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  Presbyterian Church
  16 Virginia Ave.
  Manasquan, NJ 08736

  Tel: 732-223-4627
  Fax: 732-223-1607

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Planning Your Christian Wedding


Your Wedding 2011We are delighted that you are exploring a Christian wedding at First Presbyterian Church of Manasquan.  We are committed to assisting in the preparation for your special day.  We also want to help you become established in a Christian marriage for the rest of your life.



The church teaches that marriage is much more than a human institution.  The Bible tells us that God established, instituted, and ordained marriage at the beginning of human history (Genesis 2,3).  God created the relationship between a man and a woman as foundational for all society. 

Before the institutions of a  church, a school, a business or a government, merged in culture;  God instituted marriage, declaring, “A man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

We believe that God has not left us in the dark about married life. God has revealed his will about marriage in the Bible and has given principles in the pages of Scriptures which will insure a happy, healthy, and holy relationship.  With this in mind, it is our goal to help you understand the Bible’s teachings on marriage and to call upon God’s blessings and guidance for your life together. 

We also want to help you understand the important role of the church in your new married life.
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As you prepare for your wedding day we want to help you prepare to live out your marriage vows which will bind you together “as long as you both shall live.” 

Our pastoral staff have their own standards for marriage preparation.  Please discuss with the minister a schedule of meetings. 

It is our prayer that sharing in these activities will help prepare you for living the marriage vows you make on your wedding day.
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We want your wedding day to be very special, a day you will remember always.  Within the bounds of good taste and the church’s understanding of a Christian marriage, we will work with you to make your wedding as individualized or as traditional as you wish.

It’s your wedding.  Family members or friends will be eager to share their own ideas about what is necessary or proper, but you and your fiancé are the ones who must decide.  Our goal is to work with you so you may understand the full range of choices available. 

What follows are some of the details you’ll need to tend to as you plan your wedding day.

Scheduling Your Wedding
Please call the church office (732) 223-4627 to tentatively reserve the sanctuary for the date and time of your ceremony and to schedule your first meeting with a minister. 

A Scheduling Fee must be paid within two weeks to secure your wedding date.  Please note:  Arrangements for weddings will be made only with the bride and groom, not with parents or any other third party. 

The following days are NOT available for weddings:

  • New Year’s Eve or Day
  • Palm Sunday
  • Good Friday
  • Saturday before Easter
  • Easter Sunday
  • Fourth of July
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day

Our Church Wedding Coordinator
We have a group of wedding coordinators who will assist with your wedding details, attend the rehearsal and the wedding.  Please arrange by calling Charlotte Petersen at (732) 223-5260.  She or a member of the team will be your wedding coordinator.

The coordinator will meet with the Bride and Groom to go over all of the plans of the wedding and to coordinate with you the details of the day. 

At your rehearsal, she will answer any questions that  you may have and discuss details with the Ushers, Bridal Party, Bride and Groom, Parents and other participants of the wedding.

The Church Building
Fridays and Saturdays are usually good for weddings.  Sundays are generally not available for weddings, although exceptions may occasionally be made for church members, as church programming permits. 

When the sanctuary is reserved for your wedding, the library is also reserved as a waiting area for the bridal party prior to the ceremony.

Fellowship Hall may be reserved for receptions.  Please consult the wedding coordinator for more information about reservations and fees. 

Church policy does not allow the serving of alcoholic beverages in any of the church buildings or grounds.

Alternative Locations for the Wedding
The ministers are  open to discussing alternative locations for your wedding, such as a home, a public park or other places.  The responsibility for making arrangements for alternative locations rests solely with the couple.

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It is church policy that a minister from the First Presbyterian Church will preside at all weddings held in the church. 

If you wish to have a guest minister preside or assist at the ceremony, please consult the minister.  Any invitation to a guest minister must be extended by the minister.

Although the minister has a standard service that is used in most cases, you are more than welcome to discuss with the minister any special requests that you may have.

The wedding ceremony ordinarily lasts about 40 minutes excluding the organ pre-service and post-service music.  One or more readings from the Bible are included.

You will not be expected to memorize your wedding vows, or any other part of the service; all words spoken by you are
repeated after the minister, however, if you wish, you may write your wedding vows or select one from a format  the minister will provide. 

