Grace United Church (GUC) hosts wedding celebrations for couples of any sexual orientation or gender identity. Couples wishing to be married at GUC do not have to be members or affiliates of the church. Weddings held in our sanctuary are required to include some aspect of the Christian faith, (i.e., one scripture reading). The Minister may agree to celebrate a wedding outside the grounds of the church, but the marriage will be recorded in the church register. Upon request, and the Minister’s agreement, clergy from other churches/faiths may be welcome to co-celebrate.
The following information is provided to assist you as you consider celebrating your wedding vows at Grace United Church. We want your wedding day and your continuing marriage relationship to be filled with love, joy and meaning, so we will make every effort to support and assist you in your preparations.
Where To Begin?
First, together as a couple, read the information on this page thoroughly. Consider the expectations you have for your wedding and compare them with the information provided here. If you feel comfortable with our requirements and understanding of a wedding service, your next step will be to contact the church office via email or phone.
The first question we will ask you is the proposed date since all weddings are subject to the availability of the officiating Minister. If the Minister is available, a deposit will confirm the date and time of the wedding.
The Wedding Service As Worship
The Christian Church is involved in weddings not only to fulfil a legal function, but because we want to offer the opportunity for your commitment of self-giving love to take place within the context of a service of worship. A wedding in a church is an expression of faith and deepens our appreciation of God’s love and care for us as revealed through Jesus Christ. A Christian marriage service therefore includes at least one reading from Christian scriptures. If one within the couple practices another faith we are open to including expressions of other world religions and the inclusion of other faith leaders within the service. If a Christian marriage service doesn’t interest you, we encourage you to seek the services of a justice of the peace.
At least two meetings with the Minister will be necessary to properly prepare for the service. The Minister will offer you a selection of wedding worship outlines that, in consultation with the Minister, you will be able to personalize to best express your faith and commitment to one another.
The date and time for a rehearsal with all the wedding party (including attending parents) will be arranged with the Minister well in advance.
The music selected must be suitable for Christian worship. Generally speaking, this means that the music in its entirety expresses faith in God and the implications of that faith in our human relationships. We have a Music Director who is available, and it is expected that our staff musician will be given the first opportunity to provide music. If you wish to use another musician, permission must be sought from our Music Director, especially if they plan to utilize our instruments. You should discuss possible musical selections with our Music Director well in advance of the service and before you make any arrangements with guest musicians or soloists.
Note that we do not allow recorded music during any part of the wedding service.
The fee includes the services of the Minister, Music Director and caretaker, and use of the Sanctuary. As mentioned, you will make a deposit as soon as the date is confirmed with the Minister. Please request the current amount of the fees and deposit required from the Office Administrator. The balance, along with your marriage license, is due at least two weeks before the wedding.
If you are contemplating an off-site wedding, the Minister will determine the fee on an individual basis.
Videotaping and Photography
Photographers/videographers wishing to record any aspect of the wedding will need to speak with the Minister prior to the service. Photos may be taken during the processional, the recessional, and the signing of the register, but may not be taken during the service of worship itself. If you wish, there will be an opportunity for the wedding party to pose for pictures after the service.
We Offer Sound and Video Operators
We use only our own trained people to operate our sound and video system. We can deliver PowerPoint slide shows upon request and need 24 hours’ notice for this service
We Offer Reception Facilities
Arrangements for a reception can be made for either the rear of the sanctuary (if fewer than 150 attendees) or the loft of the church. Grace United Church does not offer food services but can give you names of reliable caterers. We will be responsible for set up of the tables. The wedding party is responsible for tablecloths, catering, servers, and table arrangements.
Please note that our church policy is that alcoholic beverages are not permitted on church property.
Marriage Preparation Course
Planning for your wedding should also include preparation for the marriage itself. We strongly advise that you participate in some form of marriage preparation program. These local agencies both offer marriage preparation courses:
Burlington Counseling & Family Services (905-637-5256)
Pastoral Counseling Service, Hamilton (905-529-5400)
Their courses are not lengthy and are highly recommended.
If you decorate the Sanctuary, your wedding party will be responsible for removing the decorations and returning the Sanctuary to its previous state following the service. Floral arrangements may not be placed on the organ, organ speakers or piano, there are flower stands available for use. If you are lighting a unity candle or placing candles in the candelabras, you will be responsible for purchasing the candles.
The use of confetti or rice is not permitted on the Church premises, including the parking lot.
Please contact the church office if you have any questions.