to the pastor at the rehearsal!

This may be obtained at the courthouse in the county of which either the bride or the groom is a resident, and is usable in any county in Ohio. Application for the license must be made at least 5 days prior to the wedding and is valid for 60 days. The couple must go together to apply for the license and they should have proof of identity and legal age in the form of a driver's license or birth certificate. Persons whose previous marriage ended in a divorce or dissolution should bring legal proof of the termination of the previous marriage. In Licking County application for marriage licenses is made in the office of the Clerk of the Probate Court, which is located on the first floor of the Licking County Courthouse (this is the floor above the ground floor).



For a formal wedding involving a number of attendants and guests a rehearsal is advised. Usually the rehearsal is held on the evening preceding the wedding, starting sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. It lasts about an hour. During this time we will go through the processional, an abbreviated form of the wedding ceremony, and the recessional. Chapel weddings usually do not require a rehearsal though one may be held if requested.


The following people should attend the wedding rehearsal: bride, groom, all the bride's and groom's attendants, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer, parents, soloist, reader, and anyone else who has a role in the service. The minister(s) and organist will, of course, be present. The photographer and/or videographer is welcome to attend as well.


If you wish to hold your rehearsal dinner at the church, please call the church secretary (345-6115) to schedule Danford Hall for the date needed. There is a building use form that she will ask you fill out. You will need to provide your own catering and will do your own set-up and cleanup, unless you make arrangements for the church sexton to do cleanup.


The Reception

You may also reserve either Danford Hall or the Weisgerber Lounge for your reception. The Weisgerber Lounge will hold a small group, such as would use the chapel. Danford Hall, our large gathering room, will hold up to 100, if they are seated at tables and up to 150 if only chairs are used. The reception hall should be scheduled at the time you schedule your wedding.

Champagne or wine is permitted for a toast. The couple is responsible for the behavior of their guests at the reception. If you enlist the services of a disc jockey or a band, please be considerate of our neighbors. Each Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. we hold a 30 minute worship service in our chapel. During that time we ask that music and noise be kept to a minimum.



A wedding bulletins (program) lists the order of the service and the members of the wedding party as well as other needful information. The church office has some wedding bulletins available or you may order you own bulletin cover. The church secretary is available to print your wedding bulletin. Fees for this service are located at the back of this book.

You may also include an insert page in your bulletin. These are typically a half-sheet with additional information for your wedding guests. This may be a map to the reception hall, a thank you to friends and family who made the day possible, a special poem, information about the bride and groom, etc. In the event that Communion is celebrated at your wedding, the insert is necessary to provide some of the Communion liturgy.



It is customary for the couple to purchase flowers for the altar. These should be live flowers. The typical altar arrangement is two bouquets which are placed in the brass vases on the wooden shelf behind the altar. The vases are 10 inches deep and have a 4 inch opening at the top. Most florists can produce arrangements in a holder that fits down inside the brass vases. If you want to take the flowers with you after the service, the florist will be able to provide vases for that purpose and we will not use the brass vases. If communion is not being celebrated at the wedding, a large single bouquet may be placed directly on the altar.


The flowers placed at the altar may be given in memory of a loved one. An announcement similar to the following is usually placed in the wedding bulletin: The altar flowers are given in memory of (names), grandparents/other relative of the bride/groom.

Any other flowers are optional. Flowers not placed near the altar (i.e., not inside the communion rail) may be of any type (live, silk, dried, etc.).


We do ask that NO flowers or decorations be attached to the brass candelabra which are on either side of the altar.

If you do not wish to take the flowers with you after the wedding ceremony, they will can left for the Sunday services and that will be noted in the Sunday worship bulletin. The flowers will then be taken to shut-ins or the hospitalized the following week. Or you may have a family member pick them up after the Sunday services. Please inform the pastor of your intention with the flowers.



The altar candles and the candles for the brass candelabra will be provided by the church.


If you desire candles on the center aisle, the church can provide candle holders that fit on the ends of every other pew. You will need to provide 22, dripless, 12 inch tapers in your choice of colors. For evening candlelight weddings, the overhead lights in the nave are dimmed to at least 80%, while the lights in the chancel (front area) are kept at 100% for pictures. Aisle candles are not recommended for daytime weddings.


