Choosing a location for your wedding is one of the first things to do after getting engaged. Many couples want to get married in a church that means something to them. It may be a childhood church or the Methodist church they attend as adults. However, getting married in the Methodist Church is not like getting married in a hotel or garden. Before ordering your wedding invitations with the name of your local church, make sure you meet the requirements for getting married in a Methodist church.
Many churches require that a minister of the church officiate the wedding. This helps make sure the wedding adheres to the teachings of the Methodist Church and that the ceremony is approached with the proper reverence. Some churches will waive this requirement if the wedding officiant is a Methodist minister. If the officiant of the wedding is not the minister guiding your premarital counseling, you will likely have to meet with the officiant at least once prior to the wedding. This will give you the opportunity to make sure you're on the same page as the officiant and that the planning is going smoothly.
Many Methodist churches require that organ music for the ceremony be played by the church's organist. Some churches will allow an outside organist if he is approved by the church or music minister. This ensures that the music played is appropriate for a wedding in the church and that the organ is used properly to avoid accidental damage. You may also be required to have your music selections approved by the church's music minister to make sure they're appropriate to the venue.
The bride and groom are usually required to meet with the minister at least once prior to the wedding for a counseling session. This lets the minister get to know you and guide the wedding planning process to make sure it follows teachings of the Methodist Church. Some churches require multiple counseling sessions to help prepare the couple for the wedding and the marriage. Many churches will ask that you set up the counseling sessions prior to setting the wedding date.
Some churches may require that at least one of the couple be registered as a member in the church. Some churches may require that both the bride and groom are members. However, other churches may not have requirements for membership. This often depends on the size of the church and how many weddings are typically on the calendar each week. The fee charged to use the building may also be different depending on your membership status with the church. Non-members may be charged a higher fee, for example.
Some churches have requirements or limitations for the actual ceremony in the building. For example, a church may require non-drip candles or that a wedding ceremony not be scheduled on Sundays. There may be limitations for the placement of decorations or the use of video and flash photography. These limitations will be discussed when you meet with the minister prior to the wedding.