Wedding Policy


49 West Baltimore Street

Taneytown, Maryland 21787-2009



Revised and Approved March 2, 2010




Rev. Steven M. Ostendorf



Fairy Flickinger, Organist



Beverly Bales, Office Administrator



Joe Larson, Wedding Coordinator






Telephone 410-756-2302

Fax 410-756-2302


At Grace United Church of Christ, we believe the wedding ceremony to be one of the most sacred rites of the church.  The wedding ceremony is an act of worship and praise to the God of love.  For this reason, we believe that the wedding, from the preparation to the ceremony itself, should reflect this sacred, joyful occasion.  The following wedding policy is designed to help the couple understand our church expectation as we prepare to share this wonderful occasion with them.

 We offer our services and facilities at Grace U.C.C. to all members and to non members who have a relationship with Grace U.C.C. in accordance with policies and regulations approved by the Consistory, which is the governing body of our church.


It is strongly recommended that persons who are considering marriage need to contact the pastor of Grace U.C.C. at least four months in advance of the wedding and preferably, six months before the wedding date.  This will allow proper time for premarital pastoral care sessions and will allow time to solidify a date on the calendar.  Even the smallest and simplest weddings require preparation.  The date needs to be set and the church facilities reserved with the church office/wedding assistant.  There are many people involved, including the  pastor, organist, attendants, soloists, sexton and decorators.  The dates and hours need to be reserved well in advance.  No weddings are held during Holy Week, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

The wedding couple shall consult with and obtain permission from the Grace U.C.C. pastor prior to any arrangements being made with outside clergy.   A Grace UCC pastor or his/her designee will preside and the other pastor may assist.  This is a service of Grace UCC.

The pastor performing the wedding must have the opportunity to hold at least three pre-     marriage pastoral care sessions with the couple.  These sessions are intended to help the couple identify helpful issues about their relationship and allow the pastor and couple time to become better acquainted.  The pastor will make the decision whether to proceed or not with the ceremony during this time.


We believe that music is an integral part of the wedding ceremony and should give meaningful expression to God’s place in this joyful, but reverent occasion.  Music of a light, sentimental character or popular music or rock in nature, if desired, should be at the reception and not in the wedding ceremony.  The wedding music should be serious and dignified in order to accord with the strength and depth of feeling.  The wedding music, though sacred, should be marked with grace, tenderness and joy.  Many popular pieces may be favorites to the bride and groom but not to the congregation.  These pieces should be used at the reception and not during the ceremony.  Above all, the wedding music should praise and glorify God.

When the dates for the wedding and rehearsal have been set, you MUST contact the Grace U.C.C. organist to secure her services.  The organist of Grace Church will be expected to play for all church weddings or she will arrange for one of our assistant organists to play where music is desired.  As soon as your wedding and rehearsal dates are set you, need to meet with Grace Church organist to discuss your musical selections, who will advise you of their suitability.  If you wish a soloist or other instrumentalists to participate in the wedding, they along with the organist must attend the rehearsal.


All weddings remain first and foremost acts of worship.  Flash photographs during the wedding ceremony by photographers or by guests are NOT allowed.

Videographer may be used during the service if they are not disruptive.  The choir loft is the location for video graphing.  Photographs may be taken prior to the service and/or following the service.  Flash photographs may be taken during the processional and the recessional but not during the wedding ceremony.  Portions of the ceremony may be re-enacted after the wedding for photography purposes.

It is recommended you consult with the photographer prior to the wedding to identify the poses and groupings you desire to have photographed after the ceremony as this will save time and prevent inconvenience to your guests who will be waiting at the reception.

Please ensure you have informed your photographer/videographer of Grace U.C.C.       photography rules when you contract with them.  It is your responsibility to notify them of all the photography rules.


A wedding license must be obtained at the Carroll County Court House, 55 N. Court Street, Westminster, Md.   Either the bride or groom must apply for and obtain the license.  The license is to be given to the officiating pastor one week prior to the wedding rehearsal.


An important ministry of Grace UCC and one of the most important people you will be working with during preparation for your wedding is that of the Wedding Coordinator.

The Wedding Coordinator provides time and experience to assist the clergy and bridal couple in the planning, rehearsal, and conduct of all weddings as it relates to Grace U.C.C.  The Wedding Coordinator assists with logistical detail and use of the Grace U.C.C. church building.  A Wedding Coordinator is required for all weddings occurring in Grace U.C.C.

