Church Wedding Policies
Wedding Policies of Maxwell Hill Baptist Church
The bride or groom or either of their parents must to be active members in the life of Maxwell Hill Baptist Church for at least six months prior to the wedding date. Times available for weddings at MHBC are as follows: Weddings cannot be scheduled on Sundays or when there is a church calendar conflict. The building is available for the wedding ceremony and reception. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 330. All scheduling must be done through the church office at least 90 days in advance. The wedding must be performed by a member of the pastoral staff at Maxwell Hill Baptist Church. He will provide a suggested wedding ceremony which will be reviewed with you prior to the wedding rehearsal. Due to the tremendous amount of time a wedding rehearsal and ceremony take please give consideration to the pastor by being punctual and on time for the rehearsal and ceremony. The bride and her family will schedule all vendors. The person scheduling the wedding will be held liable for any damage to carpets, furniture or buildings so it is important that you carefully note the guidelines included herein and make sure that the vendors are so informed. Maxwell Hill Baptist Church reserves the right to restrict the privileges of any outside vendor who violates the wedding policy of the church. A one-hour rehearsal will be scheduled some time during the week preceding the wedding. It must begin and end on time and should include all members of the wedding party. Please remember to give your marriage license to the Pastor on the night of the rehearsal. Maxwell Hill Baptist Church pastors use an approved script for the wedding ceremony. Some changes to the vows will be allowed. It is the final decision of the Pastor to allow extra scripture readings, poems and etcetera to the wedding ceremony. No alcoholic beverages or smoking are allowed in the building or on the church grounds. No one under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be allowed to participate in the rehearsal or wedding.
If the ceremony requires use of multi-media equipment then the church office will book an approved technician. Due to the sophisticated nature of the sound and lighting system in the auditorium, only a MHBC technician can operate them. The CD’s and / or audio tapes must be turned into the church office no later than 2 weeks prior to the ceremony to be pre-approved. After they are pre-approved, we will forward them to the sound technician to be used for your wedding ceremony. Only music that is suitable for a worship service may be used. Sacred, contemporary Christian, hymns and classical instrumental music are appropriate. Some secular wedding and love songs are permissible with approval.
Flowers and Decorations
Florists will have access to the location of the wedding ceremony two hours prior to the wedding. When the ceremony is concluded and all photography completed, we ask that all areas be cleaned and all flowers and decorations be removed immediately. The church cannot store any wedding decorations nor is it responsible for any items left behind by vendors. No decoration of any kind is to be applied to walls, ceilings or glass. Florist wire, ribbon or pipe cleaners may be used when necessary but nails, staples and adhesives of any kind are not permitted. No plain wax candles are to be used. Candles need to be spring loaded or paradise brand. Votive or dripless candles may be used in hurricane lamps. Aisle candles are permitted in hurricane lamps only. In order to protect the carpet and furniture, plastic material must be placed under all floral arrangements and candles. Only birdseed may be thrown outside of the building.
Photoagraphers and Videographers
The location chosen for the wedding and the surrounding church grounds, when available, may be used for photographs immediately before and after the ceremony. Once the ceremony begins the photographer should remain stationary to prevent any disruption to the ceremony. The church does not provide a video camera, however videotaping is allowed. Video equipment should be positioned in fixed locations during the ceremony.
All weddings preformed at MHBC will be officiated by one of the pastors on staff. Those that desire to include other pastors and ministers must receive approval from the senior pastor. Please be advised that only those ministers that are of like faith will be approved and be used in an assisting role.
Rehearsal and Reception Dinner
If the fellowship hall is used for either the rehearsal dinner or the reception the following guidelines are to be observed. Any music used during these times must be in accordance with the policies given for the wedding ceremony itself. Neither the volume nor style should be offensive. Dancing is not permitted at either function. The use of tobacco and alcohol in any form are not allowed and are not to be on church property.
All wedding decorations must be removed; all chairs and furniture must be return to its original location. Clean floors, run sweeper, make sure all sound equipment is put back to their original location. Either the wedding party is to do this or they need to hire someone to accomplish this work.
The Engagement Covenant
Believing that marriage is a holy and sacred gift from God, it is our desire that couples approach marriage according to biblical standards and in a way that is pleasing to God. In this regard, Pastors reserve the right to decline officiating a wedding if couples do not agree with sacredness of the “engagement covenant” which includes the following: 1. A Covenant of Belief – Believing that God has intended Christians to marry only Christians, we will not marry a non-Christian and a Christian. We would encourage that both bride and groom individually come to an understanding and acceptance of Christ’s sacrificial death, and that commitment to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be made evident. (11 Corinthians 6:14-16; Romans 10:9-10) 2. A Covenant of Purity – Believing that the sexual relationship has been designed and intended for marriage, we ask that you seriously consider the biblical exhortation pertaining to such. This would also include living arrangements such as cohabitation. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13) 3. A Covenant of Faithfulness – Believing that the Church is God’s Greenhouse to grow strong marriages, we ask that you find a place of involvement in His Church, the Body of Christ, and pursue a lifestyle of faithfulness to your church family. (Hebrews 10:19-25)
Because of the numerous and varied requests a pastor receives to perform weddings, it is necessary to have a written policy concerning for whom I will or will not officiate a wedding. I do not expect all who read this policy to agree with every stand I take, but at least to understand that with this statement I am attempting to avoid both the misunderstandings and the arbitrariness which could arise without such a statement. Furthermore, it is hoped that all who read this statement will appreciate my attempt to base my personal convictions squarely upon God’s Word, as well as my belief that each person also has the right and the responsibility to study and obey the Scriptures for himself or herself. As a pastor, I am only interested in establishing Christian homes I am not interested in simply officiating at weddings. In light of this, I have adopted the following guidelines:
1. Both bride and groom must give a clear testimony of their trust in Christ as their personal Savior.
2. The couple must agree to regular counseling, a minimum of six sessions, at least a week apart.
3. The couple must demonstrate by their testimony a genuine commitment to the cause of Christ.
4. The couple must attend church regularly.
5. Between the time I begin working with the couple and the time of the wedding, the couple must agree not to live together nor engage inappropriate sexual conduct.
6. It also needs to be understood that no commitment to officiating a wedding will be made until the couple has completed and returned the wedding request form and I have met personally with the couple to discuss the information on the form.
7. It must be further understood that if during the counseling sessions I discern a lack of commitment to developing a Christian home, I maintain the right to refuse to officiate the wedding.