We encourage you to select one or two readings from the Bible; again, the minister will provide a list of suggestions.

Wedding Bulletin
You may choose to arrange for a wedding program - a printed order of the service, including personal greetings, announcements and the names of the wedding party.  The traditional order of worship, for the wedding service, is as follows:

  • Pre-service Music
  • Processional
  • Call to Worship
  • Statement on the Gift of Marriage
  • Prayer
  • Declarations of Intent
  • Scripture Reading
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Exchange of Rings
  • Unity Candle (Optional)
  • Prayer
  • Charge to the Couple
  • Proclamation of Marriage
  • Introduction of Couple
  • Benediction
  • Recessional
  • Postlude

A final version of the program must be shown to the minister for final approval prior to printing.

Flowers and Decorations For the Sanctuary
Arrangements for flowers and other decorations for the sanctuary may be made with the florist of your choice.  While flowers and other special decorations are not necessary for a wedding, they do add to the celebration atmosphere. 

Bows or flowers for the pews may be used, however, these must be attached in such a way that there will be no scratching, marring or other damage to the pews.  Absolutely no tacks, staples, or nails may be used to secure decorations in the church.

Floral arrangements are usually delivered to the sanctuary on the same day as the wedding.  Please notify the church office as to what time the florist will make the delivery, so the Facilities Manager may be present to unlock the door.

You may choose to donate one or more of your wedding floral arrangements to the church for use in Sunday morning worship.  These arrangements are then shared with people who are sick, in the hospital or homebound. If you wish to donate your floral arrangements, please notify the church office and your wedding coordinator at least two weeks in advance.

The Communion table in the sanctuary has two candlesticks on it.  If you wish to have additional candelabras at your wedding, this may be arranged through the Wedding Coordinator.

If you choose to follow the tradition of lighting a marriage or “Unity” candle during the ceremony, please discuss these details with your wedding coordinator.

We are happy to accommodate photography in the church sanctuary, but only at appropriate times,  so as not to disrupt the worshipful nature of the occasion.  It is your responsibility to notify the photographer of these requirements.

Photographs are important and we want you to have these memories, so we will do everything to make this happen before and after the service.  However, we do not want the taking of pictures to distract you or the congregation from your wedding service.  Therefore we ask that no pictures with flashes be taken during the ceremony.  We request that the professional photographer consult with the minister one half hour before the ceremony starts.  Also,  the photographer and videographer are not permitted to move around the sanctuary during the ceremony.

Video cameras, on fixed tripods or at stationary locations, without artificial lighting, may be used unobtrusively.  The minister will indicate the most appropriate position for the video camera. 

Following the ceremony, you and your wedding party are welcome back into the sanctuary so that scenes of the service may be reenacted and group photographs taken. 

Photographers should be dressed appropriately for a service of worship.

Our Director of Music plays for all weddings.  If he is not available, he will suggest a substitute.  If you wish to request another musician, you must make a request directly to the Director of Music, who will verify that a guest organist is qualified to play the church organ.  Opportunity for a guest organist to practice will be provided.  It is your responsibility to contact the Music Director as early as possible.

You may make arrangements or ask the Music Director to help you if you would like other instruments (harp, trumpet, etc.) or vocal soloist at your wedding.  Soloists must make arrangements with the Music Director for rehearsal time.  The Music Director can also recommend suitable soloists.  It is your responsibility to secure the services of the soloist/instrumentalist and to pay that person their customary fee. 

All musical selections must be appropriate for a service of worship.  The Music Director has a wide repertoire of appropriate musical pieces, and will be happy to select the pieces for your wedding.  Please make an appointment with the Music Director to discuss your musical selections. The Music Director may or may not be at your wedding rehearsal according to his schedule.  All fees regarding music must be paid in advance.

Music Director:  Marcello Velame, Cell Phone:  (732) 539-3986, Email

The Marriage License
A wedding is both a religious and a civil ceremony.  In conducting the ceremony, the minister acts on behalf of the State as well as the church.  Because of the civil nature of the proceedings, you must obtain a Marriage License ahead of time - usually from the clerk of the municipality in which the bride is a legal resident.