You have the option to hire an outside wedding consultant.  However, the involvement of the outside wedding consultant does not replace the role of Grace U.C.C. Wedding Coordinator. It is required that the couple meets with the Wedding Coordinator for a one-hour pre-wedding consultation.  This meeting will include a tour of the church and time to plan the details of the wedding.

The Wedding Coordinator will be in contact with the bride and groom during the months prior to the wedding.  She/he is available to answer any questions or concerns.

A sixty-minute wedding rehearsal is normally scheduled. At the rehearsal, the Wedding Coordinator will assist the officiating pastor.  The pastor coordinates the ceremony and worship usage, the Wedding Coordinator coordinates the timing of the Processional. The Wedding Coordinator is behind the scene at both the rehearsal and the wedding.

The services of the Wedding Coordinator will help reduce the stress of the Bride and her party as well as aid in the flow of the wedding.  If the start of the rehearsal is delayed due to the late arrival of members of the wedding party, the rehearsal will be abbreviated.

It is extremely helpful to the Pastor and the Wedding Coordinator if all the roles in the wedding are assigned and clearly understood well in advance of the rehearsal.  This includes the pairing of the groomsmen and the bridesmaids and other such matters.  This will save time for all concerned at the rehearsal.

It is important to have all plans and procedures for the wedding clarified with the pastor prior to the rehearsal.  If time is spent, making changes at the rehearsal then time is further reduced.  No changes will occur in the wedding once the rehearsal has been completed.

The Wedding Coordinator will make the church facility available for the bridal party, including dressing areas for the bride and groom and their attendants.  She will provide any help needed to assist the wedding party.  She will be available to assist with flower placement and with the boutonnieres and corsages.

The Wedding Coordinator is available to discuss the following items with the wedding party prior to the rehearsal:

Flowers (Names on corsages)             Program/Bulletin covers          Receiving Line
Candles/Candle holders                      Guest Book/Stand

Photographer & Videographer            Bows on pews/no tape, etc.

Pastor/Groom/Best Man                     Dress at Church/Rooms


It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to familiarize the members of the wedding party with the policies pertaining to their conduct during the rehearsal, the wedding ceremony and the reception if held at the church Parish Hall.  A church wedding is a WORSHIP Service and as such all members of the wedding party are to conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting the place of worship.

Grace United Church of Christ is a smoke-free facility.  Grace Church is handicap accessible and has an elevator to access the sanctuary.

Grace U.C.C. is an alcohol-free facility.  Guests and attendants at the rehearsal or wedding under the influence of alcohol will be asked to leave.  The use of obscene or offensive language is not permitted.  Alcohol is permitted only as a toast in the Parish Hall if the reception is held there.  No food or drink is allowed in the sanctuary.  All cell phones, etc. must be turned off or on vibrate.

Bubbles are permitted to be used outside the church building.  No rice or birdseed is permitted as they are considered a safety hazard.  No confetti is allowed.

Grace U.C.C. is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen property, or items left at church. It is your responsibility to see that items you have rented or borrowed for your wedding are returned promptly following your wedding.  Please assign a responsible individual to collect those items prior to leaving the church for your reception.  Grace U.C.C. will not be responsible for any of those items.  The wedding couple assumes responsibility for any damage, loss, or breakage to any church property or furnishings.

Designated classrooms may be used for dressing.  Restrooms and water fountain are located on the same floor as these rooms.

Choir chairs and pew hymnals may not be removed for weddings.  The hymnals are not to be used as props or flower stands.  All seasonal decorations (Easter, fall, Christmas) in the church at the time of the wedding are to remain. They may not be removed.

Rearrangement of furnishings or furniture in the church, including the altar, Baptismal Font, lecterns, candelabra, piano and clavinova WILL NOT BE PERMITTEDThe church supplies two seven-candle candelabra for your use and two candles on the altar.  A unity candle, if used, must be purchased by the couple. All other candles used must be drip less candles.  Decorations and equipment may NOT be attached using nails, tacks, staples or tape to walls, woodwork, furniture or floors as this may deface church property.


Pastoral Follow-up – Approximately six months after the marriage service, the pastor will contact the couple.   The purpose of this contact is an opportunity to follow-up and/or check in with the couple on their marriage and offer encouragement and counsel.

Marriage Mentors – Usually a mentor couple has been married for 10 years or longer and has experience with many of the challenges you face as a young newly married couple.  The couple will be introduced to their mentor couple at the end of the pastoral counseling.  It is suggested the couples meet twice a year at a minimum.

 Parish Hall and Kitchen Use Guidelines

Please obtain the guidelines if the reception is to be held in Grace U.C.C Parish Hall.