If you wish to have a Unity Candle, you need to provide both the Unity Candle (larger center candle) and the two side tapers. The church will provide a large brass Unity Candelabra, designed for this very purpose.


Other Decorating Concerns

The liturgical furnishings in the church may not be moved or "decorated." This includes the baptismal font, the altar, pulpit, lectern, and altar railing. No large decorations may be placed in the chancel that in anyway block the view of the altar. For the wedding a double kneeler will be placed in front of the opening in the altar railing.


Aisle Runner

A fabric aisle runner is an optional thing provided by the wedding couple. Its purpose is to keep the bride’s train clean as she walks down the aisle. If there is no train, then the aisle runner is not necessary, though still an option. If you choose to use an aisle runner, it can be ordered through a florist or bridal supply firm and should cover a length of 80 feet. The church takes responsibility for attaching it to a special device that connects to the bottom of the chancel steps.



You are encouraged to make use of a photographer to record the events of your wedding. Many couples choose to take some of their pictures prior to the wedding, leaving only those shots which include both the bride and the groom for afterwards. And there are actually some couples that take all of their pictures before the ceremony! Whatever you choose in this regard can shorten the time your guests must wait at the reception and also catches the younger members of the wedding party while they are still fresh.


Video Taping: Video taping of the wedding and/or the rehearsal is permitted. Two vantage points are from the balcony and from the front corner just outside the altar area. These allow the camera person to be unobtrusive.


Dressing Rooms

Bride’s Party: The Weisgerber lounge is available for use by the bride and her party to dress before the wedding. This room, which is located just off the lobby in the Parish Building, is equipped with a full length mirror and lavatory.


Groom’s Party: A dressing room is also available for the men. It is located in the church nursery at the far west end of the first floor of the Parish Building.


Security: Because of a theft that happened during the course of a recent wedding, we now offer to lock up in the church office purses and any valuables of the bride’s party or anyone else.


Birdseed, Balloons, Bubbles, Bells and Kazoos

If you wish, bird seed may be thrown as the bride and groom exit the church to their vehicle. Alternatives are to have a balloon launch or blow soap bubbles or ring bells or even a serenade with kazoos, as the bride and groom leave the church for their vehicles.


The Church Sexton

The duties of the sexton (church custodian) for a wedding include setting up the church for the wedding, including aisle candles if desired, and clean-up afterwards. The bride and groom are to reimburse the sexton for her time, since this is not part of her regular work for the parish. (See the fee chart at the end of this information.)



Record of the wedding will be placed in the official Parish Record Book of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church.


An Invitation

We invite you to consider St. Paul's Lutheran Church to be your church home as a family. Active involvement in church life can be a stabilizing factor in a marriage. Though the current statistics for the divorce rate are around 50% for non-church couples, it is under 20% for those actively involved in their church. Those of us here at St. Paul's would like to give you the strength and support that faith and fellowship can provide to a relationship. You are welcome to join us for worship:


Each Saturday: 4:00 pm Chapel Service (30 minutes in length)

Contains the basic elements of worship: proclamation of the Word and celebration of Holy Communion.)

Each Sunday:  10:00 a.m.

The full traditional service of Word and Sacrament. At the 10 a.m. service our choirs normally sing and child care and other special ministry to children is provided.


Holy Communion [the Eucharist] is celebrated at all worship services, and a sermon based on the appointed Scriptures for the week is preached. All baptized Christians, regardless of church background, are welcome to commune. Children under age 10 and non-communing adults may come forward for a blessing.



Organist's Honorarium

(Make the check payable to the organist in his or her name)

For organist in the chapel $50.00

For organist in the church $100.00


Sexton's Honorarium (Make check payable to Dawn Wells)

Wedding setup in church $50.00 (+ $10.00, if pew candleholders are used, and/or + $20.00 more if the parish hall is used for the reception.)


Bulletin Preparation (Make check payable to Kerrill Foster)

Preparation $20.00


Church email:


Minister's Gratuity

This is totally at your discretion. Typically it ranges from $50.00 to $100.00. 


The information adopted as church policy to St. Paul's Congregation Council on February 28. 2011.











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