A marriage license in the State of New Jersey is good for thirty days.  Therefore, do not obtain your license more than thirty days in advance of your wedding day or it will expire by the time that day arrives.  Please note also that there is a mandatory 72-hour waiting period, or longer, if a weekend or holiday is involved, before you can obtain your license. Please do not wait until the last minute.  Without a valid license, the wedding cannot take place. 

The license must be brought to the rehearsal and will be kept by the minister between the rehearsal and the wedding. The license will be signed immediately following the wedding service by 2 witnesses.  The church office will then file the license with the appropriate municipal authorities.

The Wedding Rehearsal
The wedding rehearsal is usually held the late afternoon or early evening before the wedding.  This is an opportunity for members of the wedding party to practice their roles in the ceremony. 

It is important that proper dress and behavior be observed so that rehearsals can proceed in an orderly and expedient fashion.  At the rehearsal, the focus is on the movement and physical placement of participants.

The following people should be present at the rehearsal:

  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Best Man
  • Maid or Matron of Honor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Groomsmen/Ushers
  • Parents of Bride
  • Parents of Groom
  • Grandparents (If special escorting will take place)
  • Others Accompanying Bride down the aisle
  • Readers
  • Other members of wedding party (flower Girl, ring-bearer, etc.)

The Wedding Day

  • The wedding is a service of worship.  We expect that appropriate clothing will be worn at the ceremony.
  • Groomsmen/Ushers should arrive at the sanctuary at least 40 minutes before the ceremony, so they may welcome and seat early arrivals. 
  • The Groom and Best Man should arrive at least 30 minutes before the ceremony.
  • The Bridal Party, Parents and Grandparents should arrive at least 15 minutes before the ceremony.
  • With pictures and greeting following the wedding, please plan at least one hour following the conclusion of the ceremony.
  • We welcome children to be included in the ceremony  as ring-bearers or flower girls.  Please consider, however, that most children under the age of five do not have the maturity to fill this role, therefore, we ask that an adult be designated to oversee the children.
  • If invited, the minister will make every effort to attend the reception, but this is not always possible, given the demands of parish ministry.
  • As the wedding party departs from the church, guests are welcome to use bubbles.  The use of bird seed, rice and confetti are not permitted.

Other Important Matters
Due to the danger of fire hazard, lighted candles are not allowed in aisles, windows, or adjacent to any area through which the public passed.  Lighted candles may not be carried.

  • Spotlights may not be used in the sanctuary.
  • The Communion Table may not be moved from its central place in the chancel.
  • No alcoholic beverages shall be permitted in the Sanctuary or anywhere on the church property.
  • No smoking is allowed in any of the church buildings.
  • The Bride is responsible for removal of all items from the church and Library.  The church assumes no liability for items left.
  • If a church reception is planned, arrangements shall be made with the Wedding Coordinator.
  • Any damage done to the furnishings or the building by persons or business connected with your wedding shall be repaired by that individual or business to the church’s satisfaction.  Also, the church assumes no responsibility for any personal properties or professional equipment or any other items left on the church premises at any time.

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Following are a list of people to help with your wedding and the contact numbers:

  • Pastors
  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Sexton
  • Organist

First Presbyterian Church of Manasquan, 16 Virginia Avenue, Manasquan, New Jersey 08736
Telephone: 732-223-4627 • Fax: 732-223-1607

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Scheduling Deposit

Sanctuary Use Fee:      Non Member


Organist or Pianist

Organist or Pianist (Accompanying Soloist)

Church Pianist (Accompanying Organist)

Facilities Manager *

Wedding Coordinator

Minister's Honorarium



No Fee







*Does not include special audio or onsite reception.

Payment of Fees
The Scheduling Deposit must be paid once the wedding date is confirmed.  The Scheduling Deposit will then be applied toward the $350.00 Sanctuary Use Fee.  Payment for all additional fees must be sent to the church office at least two weeks prior of the wedding.  When the Bride, Groom or at least one of their parents is an  active church member or a regular church attendee, the Sanctuary Use Fee will be waived. 

Please make checks for the Scheduling Deposit  and the Sanctuary Use Fee payable to “First Presbyterian Church.”  All other checks must be issued to the individual providing the service.  Please contact the Wedding Coordinator with any questions regarding payment of fees.
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Last Published: February 11, 2013 10:28 PM

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