A wedding at St. Peter the Fisherman is a celebration in the midst of a community of faith. We believe Christian marriage to be a sign of Christ’s love to a sinful and broken world. It is intended by God for the mutual joy of the couple, the help they give to one another in prosperity and adversity, and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of our Lord. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your wedding with you and hope that this information will answer some of the questions you may have about celebrating your wedding in this parish community.
Who can be married at St. Peter’s?
- We will happily discuss marriage with anyone who shows genuine interest in being a part of and sharing in the life of this parish. At least one of you has to be a baptized Christian and will already have some connection to this parish. Those who are not actively engaged in the life of the parish, or who are not members, are still invited to contact us to discuss their hopes and our expectations.
- We will not schedule a wedding until you have been participating in the life of the parish for at least six months. Looking for a church community is a very different exercise than looking for a venue for a wedding. We are a Christian community and hope that you will want to join us. We are therefore concerned that you have proper time to decide that this is the faith community for you. We know that this can be extremely frustrating to couples who come to the church with a wedding date already in mind, but we have found that the focus on planning a wedding makes it very difficult to engage the life of the parish and urge you to take the time you need for your wedding to be a true celebration in the midst of this community of faith.
- Once in a while people who have previously been members of this parish but no longer live in the New Smyrna Beach area seek to be married at St. Peter’s. We are happy to accommodate you, but will ask that you have established a relationship with some community of faith where you live, and that you seek the normal preparation for marriage offered in that community.
When can we be married?
- You may be married at St. Peter's at any time available on the parish calendar with the following exceptions: the season of Lent, any Friday designated as a fast day, and within one week of major holidays, such as Christmas or Easter.
- Weddings may be scheduled with Joyce Withers at (386) 428-7383 or Joyce@stpetersnet.net. You should be in touch with her as soon as possible after your decision to be married.
What kind of help do you offer in preparing for marriage?
- We will expect you to participate regularly in worship as well as in a course of pre-marital preparation, which will include at least three sessions with Rev. Spencer. Occasionally, it will be impossible for a couple to be in New Smyrna Beach on a regular basis before their wedding. If this is the case, some person mutually agreeable to you and the officiating clergy may prepare you for marriage.
One or more of us is divorced, does that make a difference?
- Yes, it does. The policies of St. Peter’s and of the Diocese of Central Florida for the solemnization of marriage following divorce, consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church, are based on two Christian truths. First, marriage is a lifelong union of man and woman, instituted by God, signifying the union between Christ and the Church. Second, God in mercy and love creates new life in death, gives hope where there is despair, and forgives our sins. The church maintains our belief that the will of God for marriage is that it be life long as a sign of God’s steadfast love. At the same time and with no dilution of that belief, we can bless the union of those whose prior marriages have died and who, while accepting the consequences of their prior commitments, covenant with one another in a mature Christian marriage.
- Our desire is to assist you in building a strong marriage after the death of your prior one. Experience has taught us that after a divorce time is necessary for healing, for learning, and for forgiveness. We require that at least one year have lapsed between the final decree of divorce and the time when the member of the clergy must seek our Bishop’s permission to bless your marriage. (Please note: we are not seeking permission for you to marry. We are seeking permission for us to officiate.) We also seek to help you resolve any issues left over from a prior marriage and in accepting any commitments (e.g., child support) that remain from that marriage. Therefore, some kind of preparation acceptable to the officiating clergy is essential.
- The Bishop will not routinely give permission for clergy to bless third and subsequent marriages. However, when such permission is given, at least two years will have passed since the final decree of the most recent divorce. In addition, a professional counselor will have submitted a written assessment of what has changed in your life that gives grounds for confidence that you have learned from the past sufficient for a genuine future commitment, and the officiating clergy person will give unqualified support to the petition.
- We further expect that at least one of the couple must have been an active member of St. Peter’s for at least one year prior to the petition. Any children from the former marriage must be properly cared for and provided for, and all matters of property and custody must be settled.
Do you have stipulations regarding the music?
- Yes. We request that only sacred or spiritual music be selected. Mary Lou Keenan, our music director and organist, will be glad to assist you in choosing music and is often available to play at the service for a nominal charge. You are welcome to hire additional strings or other soloists at your expense. Please be sure to contact Mrs. Keenan as soon as your wedding date has been entered on the church calendar.
What are the fees?
- Please request a copy of our fee schedule from the church office. The church charges a small fee for musicians, reception space, security and sextons. Checks should be made payable to St. Peter’s and should be remitted one month prior to your wedding.
- While not required, it is customary to make a gift to the officiating member of the clergy.
What do I need to know about the flowers?
- Altar flowers are given to the glory of God and are a sign of life. Therefore, only cut or live flowers are permitted. St. Peter's Flower Guild will provide the altar flowers for your wedding, which will remain on the altar for Sunday worship. The flowers become a gift to the church and are taken to people who are sick or homebound following Sunday services.
- Please contact Sally Spencer, Flower Guild chair as soon as your date is entered into the church calendar to discuss your wedding flowers, current costs and other pertinent details. The Guild does not provide bouquets, boutonnieres or flowers for off-site receptions.
What about photography and videography?
- We ask that your guests take no photographs during worship. Your photographer may take one picture with flash as the couple leaves the church and will be given the opportunity to take one or two silent photographs without flash from behind the congregation during the ceremony. Following the service you may stay in the church for any additional pictures you desire.
- Stationary video equipment may be used in the church although no extra lighting may be added. We have found that a good quality professional camera is more than adequate for the job.
What else do I need to know?
- A member of the St. Peter’s Wedding Guild will contact the bride no later than the Tuesday prior to the wedding to gather information to help the guild assist in your wedding. If you are planning to use an outside wedding coordinator, please provide us with their contact information at least two months prior to your wedding and Judy Burrows will contact them directly to discuss Church policy and procedure.
- The clergy do not expect to be invited to social functions in connection with the wedding. If you would like them to attend, however, please issue a written invitation and they will attend if possible.
- You will need a wedding license issued either by the county in which you are a resident or in Volusia County, where St. Peter’s is located. No wedding may take place without a license being in the hands of the officiating member of the clergy five (5) days prior to the service.